I am sitting down to write yet another blog from a bird hunt, hard to believe. Not really, I work hard all year to have some time available for my favorite hobby but it also seem once the hunting season starts, things happen one after another.
As I’m returning from, once again, very exciting quail hunt in New Mexico, I think about the quail as hardest birds to shoot. Not hardest to hunt. There are more physically demanding hunts like chukkars in Hells Canyon of northern Idaho or grouse in “my backyard” of western Wyoming mountains. The little quail are fast with unpredictable flight pattern.
The only reason I have any success at all is you hear them before you see them. The very distinctive sounds their wings make is a warning to a shooter to pay attention split second before you can make visual contact with the bird. Enough time to mount the gun and turn as necessary. If you are talking too much, too loud or hard blowing wind is making too much noise in your ears, quail hunt becomes challenge of another level. The problem, not a problem but additional factor was the weather. Low temperatures were not the issue, mild wind wasn’t either. It was the three day overcast in southwestern desert. The skies were grey and the landscape grey/green and brown. Perfect camouflage for Blue quail. Our intended targets.
The birds also decided to fly low just above the matching mesquite bushes, tall winter grass and the weeds. We all had to constantly remind each other about the position of all the dogs in the field to prevent hitting them. Quail hunting is important but never that important. The difference in environment and flight pattern of the birds made this hunt unique. I have never hunted in the desert while it was not sunny. The wild quail were well aware of their advantages and we worked hard to try to keep up with them running then flying then running again. They had very little desire to hold. The birds who did and were flushed out by the dogs did not have a chance. Same with the few who decided to fly few feet or more over the cover. Then and only then you heard a lot of “dead bird, find dead bird”.
This was my fifth hunt with the crew from Gun Dog TV. I have used the CZ SUPERSCROLL with the 20 ga barrels on three of them. I will be using this gun for all of my future quail hunts. I have shot many shotguns before but this is the ultimate quail(bird-hunting) gun for me.
The other guys were using the CZ 720s and 920s. I believe the 720 was the hunts winner with the most quail down. Once the tv show makes it to the airwaves you’ll be able to witness some epic shots from my friends. One of them will always stand out.
One of the guys is the finest bird hunter I have ever seen. He also has the best dogs by a mile. His approach to training the dogs is so methodically and consistent he could teach people how to teach the dogs.
The classic moment will be highlighted in upcoming show.
He is picking up a quail from his five months old pointer after beautiful retrieve. As he’s down on one knee to praise his puppy another quail pops up. Still on his knee he shoulders his CZ 720 and pops the quail. This all happened within feet of me so I had the “court side seats” for that one. I congratulated him on two great shots. He on the other hand praised his puppy first and then he complimented his new go to quail gun as best fitting, best handling and the most accurate shooting. And I take his word for it, I’ve been watching him shoot for three years now.
Great dog work, great shooting (most of the time) and great company make any hunt fun. Especially desert quail.