Three Notch bought in $11.8M deal—quail hunting community speaks out

Quail Conservation
Quail hunting is popular throughout Alabama. (Peachburg Lodge, Alabama Quail Trail)

Three Notch, a historic quail hunting plantation located in Union Springs, Alabama, was recently purchased for $11.8M. The property contains over 5,000 acres and is claimed to be the largest wild quail plantation on the market in the Southeast.

The Three Notch legend

The Peachburg Lodge
Three Notch has a historic past. (Peachburg Lodge, AQT)

Jenny Smith is the current landowner of Three Notch, taking over from her father who founded it over the course of 20 years. The property received its name after the tale claiming Andrew Jackson rode through the town on his way to the battle of New Orleans. Supposedly, he marked a trail by putting three notches in the trees.

Smith refers to the land as a sanctuary, but other organizations are taking a different and more conservative approach to quail hunting.

Decline in population

Quail populations are declining. (Peachburg Lodge, AQT)

The Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) has been dedicated to protecting animals and their habitats since 1935. Over the past century, quail hunting and conservation has become a hot topic of discussion.

According to Mark Smith, who received his PhD while conducting quail research, over the past few decades, the quail population has been declining rapidly—nearly 3.8 percent per year.

Speaking with the experts

Hunting Quail
Many quail hunters use dogs. (Peachburg Lodge, AQT)

While conservation is important, there are ethical ways to hunt quail. In an interview with Smith, he stated his thoughts on the matter.

“It is not possible to “stock pile” quail. In other words, quail have a naturally high rate of mortality…with or without hunting. A significant portion of the birds not harvested by hunters will ultimately be consumed (harvested) by predators. However, local populations, those occurring on your property, can indeed be over-harvested leading to an overall local population decline.”

– Mark Smith, Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Associate Professor Extension Specialist

The best way for you to help

Peachburg Lodge
The AQT runs through Elmore county. (Peachburg Lodge, AQT)

The Alabama Quail Trail (AQT) is located in Elmore county with the goal of focusing interest and resources in quail hunting, research and conservation.

Wondering how to protect and take part of the conservation of quail on your property? Believe it or not, food is not commonly a limiting factor for quail.

There isn’t a “best” thing to plant for quail. Much of quail management rests on providing appropriate vegetation structure (e.g., height, density, types, etc) rather than food.

– Mark Smith, Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Associate Professor Extension Specialist

Stay updated

Peachburg Lodge
(Peachburg Lodge, AQT)

Quail conservation is vital to keeping the ecosystem in balance. For more information about the AQT, vist their website.

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Sophie Higby
Sophie Higby
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