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John's Journal... Entry 103, Day 5


Other P-Arrow Lakes and Quail Hunting

Click to EnlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: P-Arrow Plantation near Livingston, Alabama, has not only demonstrated its ability to grow big bass and provide an opportunity for anglers to catch large bass and large numbers of bass, the plantation also homes an outstanding quail-hunting preserve. Today we'll take a look at how Drayton Pruitt and his staff at P-Arrow insure quality fishing and quail hunting.

Phillips: Drayton, how do you know what the quality and the condition of your bass are on a regular basis?
Pruitt: We have a fishery biologist who checks our ponds regularly. He does electro-fishing sampling and not only keeps up with the number of fish in the ponds but the size and quality of the fish. We've learned that by intensively managing our lakes and intensively feeding our bass, those fish will grow about 2 pounds per fish per year. To get this growth rate, we not only provide crawfish for our bass to eat but also introduce threadfin shad into the lakes deep enough to support them as well as tilapia into the shallow lakes. The advantage to having tilapia in some of our lakes is that in November and December when the bass really need more food to put on weight for the upcoming spawn in the spring, the tilapia are slow and easy to catch and offer the bass a good meal.

Phillips: What are your goals for the lakes at P-Arrow Plantation?
Pruitt: I'd like to be able to grow a bass that would break the Alabama largemouth state record and possibly grow a bass big enough that it would break the world's record. I really believe that we may very well have a new state-record bass in the Horseshoe Lake at my P-Arrow Plantation right now. A large number of bass in the top 25 biggest bass caught in Alabama were caught in the lake on the campus of the University of West Alabama here in Livingston -- less than a mile from some of our lakes. Too, we have the same soil types and terrain at P-Arrow Lakes that the lake on the campus does. Because we intensively manage our bass, I believe that we may very well break the state record for largemouth bass here in Alabama.

Click to EnlargePhillips: What are your plans now to continue to produce big bass in the future?
Pruitt: We have several small ponds on P-Arrow that we're going to use as breeder ponds for the sole purpose of growing big bass to stock in our trophy lakes. If we continue to put big bass into our lakes and the bass keep on growing in the lakes, we can continue to have a trophy bass fishery for many years to come.

Phillips: One of the unique aspects of P-Arrow is that when guests come here in the fall, they have the option of either quail hunting, bass fishing or having a quality experience of quail hunting in the morning and bass fishing in the afternoon. Drayton, how long have you been managing P-Arrow for quality bass and quail?
Pruitt: I've been managing and manipulating the habitat on P-Arrow Plantation for more than 15 years to enable the land not only produce more coveys of quails but bigger coveys of quail. We've planted hedgerows to provide cover for the quail, we planted small grain crops for the quail to feed on, and we put out feeders to supplement the other foods that grow naturally on the plantation. By implementing this plan, we've developed a very strong population of native birds. However, we also supplement the native population by releasing one quail per acre during the summer before the migration of hawks and owls from the North. Using this system, the released birds have an opportunity to adapt themselves to the wild before the predators arrive. We don't book many quail hunts so that we can ensure the same quality of hunting that we now provide for our fisherman. Our quail hunters can ride on a wagon pulled by two Belgium mules, or they can hunt on the backs of Tennessee walking horses, the way Southerners once hunted many years ago. I believe that our quail hunting is as fine as any you'll find in the nation.

Click to EnlargePhillips: What have you learned since you've been managing quail at P-Arrow?
Pruitt: The most important thing that I've learned about quail management is that it has to be site-specific. Many of the management techniques that may work very effectively in other places don't ensure good quail populations in our area. What I suggest to your readers if they want to learn how to manage quail in the best possible way is to work with a wildlife biologist who understands the specific needs of quail in a certain region. General quail management practices aren't generally good for everywhere in the nation. The more site-specific you can be, the more birds you can produce and maintain. We not only want to have a lot of birds on our place; we want to have hard-flying birds that will present a challenge to our hunters.

Phillips: How many coveys should a party of two people expect to see in a morning hunt at P-Arrow?
Pruitt: The success of quail hunting depends on the weather. However, if P-Arrow has good weather, I expect my hunters to find 10 to 15 coveys with each covey having 12 to 25 birds in it. And the accuracy of the hunters determines how many birds they take. We have a 10-quail limit per guest, but then guests can take additional birds at a cost of $6 per bird. After the quail hunt is over, the party can have lunch; then, if they go fishing they can expect to catch 40 to 100 bass, with a few of those in the really nice range. In the future, we plan to have a sporting-clay range and we host several dove hunts during the fall.

Click to EnlargeFor more information on P-Arrow Plantation, you can write
P.O. Box 1037, Livingston, Al 35470; call (205) 652-7990 or (800) 949-7990; e-mail parrowplantation@aol.com; or, visit www.bitzandpieces.net



Check back each day this week for more about P-Arrow Plantation...

Day 1 - P-Arrow Plantation
Day 2 - Catch Big Bass Every Day
Day 3 - P-Arrow Plantation Becomes A Reality
Day 4 - Coyote Lake
Day 5 - Other P-Arrow Lakes and Quail Hunting

John's Journal