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Quail Hunting Guide

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Hunting For Bobwhite Quail

Bobwhite Quail Adult Male

Quail are hunted in the fall using bird dogs that are trained to "point" to a covey (group) of quail when they find them (by smell). Then upon command they rush the covey of quail causing them to fly into the air. This is when the hunter is to shoot the quail, as they fly about trying to get away from you and the dog.

This all sounds very simple and it really is not that difficult if you remember a few important rules which we will cover in this article.

Quail hunting is usually done in pairs of men or women with a pair of specially trained dogs. Quail hunting is one of the only hunting sports I know in which you do not have to hide from your prey with camouflage. For safety's sake it is best that everyone wear bright colored clothing due to the close proximity of other hunters with weapons. The last thing you want to do is shoot your dog or the person hunting with you.

Let's cover these topics here for those of you that want to hunt quail:

What Type of Land Are You Likely To Find Quail On

Where To Find Quail

Over the past few decades we have seen a decline in the habitat and in the quail population. With this population drop has come a drop in quail hunters also. Because of the loss of habitat you may find yourself asking permission to hunt on someone's property or hunt on state approved property. There are also ranches that offer quail hunting excursions if you want to take a guided quail hunt.

Quail are found on land that has a combination of open land and woody cover. Fields that have diverse vegetation such as annual weeds with native grasses that provide quail with the seeds they feed upon. Quail like to hide in briars, especially if they feel threatened, so be prepared with adequate clothing to walk through briar patches.

You will usually not find quail in pastures of thick or overgrazed grass. Quail cannot walk through thick grasses and they feel exposed in a field with little grass. Quail like their cover and they are camouflaged so true to nature that you probably could walk right past a quail or covey if it was being still and not notice it.

Fields near woody draws, small wood lots and fence rows are good places to hunt because quail like cover near their feeding spots.
A quail's normal daily pattern is this:

  • Quail feed on seeds in fields in the morning
  • Quail rest under woody cover by mid-day
  • Late afternoon will find quail back in the weedy areas of a field
  • Quail normally sleep in weedy, grassy areas at night
What Type Of Gun And Ammunition Do I Need To Hunt Quail

Using A Shotgun to Hunt For Quail

You may hunt quail with a shotgun with the gauge of 410 to 12 gauge. What is important is the proper barrel length and choke on your shotgun. It has been recommended that a 26" barrel with a skeet or improved cylinder choke be used.

The 20 gauge shotgun is the most common gauge of shotgun used to hunt quail the 28 gauge is gaining popularity among some hunters. A 71/2 to 8 load shell is suggested when hunting quail.

Safety Points To Consider When Hunting Quail - Huntland.Com

Safety While Hunting Quail

As we mentioned earlier most quail hunts involve 2 people 2 dogs in the field at one time. Each dog is competing to see if he can find the covey of quail first. When the first quail covey is located and pointed by the dog that found it then the other dog is trained to point the first dog. Excitement is building as we await the flush of the quail covey....but wait we must consider safety first and this is what should go on:

  1. As a rule the hunters should approach their perspective dogs from behind.
  2. Gun muzzles should be pointed skyward and the shotgun on safety until mounted to one's shoulder.
  3. The two hunters should approach the dogs , one on either side, and in a straight line with each other. This straight line is important for hunter safety.
  4. Before moving up and allowing the birds to flush each hunter should visibly and mentally locate each other, both dogs, the hunting rig, and the hunting guide (if on a guided hunt). Each hunter should have been informed of the range of swing he has with his gun before the hunt as follows.......
  5. Each hunter's range of swing should be from the mid-point between him and his partner and out to his side.  A hunter should never cross mid-point to shoot at a quail flying on his partner's side. Not only is this bad manners it is dangerous.
  6. A quail hunter should never take a shot at a low flying quail that would cause him to lower the muzzle of his shotgun below a horizontal plane with the ground. This type of shot could hit one of the dogs.

Of course circumstances may have it that you cannot approach your bird dogs from behind due to wind factors or the quail escape route. But generally speaking, the rules listed above should be followed when hunting quail.

As you can see quail hunting is not a type of hunt that you just jump into. You would be better suited, if you want to quail hunt, to find a friend that quail hunts or hire a guide with dogs.

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