Monday, December 27, 2010

The Bird of the Bible

 Ex 16:13: "And it came to pass at even, that the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the camp."

Its really hard to explain to people who have never experienced wild southwestern quail hunting, the sheer " size" of everything. From the sights of the picturesque landscapes you have the pleasure of viewing while taking a second to catch your breath, to the massive size of the groups of valley quail. Unlike their brethren  they sometimes overlap cover with, the chukar, valley quail coveys are shocking to most who have never hunted west of the continental divide. It's not uncommon to witness groups number in the hundreds, and that happened three times yesterday in out day after Christmas hunt.
We got a late start as one of our group forgot to purchase his upland stamp from the state of California. A quick stop at a local sporting good store cured that problem and we were off, reaching our destination around 11 AM.
It didn't take long. Before we even got to our gate of private property we had permission on, we saw approximately 20 birds running off the road. As is usually the case, the birds you see are only the tip of the iceberg. We quickly threw our gear on and gave chase. These birds knew what they were doing,  one alarm call, and the group quickly took flight. They also gained as much altitude as they could, making our job a lot tougher. We did manage to scratch a few out of the group, but decided to push on to  some other spots that had always produced.
The recent torrential rains had really done a number on the roads. This area has received approx 7 inches of rain in the last two weeks, causing flash floods and washing away roads making it look like a universal studios theme ride. This caused us to make some alterations to our plans as some of our favorite spots were simply impassible.
Ryan and I decided on a spot that took a lot more effort, but has always produced for us in the past. A perfect mixture of grass, water, rocks, and pinion trees. Pictured:
It didn't disappoint.
Within 15 minutes we were covered in quail, so much so, that all three of us completely split up and spent the next two hours not only hearing our own shotgun blasts , but also our friends.  What a special place this is, I'll never forget it.
Do you think it's a coincidence that desert quail are mentioned in the bible? I don't, their that special!

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