Quail Hunters - Carl

John: Here's a quick summary:

one of the top dogs capable of a cut wheat field pointIowa was a disappointment mostly because much of the corn was still standing in the areas we wanted to hunt. Got only a couple of pheasants and had much better luck on quail.

Kansas was pretty good. Found lots of pheasants but Greg's dog was a little too aggressive and pushed most birds too hard - ended up flushing beyond shooting range. In many cases we were putting up 15-20 birds at a time in various covers. My dog (after some initial wildness) was too cautious on pheasants and we had lots of pointing that resulted in birds moving way out in front. We did get a few roosters but unfortunately most shootable birds were hens. My dog was exceptionally good on a number of quail finds and I wish I had focused more on quail. Greg really wanted pheasants.

Long traveing quail hunetr showing the resluts from one field's huntWe scrubbed the hunting in Missouri because of the lousy weather at end of trip.

Overall we still had a pretty good trip and are already discussing next year. I'm planning to head back to KS/MO sometime after New Years weekend depending on weather conditions. I can be very flexible and have a window from beginning of Jan. through the 18th. Greg probably can't make it because his father is terminally ill and not likely to survive the next few months.

Here are a few pictures. More to follow.

Carl

Kansas pheasant hunting land during the middle seasonListen to the hunters with lots of gray hair and years of bird dogs over multiple states.

1. More birds (both quail and pheasant) than I've seen since joining MAHA.

2. More nice cover available than one can hunt.

3. [4 county locations deleted] had cover much to my liking.

4. I moved around too much - this was the biggest mistake of my trip [a twice a season hunter traveling many miles].

Illustrating just how hard the walking is when quail hunting5. I was seduced by the large number of pheasants and spent far too much time working on far flushing birds.

6. Should have stayed in [multiple county locations deleted] much longer, the cover is better suited to my dogs and there were lots of quail opportunities.

7. I didn't take any good photographs of dogs working.

8. Met a number of very nice MAHA members - a credit to your MAHA member selection process. They were the kind of people with whom one would like to hunt. (Chad/Minn, Aaron & Sue/UP Mich, Ted/Arkansas, Tad (deer hunter)/Minn, Josh & John/West VA, and two men from Missouri).

9. I'll be back!!!

Next Trip

road kill pheasant on truckJohn: Here are the remains of my hunt. Overall a good hunt but as discussed the weather was mostly awful and I really need to find a traveling companion. I have a few pictures that I'll forward tomorrow. The usual not good photography. Carl

Tuesday, November 22

Arrived at 3:30pm after 2 longs days of driving. Goal was to exercise myself and dogs in preparation for serious hunt on Wed. Hunted Belle for 45 minutes with no finds. Hunted hard but she's out of shape because of very little grouse hunting in October. She'll undoubtedly get much better over next week.

another road kill pheasant stuck to grill dog looking on in wonderHunted Blue for 35 minutes. He pushed out two pheasants but I'm not sure he was really clued in on the birds. One bird jumped up and headed into sun. I couldn't see anything but the shape but judging from the cackling it was likely a rooster. No shot taken. A hen then flushed quietly from same area with dog working under tight grass cover and he didn't seem to be aware that the bird rose. Blue walked a lot and acted very unsure of his role and circumstances. After about 20 minutes he started to range a little at a faster pace and finally was actively hunting at a pace one would expect from a 10+ year-old dog who hasn't been hunted much. I'm confident that he'll do OK in the next week.

Wednesday, November 23

His best quail hunting day of the season for these tough to shoot birds.On ground at 9:30AM with Belle in Section 16a. Warm, dry wind at about 30-40 mph. Temperature was 54F @ 9:30. Belle hunted well and went to all the right cover but had no finds. One rooster flushed in adjacent field but no shot opportunity. Hunted for about 45 minutes. Lots of debris blowing across fields.

Put Blue on ground further down in section 16b. Took him about 10 minutes to figure out that he was hunting and he slowly picked up the tempo. Getting better. No birds. Still very windy and temp was then 62F. Hunted for about 40 minutes.

Belle on ground in section 29a at 1:00 PM. Very windy and temp in high 60's. No birds - very frustrating. Hunted for about 25 minutes.

A more typical bag limit per coveyBlue on ground on south side of section 20c @ 2:00PM . Slow to start but got revved up when he busted some turkeys. No other birds. Windy and temp about 68F. Hunted about 20 minutes.

Blue on ground in upper section 20a @ 3:15PM. Hunted hard for about 25 minutes. No birds but one hen flushed wild off to side. Blue looked better.

Belle on ground on south end of section 16c @ 4:00PM - freshly cut cornfield. Still very windy and warm and although she hunted hard and smart there was no bird work. Temp was still 58 when we quit qt 4:55PM - almost dark.

