What’s Happening Now – December
Well folks a lot of mixed reports coming in as far as mearns quail. Moisture this past year looked to be a good one for a quail Hatch in Arizona. That did not happen. Don’t give me wrong Arizona quail hunting is still OK just did not turn out as predicted. Mearns quail hunting the last few years has been very good. This year it might be a bit below average with Gambels Quail and scaled quail following suit.I have Been Finding Areas That Where Full Of Quail Last Year….And This Year They Are Gone.
With all the excitement of a good quail hatch opening weekend ended up being extremely busy in southern Arizona. Remember you are the Stewards of the land. Take a bird or two and move on.It is important that practice is used. Ensuring that there will be healthy populations for years to come. If you are truly hungry I would recommend Costco beef.
There have been reports of increased illegal immigration.One hunting Group reported finding 6 large bundles of marijuana worth about $40,000. In popular mearns quail habitat.It might be wise to stay out of the immediate border to Avoid a chance encounter.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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?
Let us know your thoughts using the form below! We’ll summarize the comments we receive into a condensed, overall response to include in a future What’s Happening Now post.
May TIP OF THE MONTH
By Randy Babb, AZ Game & Fish Information & Education Program Manager
Try starting your quail hunt early in the morning when it’s cooler and birds are more vocal and moving about. Also consider using a quail call and listen for coveys to answer; this will save walking and time. Quail calls may be purchased at most sporting goods stores. While walking in the field, stop frequently to listen for birds. Gambel’s and scaled quail make a variety of sounds; learn to recognize these calls. Once birds are found, attempt to split the covey up and work cover for single birds, this is where you’re likely to get most of your birds. Estimate the number of birds on a covey rise and keep count of the number of single birds that are flushed while working for singles. This way you can make sure you’ve worked the covey thoroughly. If you have hunted through the area where the scattered birds settled and have only gotten up half the number of the birds that were counted on the covey rise, you know that there are still more birds in the area and can work the surrounding cover appropriately.
Gambel’s quail like to run and if the cover is not heavy enough will literally out run hunters and dogs alike. Minimize your frustration while hunting these birds by choosing areas that hav
TIP: FOLLOW THE BIRD
Gambel’s quail are tough. They can be hit hard and still run. Here’s a practice that can really make a difference in limiting the number of lost or crippled quail. Typically, a hunter will shoot a bird and automatically his gun will come down to watch where the bird drops. Try following the bird down with your gun up and ready to shoot. If the bird looks like it’s about to run off, shoot again. A bird can run off and be gone in the time in takes to bring the gun back up to shoot. But here’s a red flag: Safety must come first in this situation. Always be aware of where other hunters and/or dogs are in order to prevent any injuries/mishaps.
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SMALL GAME HUNTING TIPS: QUAIL
e good ground cover in the way of grasses and shrubs. This vegetation provides hiding places for scattered birds. On birds that want to run ahead of you, put pressure on them by unloading your firearm and trotting after the birds until you have flushed the covey enough times for the birds to be sufficiently scattered to hold. Then work the area for singles. Avoid hunting areas with little ground cover. For quail to hold (not flush at a distance too far for the hunter to shoot at them) there must be adequate ground cover for the birds to hide in (e.g. grass, shrubs, etc.). In sparsely vegetated areas quail tend to run and flush at excessive distances. This can be a problem in years of poor production as the hunter is faced with pursuing older “educated” birds. There should be plenty of young birds this season so running birds will likely not be a problem this season. Young birds hold better so it is worth the effort to find those areas that experienced better hatches.
Once the birds are scattered and holding a hunter will flush more birds if they walk in a zigzag fashion through the cover, occasionally pausing for a few seconds. Waiting can be as important as walking in areas where there is good cover and where you know there are birds. It is not uncommon to walk into an area, stop for a few seconds, and have a bird flush right behind you after you resume walking. Be ready for this. Attempt to read the cover and terrain to predict where birds may be hiding. Groups of closely growing shrubs, shallow draws lined with dense vegetation, or low thickets, should be investigated. If a hunter has a partner, develop a game plan and move through an area about 20 to 30 yards apart covering the area thoroughly. If birds are holding tightly it is not unusual to cover the same ground many times and still flush birds. Quail will often hold closely in inclement weather. Once a bird is knocked down, stay at the ready for a second or two to make sure the quail is not crippled and runs off. Also mark downed birds carefully and walk directly to the spot and retrieve the bird. If the downed bird is not found immediately take the time to carefully search the surrounding area within about a 15 yard, or more, radius. Gambel’s quail are remarkably tough and can take a lot of punishment. Crippled birds will run down mammal burrows, into packrat nests, or hide in most any suitable cover. Resist the temptation to shoot at additional birds once a bird has been downed. This will translate to fewer lost birds and more game in the bag.
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