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What’s Happening Now – February 2017

What’s Happening Now – February 2017

Rain…that is the word for all around Arizona quail country and is exactly what’s needed for Gambel’s and scaled quail. Hunting success continues to be okay for Gambel’s and scaled quail though success with Mearns’ quail has dropped off considerably. Many bird hunters have already given up for the season on Mearns’ quail. The minimal success with Mearns’ does not mean there are not good numbers of them out there, it’s just that some of the more popular areas have been somewhat over hunted.

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Below is a section included in each What’s Happening Now post. We value your input and interaction with what we post here so we’ve provided a form to submit your comments. We’ll summarize the comments we receive into a condensed, overall response to include in future What’s Happening Now posts.

What do you think?

Update: Previous Question: There has been some internet chatter going on regarding crippled birds. The chatter revolves around whether or not to count a crippled bird as part of the bag. In other words, if a bird is crippled or dropped a leg when shot, should that bird be counted as part of the bag limit? What are your thoughts?
Response: By far, the feedback has been that birds that are knocked down and cannot be recovered or birds that have been crippled, should be counted as part of the bag limit. — The following comment from Joe in Wyoming sums it up well: “While not required by strict application of the law, counting a crippled bird that is lost or a dead bird that you were not able to find or retrieve is a noble act and a sign of a true sportsman. This is positive behavior that we all should practice to protect the resource that we all share.”

This month: Many upland bird hunters are wasting a lot of good meat by discarding the legs. Quail legs are absolutely delicious and can be cooked in a variety of ways. It does take a little more work and time to save the legs, although worth it. What are your thoughts on saving the legs and a good way to prepare them for the table?

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Tip: Wounded Quail

Every season many quail are lost because a hunter fails to follow-up. A few important things to remember regarding wounded quail:

When hunting without a dog and a bird is knocked down, keep your eye right on that spot and do not immediately move towards it. Study where it went down and look for a dead piece of cactus, a different rock formation or color, or something that stands out to you, and also don’t shoot at another bird during that time. Having kept your eye on the spot and identifying a landmark will give you the confidence about being in the right spot when you do move in. Then be sure to look over the area well because even when a quail is dead on the ground, they can blend in so well, especially if the area’s vegetation is thick.

Another area that hunters tend to lose crippled birds is not keeping an eye on a bird that feathers are knocked out of and the bird continues to fly as if it’s ok. Again, don’t take your eye off that bird – watch it for as far and as long as possible. There have been times that a bird has been feathered and, even with a dog, I watch closely where they light. They look fine, but when I get to that spot, there’ll be a dead bird.

Another situation is where a bird will fly, sometimes for quite a distance, like it hasn’t been hit, and then drop. The hunter has already decided he’s missed it even though the shot looked good, and moves on. But keep your eye on those birds, and even if you don’t see where it goes down, follow up in that direction, and many times a dog will be able to pick it up.

More Bird Hunting Tips!

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