Thursday, November 24

Belle on ground at 8:15AM on southeast corner of Section 27b. Cold & windy. 28F & 25mph winds. Hunted for about 2 hours with no birds. Got birdy once but no follow-up.

Hunted Blue on west side of 27b near barns. Hunted nicely but no birds. Lots of wind whipping across fields - blowing cornstalks and other debris. We quit after 45 minutes.

Ate Thanksgiving Day lunch at [location deleted]. Not great food but only game in town. Headed for [location deleted] at 1:30 PM.

Friday, November 25

sore footed quail dog showing hurt pawThings getting better! Hunted Belle in section 28a - cut cornfield and adjacent tall grass. On the ground about 8:30AM and still windy but warmer. Belle worked two roosters in swamp grass but I had no shot because of grass height (over my head). Moved on and pointed rooster in stubble - in the bag!! Worked two more birds along swale leading out of swamp area. Both ran a lot but we finally bagged one of them.

Hunted Blue across stubble field into tree line. Hen and rooster went up way in front. Worked another rooster in grass - one more in the bag!! Continued in tree line and put up two more birds - one hen, one rooster.

Took break until about 2:30PM. Then hunted Belle in section 6a - more grass and stubble. Worked three birds - all went up too far out. No shot possible.

Hunted Blue in sector where Belle started this morning. Moved two coveys of quail and one rooster. No shots - Blue hunts OK but needs to start pointing. Quit at dark.

Saturday, November 26

what all hunerts want to see in their dogs steadiness to pointBelle on ground at 8:45AM in east end of section 28a. Lots of birdiness in stubble field but birds apparently moving way ahead. Worked across stubble, along tree line and into grass field. One find that resulted in another rooster in bag - very surprising because of number of birds in there yesterday. Worked up through stubble toward truck and Belle worked a rooster. A hawk swooped low nearby and Belle took of after it. Simultaneously the rooster flushed and I shot it. Belle chased for extended period of time - terrible performance. Possible E-collar in her future.

Hunted Blue in east end of section 26c. Rooster flushed about 20 ft. from truck just as I let him out. He chased for about ten minutes and put it up twice more. We then hunted a number of brush piles that looked to be excellent cover in middle of cut bean field with one more bird that was cleanly shot. He was very tired after his earlier chase. Weather was breezy and very mild (62F).

another good day for this traveling upland bird hunter during the Kansas pheasant seasonHunted Belle in section 11a/c. Very warm but she was quite birdy twice in this grass field area and we finally got one rooster. Then after about twenty more minutes of hunting she pointed some prairie chickens and chased for about 10 minutes. E-collar definitely in her future.

Went back to section 28a with Belle and finally worked one of the coveys found yesterday. Two birds in bag and Belle partially redeemed herself for the earlier chase - nice dog work here.

Sunday, November 28

Spoke with John Wenzel who recommended shifting from Unit C to A for better Quail hunting. About 1:00PM went into the first field and within 50 yards of van Belle had first covey. Most of birds broke into adjacent field that is not MAHA property. Couldn't pursue them so we hunted singles on our property and got one after a point to flush. Very windy and Belle pointed three other singles two of which I bagged. Very nice dog work.

Worked second covey in swale through middle of area. Flushed covey and one flew very close to ground and I had to pull shotgun up because of proximity to dog. They flew very fast with a 30mph tail wind and went across road. Tough shooting. Beautiful grounds. Third covey flushed wild out in middle of stubble field (cut soybean field).

Hunted Blue in same section (different area) from about 2:30 - 3:00 when thunderstorms and lightning cut the day short. He was birdy once but no finds.

Monday, November 29

Drove from [location deleted] to [location deleted] after marginal breakfast at diner in Marysville. On the ground on south side of section 32 about 11:00AM. Windy and cold but had good luck in this area last year so decided to try it again. Hunted Belle along cut cornfield and found covey at end of field - got one bird on covey rise. Most of birds flew into adjacent tall grass field and we pursued with no finds. Pushed on to grass area in southeast part of area and found second covey in small tree line (same place as last year). One bird on covey rise and one more single about 10 minutes later. Very windy and getting colder. Quit about 12:45. Exercised Blue for about 10 minutes and then headed for [location deleted].

Tuesday, November 30

Stayed in [location deleted] last night. Decent food and drink compared to [location deleted]. On the ground with Belle about 9:30AM on south side of section 14c/d. Lots of cut beans and tree lines. Very windy and spitting light sleet. Worked a covey in swale after about 30 minutes and took one bird on covey rise and a single after a few minutes. Worked around edge of adjacent field and started to think about leaving because of cold wind & sleet. Found a covey in grass edge of second field and dropped one more bird. Most of covey went across field in direction away from truck so we did a quick look at some of the closer spots that might hold a single with no luck - then head to truck about 12:00 noon. Miserable hunting weather.

