February 2017: 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?
Consensus: Overwhelming response regarding the waste of quail legs. Several different recipes were sent that sounded delicious. 100% agreed, don’t throw quail legs away. Even though it takes a little longer to clean them it’s well worth the effort. Click here for the Buffalo Quail Legs recipe
January 2017: 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?
Consensus: 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.”
December 2016: Do you wear upland bird pants? If so, why? What brand do you prefer?
Consensus:Columbia Lightweight Upland Pants seem to be the go-to upland pant for Arizona bird hunting.
November 2016: What do you think as far as a recommended shotgun for Arizona quail hunting and why? Over and under or side by side, pump, or autoloader.
Consensus: Over and under for reliability and ease to carry
September/October 2016: Do you use brush chaps for quail hunting? If so, what’s your favorite brand?
Consensus: Most responses were regarding using TurtleSkins.
August 2016: In your opinion, what’s the best boot for Arizona quail hunting?
Consensus: Overall best boot for Arizona quail hunting is the Danner Pronghorn.
July 2016: What’s your opinion of the best overall Arizona quail to hunt, Gambel’s, Scaled, or Mearns’ and why?
Consensus: Overall from email and FB responses so far has overwhelmingly been Mearns’ quail. There were a few votes for Scaled quail. There has not yet been a single vote for Gambel’s quail which is in fact the most hunted quail in Arizona.
June 2016: Best breed of bird dog for Arizona quail hunting? What are your thoughts, recommendations, suggestions, experiences, etc. regarding bird dogs? So many different choices out there…labs, setters, pointers, flushers…what are some opinions for the better, all-around bird dog for the Arizona desert?
Consensus: Best breed of bird dog for Arizona quail: The overall consensus from email and FB responses so far has been German Shorthair.
March 2016: This question was asked several years back, asking again. What’s your opinion: The early quail season starting dates. Should the quail season start a little later? Say for example, starting the end of October or early November and ending around mid-February. Reasons for a later start date would be half grown quail, rattlesnake activity, and heat (still too hot to hunt). Would really like some good feedback on this to see if perhaps the season could be changed in the future.
Consensus: Still gathering responses.
February 2016: Shot Size: What are your thoughts regarding shot size for desert birds (Gambel’s and scaled quail), especially late season? Which would you choose: 6 shot, 7, 7.5, or 8?
Consensus: Great response regarding shot size. As you can imagine, opinions varied greatly. Number 6 shot all the way to number 8 is preferred, no doubt about that. Overall though, when it comes right down to it, 7 1/2 is by far the go to shot size of choice. Load top barrel with number 8 and bottom barrel with 7 1/2 or sometimes 6. Several opinions were as follows, shot size makes no difference, all about the marksmanship of the hunter. Also some comments regarding steel shot vs. lead shot. Take a look at this fact sheet (PDF) from Oklahoma State University that includes a chart to allow for easier conversion from lead shot to steel shot.
December 2015: For some of the long time bird hunters in Arizona or elsewhere, what are some of the big changes you have seen in bird hunting over the years? Such as, do Mearns’ and Scaled quail run more than they used to? If so, do you think it’s from more hunting pressure? Do Gambel’s and Scaled quail disappear easier than they used to? Have they adapted into a smarter bird or not? Let us know your thoughts using the form below! We’ll summarize the comments we receive into a condensed, overall response to include in the next What’s Happening Now post.
Consensus: Arizona’s quail, Mearns’, scaled and Gambel’s are much more difficult to hunt than they were 30 years ago. Mearns’ quail are running more, not only as a singles but as a covey. As hunting pressure has increased and more people hunt with dogs, the birds have learned survival skills over the last 30 years that does make them more difficult to hunt.