Quail hunting: the forgotten gentleman’s sport
Good bird dogs, fine shotguns, and cool winter mornings come to mind when the conversation turns to quail hunting. In the deep south, this tradition rich sport conjures up pictures in one’s mind of that once in a lifetime covey rise compliments of a well trained English pointer or feisty Brittany spaniel. The crunch of the frost under foot serves as a wake up call for your senses as you follow behind the dogs with your favorite shotgun in tow. Fast shooting automatics, traditional side by sides, or the more popular, over and under models all feel like the were made for this and only this purpose in the field.
Conversations in the field always turn to hunts from the past or memories of that most special bird dog who could find quail where there were none to be found. Then it happens, all the world stands still as you gaze upon your dog in that classic pointing stance that says “I’ve got ‘em right here.” Each and every season that I hunt quail, I am always so taken with how beautiful that first point is that I wind up just a little late catching up with the little rockets we call bobwhite quail.
Quail here in East Texas, as well as all over the south, are becoming more difficult to find every season. Loss of habitat, fire ants, and other assorted predators deal heavy losses to the population each year. The numbers of young quail that survive each year to maturity are so low it makes you wonder how they make it all. Now, this is not a new problem for these birds; they have been in this kind of shape for some time now and they keep coming back. Quail are truly survivors by anyone’s standards.
The appreciation for these magnificent birds and the sport itself is what drives most quail hunters. Some are there to watch good dogs do what they were bred to do, others are there for the history and tradition of this style of hunting. In some parts of the south, they still have hunts where the hunters are taken to the field and follow the dogs while riding in horse drawn carriages. Most hunters now days follow a little more conventional routine by walking behind the dogs, what better way to observe and experience the hunt.
Each hunter has their own opinion about what dog or what gun is the best, to me as long as you enjoy the hunt everything else will take care of itself. This sport and style of hunting has become a dying art form that deserves to be revived. A grand and wonderful spectacle that has been around for many years and is steeped in tradition, the sport offers some of the most pleasing sights you will ever encounter as well as provide you with countless memories from which you may daydream.
If you ever thought you may be interested in this sport, you should give it a try. There are several places near here that offer guided hunts for wild and pen raised quail, this is just the perfect situation for someone who may be interested in this type of hunting. You will know right away if this sport is for you. After the first explosion of birds from the low grass and you are already wanting more, it will be very evident that you now are hooked on one of the grandest forms of hunting around. Trust me, you won’t be by yourself either!