CPS Hunting Tales

Where Fellowship and Camaraderie lives: that place where the CPS membership values fun and good fellowship as the cement of the community
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by Thunktank » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:58 pm

durangopipe wrote:Zero was not the first dog I hunted over, but he was the first gun dog I came to know more than casually. I was lucky enough to meet him early in my experience as a bird hunter, when everything was so wonderfully new and exciting. The first quail I ever fired at was pointed by Zero. I missed it. Zero forgave me. That same day he pointed a pair of bobwhite where my friend Jack didn’t think bobwhite should be. Jack called Zero off that point, and the dog reluctantly obeyed. When the birds he had been pointing flushed wild, Jack said something I’ve heard repeated a dozen times since by good hunters with good dogs: “Every time I think I’m smarter than my dog he shows me it just isn’t so.”

Zero was a presence in the field. He had charisma. I don’t know how else to put it. He wasn’t like so many dogs who rush around madly. He ranged only wide enough to cover the ground that Jack wanted covered; unless, of course, Zero was following a hunch. Between Jack and Zero there was the same easiness you find in human hunting partners who have done this dance together for a long time. When Zero would scent a running bird he would trail just fast enough, no faster, and when he had the bird pinned, he would lock up on point, his tail flag flying, his forepaw or a hind foot lifted. His nose would take aim on the bird and the bird would stay put, almost always as if it knew the game was up.

I never saw Zero in his youth, when vigor and enthusiasm probably outweighed wisdom and experience, but I doubt it took him very long to communicate his profound authority to both birds and hunters. This is the stuff of character. Much of it can only be subtly refined with training. Sometimes I believe that the training of a bird dog has more to do with the handler learning the ways of his dog than the dog learning the ways of the handler. I’m glad I met Zero after he had matured; sad, to have hunted with him only one season before he died. I will always remember him as he was on the last day he hunted: steady, sure, confident, thorough. I can still see his slightly larger than average, a bit stockier than typical, English setter body strolling through the brush. I can see his square head held high, his nose working the air for scent. I can see his white coat and orange spots moving through the dappled light of a riparian glade as he worked a stream bottom. I will remember forever the orange glow of an afternoon on a ridgetop in the North Texas mesquite when it seemed the color of the landscape had been tinged with Zero’s radiant presence, that the setting sun seemed to reflect his orange brilliance and not the other way around.

If there was anything more appropriate for that wonderful creature to be doing than hunting Texas bobwhite in the mesquite, I don’t know what it might have been. If there is anything more beautiful, I haven’t seen it. If there is anything more natural, I cannot imagine it. He was bred for it. He was trained for it. He lived for it.

He died, when he could no longer do it.
Nice tale! I think my next tale will about my current dog who taught me a lesson one day.

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by Bloodhound » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:08 pm

This thread has reminded me that I bought a journal to record my hunts and fishing trips....It is blank...I need to sit down and write.
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by durangopipe » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:08 am

Thuntank wrote:I think my next tale will about my current dog who taught me a lesson one day.
Looking forward to it, Thunk.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by Thunktank » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:05 pm

The Dog Who Taught Me a Lesson

About five years ago, before the drought became critical and Valley Quail were still plentiful in Southern California's mountain foothills, I took my young dog to a local mountain pass for an afternoon hunt. He was only a year old and green at the time, but he knew the basics. He could quarter within shotgun range, he was very "birdy" and never lost a training pumper that I would hide for him to retrieve for me. But I didn't trust that he knew how to hunt yet. He also still enjoyed flushing tweety birds in addition to training pidgeons and the few Quail he has been exposed to so far. I didn't have much faith in him yet.

We got out of the truck to work a valley, more of a drainage ditch actually, I knew often held Valley Quail and had a guzzler nearby that provided water. In the 1950s and 60s the Department of Fish and Game placed these guzzlers throughout the desert regions liberally. These days, it is volunteers from conservation organizations that attempt to keep these aging guzzlers working, often at odds with the desires of the staff of the National Forest Service and BLM who also have other special interest groups trying to return the desert to pre-discovery shape.

As I hunted up the valley in the manner I usually do, the young dog worked ahead of me like I wanted him to. Very often in years past I would work the length of the raven where at the end, the quail in it would flush as the ground became very steep as my old black lab would push them faster than they could run. But as we got halfway up the valley my young spaniel suddenly started lagging on the right incline, quartering out of order in my opinion. I thought he was getting excited over the local tweety birds again. I kept calling him back to continue following my intended path.

Suddenly, he did the unexpected. He ran way back down to where he started his distraction at full speed. He flat out ignored my whistle and didn't even quarter. He didn't look back to make sure I was following or anything! This is major sin for a working spaniel to commit. I couldn't believe it! He went higher and higher up the side of the hill that was mostly bare of vegetation except for a small group of bushes in a tiny depression which is where he was headed straight for. As he approached the tiny thicket a huge covey of quail flushed out, flying in every direction. They were far out of range for me to shoot, but the dog looked down on me then. He ran no further, instead he waited for me to show him where I wanted to go next in pursuit of quail. That covey kept us busy for the rest of the afternoon. He didn't take off again, but I paid close attention to his tail. It acts as a sign to tell me if quail are near. If they were, I followed him. He usually knew, though occasionally he still got side tracked with tweety birds. We ended up with a few birds that day. I learned to have more faith in my dog. I learned to let him lead when he started acting extra birdy. I learned that the tail wags just a little faster with game birds.