Wednesday, December 1

On the ground with Belle at 8:30AM in section 11b. Cover similar to yesterday. Weather similar to yesterday - awful - windy and cold. No fun hunting in this weather. We actually found a covey after about 10 minutes along grass-covered swale. Good dog work and we got one on covey rise and then a single out in middle of field. Crazy place for a quail to set down in this weather. Worked around field and then into tree line and across second grass area with no finds. Went back to truck about 10:00 AM. Worked Blue for about an hour in east side of section 7b. Nice cover but now the wind was howling and although Blue seemed to go to right places we had no finds. Time to head East toward DC and Maine. Good trip overall.

Another hunt.

John: It's a long hard drive from Maine to Missouri, especially alone but well worth it the first time my dog points a wild quail or pheasant!! Only another dog person can understand and appreciate the joy and the thrill of experiencing a dog in it's own element and on point. I'd drive twice as far if necessary and am already thinking about next trip. CJF

Here are a couple of pictures that once again attest to my lack of skill as a photographer. My dogs deserve better. It also highlights that my dog is graying almost as fast as I am!!!

MAHA Diary

Nov. 2007 Sunday 25 Nov. 2007 [location deleted].

Weather cold but nice – 29 degrees and slightly overcast. Not much breeze.

On the ground at 9:30AM in section 15b with Belle. Hunted whole perimeter with no finds. Nice ground cover by Belle.

11:00 AM – 12:00 noon - Hunted Slick in [location deleted] with same results. Blue bird weather.

Belle in [location deleted] at 1:30PM. Grass field with strong breeze. Nice work but no birds. Slick to [location deleted] at 3:00PM. Worked whole perimeter and found covey in grass field at end about 200 yards from truck. Shot twice with no hits. Terrible shooting, OK work by Slick.

Belle to north side of [location deleted] at 4:00PM. Busted flock of turkeys that she chased. Had to zap her with E-collar to get her back. Found covey in corner – super work by Belle. I missed twice on covey rise – most birds flew into adjacent grass field. Belle relocated small segment of covey at end of tree line. Covey rise into grass field – no good shot. Worked two different singles with atrocious shooting. Belle had one more solid point on turkey. Back to truck at 4:45PM.

Monday 26 November 2007 [location deleted]. Weather cold (29F), breezy and overcast.

Slick on ground at 9:30AM. Nice cover and he hunted nicely for about 45 minutes. Then seemed to get bored (no birds yet) and started mousing. Covered lots of ground – edges along cut corn and soybeans. Slick had encounter with deer decoy/profile that had been set up in field as bow hunter target. Once I got him away from that curiosity he hunted fine. Finally found covey on tree clump at end of grass edge around bean field. Got one bird on covey rise and then a single. Back to truck at 11:00AM.

Monday 26 November 2007 [location deleted]. Weather breezy and warming (48F)

Belle on ground in section [location deleted] at 11:20. Very windy. Large grassy field above cut corn. Went down hill (east) and started working tree line. Found covey in blown down cat tails and dropped one bird. Proceeded to work two more single with terrible shooting. Dog deserves more. Worked around edges for about ½ mile and found another covey in draw as we headed back to truck. Took single on covey rise and then two more singles. Nice work by Belle although she’s still a little wild on the covey rise. Back to truck at 12:25.

Slick on ground in east side of [location deleted] at 3:00PM. Strong breeze from NW. Dog worked nicely and had solid point on large covey at edge of tree line/cornfield. Downed one bird that Slick retrieved nicely. Most of birds went off leased property so we worked around adjacent cut cornfield. Slick pointed small covey in grass swale – one more bird on covey rise and missed one other single. Not polished but very nice work by Slick as a 2 yr old that has never hunted wild quail before. Had solid point on rooster pheasant. Thought it was going to be a turkey so I didn’t take shot – bummer for dog. Back to truck at 4:00PM.

Tuesday 27 November 2007 [location deleted]. Weather breezy and cool (40F)

Drove from [location deleted] and had Belle in [location deleted] at 10:30. Large cut cornfield with lots of swales and grass on edges. Looked like good cover. Dog worked very well and had one small covey at end of swale. Only about 5-6 birds so it must have been a busted/dispersed covey. Missed birds and they flew across whole section and then across creek. Worked around area looking for rest of covey but had no other contacts. Back to truck at 11:50.

Slick to opposite side of [location deleted] with no contact. Nice ground cover by Slick for about 45 minutes but no birds.

Tuesday 27 November 2007 [location deleted]. Weather breezy and cool (40F)

Belle in section [location deleted] at 2:30. Large cut bean field with lots of grass on edges. Looked like great edge cover. Dog worked very well and finally had one covey. I managed to drop one bird but rest of birds flew far and wide. No chance for singles. Back to truck at 3:30.

