Bowles said it was like "Paddling upstream with a toothpick and not an oar."
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Leaders of the now defunct Quail Unlimited say Albany's annual celebrity quail hunt will continue.
The non-profit group announced Friday it is out of business after 31-years.
The Albany group that took it over 2 and a half years ago said they could not overcome the heavy debt left by the former leadership.
Now, they're joining with another national conservation group they say provides a strong future.
Quail Unlimited members are now being encouraged to join Quail Forever. The Quail Unlimited leadership is now the Southeastern Regional office for Quail Forever, and they say the Celebrity Quail hunt will continue.
Quail Unlimited President Bill Bowles said the organization was $300,000 in debt,and could not overcome it, so they ceased operations.
Bowles said "The facts revealed that it was simply time to stop. This was a very sad day."
Bowles said two and a half years ago when he and Quail Albany took over the organization, they were left $1.2 million in debt by the former Q.U. leadership, and could not dig out.
Monday Bowles recommended all 12 thousand 100 Quail Unlimited members join Quail Forever, a division of Pheasants Forever. They are the largest upland wildlife conservation organization in the United States, with 135,000 combined members.
Bowles said "They obviously are excited about accepting any new members into Quail Forever. On our behalf we knew that we were doing the best thing we could do for our membership. Yes, it has been humbling, but it is simply the right thing to do."
Bowles said that Quail Forever President Howard Vincent and Chairman of the Board Bruce Hertzke attended last week's Celebrity Hunt. Monday Bowles announced that he is now the director of Quail Forever's Southeastern Region, and without that debt their money will go to habitat conservation.
Bowles said "I am excited to have the opportunity to finally have the resources and support that is needed to probably do the much need quail conservation work that is needed."
Bowles said the 27 year old celebrity hunt will continue in Albany, but next season it will move to November for the start of quail season.
Quail Forever's spokesperson Bob St. Pierre told me today they hope to give Quail Unlimited members a destination to continue the work of preserving wildlife habitat, and their organization spent 50 million dollars toward that mission in 2012.
Quail Forever has a welcome statement to Quail Unlimited members wanting to learn more about their organization. You can link to that here.