Self Guided Quail Hunting Quality
Quail hunting quality we have found is defined by the hunter's previous experience. It is typically broached with the question of how good is our quail hunting?
The answer we have learned is relative to the locality of the one asking the question. For those from the southern states our quail hunting may be considered very poor. For those from the east and north states ours is great. And, for locals, the seasons are either expressed in terms of good or bad relative from year to year.
Compared To Southern USA Quail Hunting
For non-resident hunters the basis for their evaluation is the bobwhite population in their home state area. The southeast United States hunter frequents plantations where a covey each time stepping from the truck and a limit every day is expected. This is on planted birds hunted by connecting the dots between feed and water dispensers.
On my own farm, my personal playground for dog training and not under lease to MAHA, I have game feeders. The coveys use them and consistently so that I may find a covey in near proximity almost any time. The value of these coveys for me is for my first year pups, not for quality dog work. For good quail hunting/dog work I travel to better regions where I can count on 4 covey/days for my average dogs. In good years anyone working dogs past noon is either breaking bag limits or can't shoot. The issue is if wanting to hunt natural birds on natural terrain a covey each time stepping from the truck and limit every day is not possible. We never say that it is.
The quail hunter we seek to work with are those that the hunt comes down to enjoying their own personal hunting dogs.
John and Karen's first pointing dogs.
Comparison To East Coast and Northern States Quail Hunting
For those traveling from the east coast and northern states they remind us how we, as locals, are spoiled. The John and Karen Burks bird dog team from West Virginia taught us that even our worst years are better than their best years in their home state. For these hunters, finding four coveys in one day, believe they are in bobwhite heaven.
Local Upland Bird Hunters
Readers seem to demand a lot of pictures of harvested quail showing limits easily attained. There is little that is easy about wild quail hunting. Those that approach their quail hunt with a "must get a limit mentality" are those we avoid. Those that take pictures of their dog for their home wall display we seek.
Local hunters remember the good years. This would be the kind of year when first season dogs could get enough experience their first year to become finished bobwhite hunters. These years carry us through the down years. The difference between an up and down year is directly related to the combined May through September rainfall. Ten inches has been the break mark. Less than 10 inches and the chick survival rate is high. More then 10 and its low.
Super dog Magic. Always had the first point.
What Our Quail Hunting Is All Really About
All in all if wanting the opportunity for wild quail hunting on natural terrain whether on a good year or down, MAHA offers the chance for every hunter to work his bird dogs in peace from others.
The worst thing that may be encountered are Cockle Burrs. Snakes, scorpions, cactus, snow fall and alligators are not a concern.
Ideal habitat (picture).
Grain crop field, woody cover and most importantly for successive years covey reproduction nesting cover. It is the far ground left, year round, undisturbed, short grass nesting cover. Well positioned on the slope between the crop field and woody cover. This is 80 acres. Some may not think it is enough and so do we. Every hunter will have more private land to hunt each day than daylight hours. We highlight this small spot just to show that the small spot produce.
On the last hunt with two dogs, one covey, 11 points, two shells shot and one Bobwhite in the bag. The birds were smart and true survivors by running under the cedar tree to the far side to flush away from dog and hunter.
Central mid-west quail hunting is not like what we hear about in Texas with 10 to 20 covey flushes per day. Or is it like in Georgia on the plantations where limits are bagged by 10 AM in time for the lunch at the big house. For most of us bagging a limit can be done off of two coveys. In this kind of habitat as can be seen on this web site there is much singles action for every covey flush.
The difference always comes down to the self guided hunter that hunts his own dogs. He is after the dog work. Each point be it a single or covey is valued. On guided hunts, coveys are more valued. The covey increases likelihood the client will bag a bird if given enough presentations. Singles are just too hard to hit for anyone not dedicated to upland birds and to work his own dog. For guided hunts the faster more birds are in the bag the happier the client. It is also sooner the hunt provider can be done with the client. Self guided hunters seek the entire day to hunt his dogs for as many days as he can hunt.
Payden the old timer left, Suzy her first season.
Those of us that do limit out on two coveys are typically working a first season dog. This is an exception to the conservation approach to quail hunting. This is a time when we shoot every bird we can over the pup's point. After that pups finishes out usually before the end of the season most return to two per covey in the bag. For those of us that find 4 to 7 coveys a day we are typically harvesting one per covey. This one in the bag is to motivate the dogs. This creates the longer hunt with more point action. The dogs we found over the years are just as strong hunters on one in the bag per covey as any other harvest rate. The difference is with on per covey pointed and retrieved there are a lot more points in a day.
Anyone that tells us they regularly hunt 5 to 9 coveys in a day are suspect as that even 4 to 7 coveys with working singles will consume all available daylight.