Drove to [location deleted] for few minutes with Slick. Windy and getting colder (35F). Pointed hen pheasant about 50 yards from truck. Didn't chase it and we moved on. Worked around east edge and circled back toward truck. Pointed rooster at first water hole. Hit bird twice but didn't drop it. Slick chased into standing corn. Worked back and busted second rooster at second water hole. No shot! Getting dark so back to truck at 5:25.

Wednesday 28 November 2007 [location deleted]. Weather windy and cold (36 F)

Belle to [location deleted] @ 9:30. Worked into wind in a counterclockwise direction around standing cornfield. A couple of non-productives that I suspect were running pheasants. Had to work hard to keep Belle out of standing corn and in the edges. Hunted a number of very nice draws/slough into wind as we worked around the edge. Finally had solid point in redberry and thorn stand. Expected rooster and got a huge covey of quail (estimate 25+ birds). So surprised that my 2 shots were off the mark. Most of covey flew over standing corn into never-never land and we couldn't relocate. After 2 hours we broke through corn to head back to truck without completing the circumnavigation of the cornfield. Very windy.

Slick to [location deleted] at 1:30. Grassy field adjacent to cut beans. Worked up draw and pointed one rooster. Flushed too far out and went with wind at about 25mph. No shot. Worked back toward water hole and flushed a hen that Slick chased for about 100 yards before coming back. No further contact. Back to truck @ 2:30.

Slick to [location deleted] @ 3:15. Worked heavy grass adjacent to cut beans. Expected some pheasant action but got nothing. On ground for only about 30 minutes because wind was howling.

Wanted to put Belle down in [location deleted] but wind was too heavy so we called it a day.

Thursday 29 November. Weather windy and cold (36 F)

Drove to Omaha to pick up Lehman.

Friday 30 November. [location deleted] Weather windy and cold (28 F)

Drove around scouting area until about 10:30. Put Belle into [location deleted]. Hunted around south edge of area into wind (which was about 15-20mph) and covered lots of good cover adjacent to a milo field. Lots of swales & grass & brush. Found one small covey and got two birds. Continued around north side (in milo edge) with no further contact. Hunted for about 2 hours.

Parked on edge of cemetery and put Slick in section [location deleted] about 2:30. Large milo field with water holes and grassy swales. Expected pheasants galore and saw none. Did get one very nice point on covey in blow down on edge of field. One bird in bag – covey flew off property into adjacent lad with horses and cattle. Couldn't pursue.

Belle to [location deleted] at 4:00PM. Nice looking cover. Grassy, brushy draw up through tree line that went on for about half mile. Milo on one side cut sunflowers on other side. Nice movement by Belle but no contact of any kind – very disappointing. Wonder what kind of cover the pheasants find best on a windy day??? Overall, this sector of [location deleted] was disappointing. Not much good cover.

Saturday 1 December 2007. [location deleted], Weather icy turning rainy, very windy and warm (58 F). No hunting today!

Sunday 2 December 2007. [location deleted], Weather very windy (20-25MPH) & cold (32 F).

Hunted Belle in [location deleted] @ 9:30. Cut corn around pond with seemingly great cover all around. Had great luck here last year – numerous pheasants on two occasions in '06. Hunted hard for almost 2 hours. Pond was much higher this year and cut down the available cover by 50%. No contact of any kind – very disappointing.

Hunted Slick in [location deleted] @ 1:30. Still very windy. Worked up draw on east side of area into tall grass and had three different roosters but they were flushing too far out for any reasonable shots. Had one large covey of quail and dropped two birds. Nice work by Slick in this high wind. Quit about 3:00 and headed to Omaha airport for Lehman's return flight.

Monday 3 December 2007. [location deleted], Weather breezy and 40F – not bad for a change!

Belle on ground @ 2:00PM on east side of [location deleted]. Worked draw down from truck and flushed hen and then rooster. Rooster went out so quietly I didn't get shot. Found large covey (20+) on edge of cut corn and dropped a legitimate double. Worked one more single and missed. Worked around grassy field and had one more hen pheasant nicely pointed. Too bad for dog – it would have been an easy shot. Back to truck at 3:15.

Slick to [location deleted] @ 3:30. Worked very nicely around grass edge of cornfield. After about 35 minutes he finally locked up about 50 yards into grass field and we had a very large "open field" covey rise. He held birds very well and I dropped one bird. Slick chased the other birds on the rise and I had a hard time getting him back for the retrieve. Finally got it done. Worked one more single and added it to the bag. Back to truck at 4:15.

Long, ugly drive ahead of me as I head back to Maine in morning.

Another Hunt.

John: Here are a few pictures that only prove how terrible I am with a camera. Dog is much better looking than my photography shows.

I'm still hoping to get back out to KS this year - maybe right after Christmas if weather holds. I'll check with you later. Thanks, Carl

Carl quail hunting continued.

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