Quail hunting has often been called the aristocrat’s sport. Maybe it is because you are not required to get up before dawn and freeze in a blind for many hours before you can take your shot as in duck hunting.
Quail hunting is very much a gentleman’s game. It is often a participator and a spectator sport all at the same time. Usually a pair of hunters, along with a pair of bird dogs, are in the field together.
It can be one of life’s greatest experiences to watch you favorite pair of bird dogs run through the woods, chasing the scent of a bobwhite. Add to this mix your hunting buddy, and you have the makings of a great day of hunting.
You need to have the proper gear before you set out on your quail hunting expedition. Gortex or Camo boots are recommended, but in the south you may want to invest in a good pair of snake boots, since the rattlesnakes and the quail seasons often overlap and share the same habitat in the fall. Find a good pair of briar faced ‘brush’ pants. This way you don’t get poked by the briars and thorns. One of the quails favorite hiding places in the brush, briars, and thorns. You’ll need a vest to hold your shells and game and a hunter’s orange vest is essential. This type of hunting does not require camouflage. You must be able to be seen by the other hunters close to you. Quail are notorious for their unpredictable and crazy flight patterns. Each and every hunter needs to be able to see each other at all times.
You also need to have a shotgun that is best for quail hunting. You can use every gauge of shotgun from 410 to 12. It’s far more important to get the right choke and barrel length. You need a shorter barrel and a more open choke for quail hunting. A 26 inch barrel and a skeet choke are probably the best. The 20 gauge is probably the most common gauge, but the 28 gauge is gaining popularity too.
Most quail hunters will have a pair of dogs in the field with them. A second pair and a second hunter is good because each dog will see who can find the quail first. The first dog to locate a covey of quail will freeze or point. The second dog will honor the first dog by pointing at that dog.
This is when the fun starts. Here comes the covey flush. Be sure you know exactly where the other hunters are and practice very strict gun discipline. You need to approach the covey from behind the dogs, with your muzzle pointed skyward. The shotgun’s safety should remain on until you place the gun against your shoulder. As the two hunters approach the dogs, be sure you are in a straight line for the safety of both of you.
Never cross the midway point between you and the hunter on your side. This is dangerous. Don’t take shots at low flying quail either. This can cause you to lose one of your dogs. Be sure to practice good sportsmanship and gun safety to make your hunting experience truly unique.