Missouri Upland Bird Hunting
Missouri upland bird hunting is for wild quail and pheasant however, when discussing Missouri upland bird hunting the substantive discussion is about wild Bobwhite Quail hunting. The reason is that Missouri's quail numbers are high and the pheasant numbers low making Missouri primarily the quail hunters' domain.
Upland Bird Hunt
A picture to motivate more reading about our upland bird hunting. A typical quail hunt for most of our quail regions where more Bobwhite Quail than pheasant will be found.
2016 Missouri Hunting Land
Missouri's location develops in the upland bird hunter a greater understanding of ground nesting bird distribution. That distribution as discovered in the 1962 Arizona Game Bird Study showed the altitude and humidity to be the distinguishing criteria of where some ground nesting birds are able and are not able to incubate eggs successfully. Add to that altitude and humidity differences that of habitat recognizing that pheasants are large grass field birds and quail are edge or transition habitat loving birds compared to Missouri's heavy agriculture land use and it becomes even more apparent why Missouri upland bird hunting is well know for quail and typically not considered for pheasant.
Missouri has a lot of edge or quail habitat as it is heavily cut by rivers that make up the Lower Missouri River Basin creating a lot of tree lined rivers, creeks and streams both dry and wet.
These Missouri river valleys or the larger watershed areas are also composed of much flat land of deep dark soil and water for large grain row crops. Or, food for the quail occupying the tree lined drainage's cutting through the farm fields.
Missouri Bobwhite Quail Habitat
Crop field edge cover along fence lines and damages.
Missouri upland bird hunting being dominated by quail hunters is due to their being a lot of quail. No surprise in this statement, however there is consequence we offer for consideration to the bird hunter to make a more informed choice of rather to hunt Missouri or elsewhere.
The consequence of Missouri quail hunting is that Missouri has a lot of quail habitat. Much more edge line habitat than could ever be measured. The consequence is that edge must be hunted to find the quail and there are only so many miles within each bird hunter on any given day to hunt. This then leads to what does more to distinguish a good quail hunt from a lesser bird hunt and that is bird dog power. Specifically, quail dog power. Missouri will show this better than most states which upland bird dog has the bird finding power better than another.
Missouri's upland bird hunting distinction is quail and bird dog power.
We have all heard the upland bird hunter who will make the statement that he has one or two of the best (chukar, grouse, pheasant, hun, or in general upland bird hunting) dog to be found. And, that may be true. It may very well be true that same upland bird dog may not be a good Missouri quail dog at all and if a good quail dog that bird dog may not be well suited to Missouri's upland bird habitat.
Take this one example relative to Missouri upland bird hunting. We have all seen the pointing dog training videos, read the books or been to training seminars where the expert leading the discussion will touch on the techniques to train a bird dog to quarter a field.
Quartering a field is a conditioning of the bird dog to work the front area of the hunter regardless of direction of travel and thoroughly cover all the ground so as not to miss any birds. These birds are typically planted quail on a field trail course of open ground to allow for plenty of long range observation by dog handler judge, gallery and other brace mates.
The problem with this quartering technique of bird dog work is that it is not effective on linear quail cover common to Missouri creek bottoms.
An upland bird dog that quarters will extend his range well into the crop field where the further traveled to the interior the likelihood of finding quail drops dramatically. Or, the other direction as is common for big woods grouse dogs. That quartering bird dog well accustomed to running the trees for grouse will dive too deeply into the river or creek bottom extending well beyond the narrow band of edge the coveys will occupy.
In short most bird dog hunters will agree their bird dog hunts best the upland bird, plains bird or deep woods bird it was introduced to the earliest and hunts the most. An upland bird dog well skilled to hunt all birds effectively is rare.
How big of an upland bird hunting issue is this for the MAHA staff? It is significant to the point that if anyone calls us and says they are interested in quail hunting we will have the discussion that was just read.
The reason is that we know what it takes to have a good upland bird hunt for either quail or pheasant. A good bird hunt is what we want for all. And we will do the best we can to give each new member the information he needs to make the best choice for his upland bird hunting style of choice of bird and habitat. That bird hunting decision criteria may very well point towards Missouri bird hunting as well as away from Missouri. We will seek to give the best information possible so the upland bird hunter can select his own hunting location.
That upland bird hunting information may be the recommendation that perhaps for their first hunt the best hunt will be in the tall grass fields of Kansas on pheasant for a grouse dog well conditioned to quartering saving the Missouri quail hunt for a more easily to influence first season dog that will learn what it means to run the downwind edge and dive in rather than quarter.
In all cases of the upland bird hunting that we offer it is for those that want a more leisurely approach to their bird hunting than is achievable on public land be they the small game lands of Pennsylvania or the large track of public land in Utah. We make that possible by acting as the friendly point of contact to discuss upland bird of preference and habitat of preference for each bird hunter particular hunting style and dog power.
In the case of our Missouri upland bird hunting we will recommend to the hunter "units" of land totaling more acreage than can be hunted in a day for a brace of even the best bird dogs to be seen.
What these upland bird units allow for is hunter separation so that everyone may step from their truck every time, every day of every trip and not cross the boot prints of others, mix his dogs with other hunters' dogs or race the next guy to that next good spot.
In the case of our Missouri upland bird hunting these units also allow us to manage hunter pressure on the sensitive coveys ensuring no covey is respectively hunted by the same hunter to extinction.
Not only is our perspective about hunts on wild birds we seek the upland bird hunter that wants to watch his dog work above all else. We seek the hunter that enjoys the hunt rather than just the collection of limits. For the Missouri upland bird hunter that has dogs steady to point, wing, shot, drop, honors and retrieves Missouri's quail will provide the opportunity for that level of work every day.