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by durangopipe » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:48 pm

Thunk wrote:I learned to have more faith in my dog. I learned to let him lead when he started acting extra birdy. I learned that the tail wags just a little faster with game birds
Yup!
You don't have to say it, it's obvious--I'm sure that pup turned out to be a helluva bird dog.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by Hovannes » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:21 pm

The Beer Dog

I hunted over a friend's young whippet once. I'd never hunted over whippet before---an incredibly well trained pup that set and retrieved and the coolest thing was when his owner signaled, he'd dash off, jump into the bed of his Durango 4x4, nose open the Igloo cooler and retrieve a can of beer and meet us as we walked back to the trucks. The pooch brought each of us a cold one this way. 8)

He preferred feathers and ice cold aluminum over fur though.
At the end of a day's hunting I shot a big jack rabbit and the whippet shot into action---first bowling over the already dead hare (his owner explained that since he was a smaller dog---whippets aren't large---the spurs on cock pheasants taught him to be extra cautious when retrieving. Then he picked up the hare, dropped it and gave me a dirty look. His master laughed---the pooch had been trained on birds and this was his first rabbit---he wasn't used to picking up furry critters. After repeating the command, the whippet grudgingly made the retrieve.
Then with our hunt over he brought us the beers.
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by JimVH » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:08 pm

Hovannes wrote:The Beer Dog

I hunted over a friend's young whippet once. I'd never hunted over whippet before---an incredibly well trained pup that set and retrieved and the coolest thing was when his owner signaled, he'd dash off, jump into the bed of his Durango 4x4, nose open the Igloo cooler and retrieve a can of beer and meet us as we walked back to the trucks. The pooch brought each of us a cold one this way. 8)

He preferred feathers and ice cold aluminum over fur though.
At the end of a day's hunting I shot a big jack rabbit and the whippet shot into action---first bowling over the already dead hare (his owner explained that since he was a smaller dog---whippets aren't large---the spurs on cock pheasants taught him to be extra cautious when retrieving. Then he picked up the hare, dropped it and gave me a dirty look. His master laughed---the pooch had been trained on birds and this was his first rabbit---he wasn't used to picking up furry critters. After repeating the command, the whippet grudgingly made the retrieve.
Then with our hunt over he brought us the beers.
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by durangopipe » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:21 pm

Hovannes wrote:The Beer Dog

I hunted over a friend's young whippet once. I'd never hunted over whippet before---an incredibly well trained pup that set and retrieved and the coolest thing was when his owner signaled, he'd dash off, jump into the bed of his Durango 4x4, nose open the Igloo cooler and retrieve a can of beer and meet us as we walked back to the trucks. The pooch brought each of us a cold one this way. 8)

He preferred feathers and ice cold aluminum over fur though.
At the end of a day's hunting I shot a big jack rabbit and the whippet shot into action---first bowling over the already dead hare (his owner explained that since he was a smaller dog---whippets aren't large---the spurs on cock pheasants taught him to be extra cautious when retrieving. Then he picked up the hare, dropped it and gave me a dirty look. His master laughed---the pooch had been trained on birds and this was his first rabbit---he wasn't used to picking up furry critters. After repeating the command, the whippet grudgingly made the retrieve.
Then with our hunt over he brought us the beers.
Sounds like a great dog.
Whippets for birds is a new one for me.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by Hovannes » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:32 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Hovannes wrote:The Beer Dog

I hunted over a friend's young whippet once. I'd never hunted over whippet before---an incredibly well trained pup that set and retrieved and the coolest thing was when his owner signaled, he'd dash off, jump into the bed of his Durango 4x4, nose open the Igloo cooler and retrieve a can of beer and meet us as we walked back to the trucks. The pooch brought each of us a cold one this way. 8)

He preferred feathers and ice cold aluminum over fur though.
At the end of a day's hunting I shot a big jack rabbit and the whippet shot into action---first bowling over the already dead hare (his owner explained that since he was a smaller dog---whippets aren't large---the spurs on cock pheasants taught him to be extra cautious when retrieving. Then he picked up the hare, dropped it and gave me a dirty look. His master laughed---the pooch had been trained on birds and this was his first rabbit---he wasn't used to picking up furry critters. After repeating the command, the whippet grudgingly made the retrieve.
Then with our hunt over he brought us the beers.
Sounds like a great dog.
Whippets for birds is a new one for me.
I'd never even seen a whippet before then. The beer retrieving trick made quite an impression on us!
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by durangopipe » Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:47 pm

This one's especially for Hugodrax who, I know, is burned out on hotshot, too cool for school, rude city people.

It's a true story--an excerpt from a book I'm working on tentatively titled, Rivers and Fields of Plenty. This is an excerpt from a chapter called, Norman Rockwell comes to Pretty Prairie. I might add, that the young man mentioned in the piece (Steven Stucky) is the best wingshot I've ever seen. He's now in his 30s, married with two children. When he was in middle school, I saw him shoot a double on a bobwhite covey rise with a single-shot .410. He had an extra shell between the fingers of his right hand. When the birds broke, he quickly downed one, kept swinging as he opened the gun slammed in the extra shell, closed the gun and dropped the other.

(Any non-CPS browsers who are thinking about claiming it as their own, know that this is copyrighted material, previously mailed to my editor and dated well before you thought you might use it wherever. I post it here for friends.)



. . . the other day I was driving to the river through miles of juniper, piñon and sage when a very interesting story came on the radio.

Sometimes I listen to the news. That morning I was plucked out of the sagebrush by a totally unexpected human interest story. The interviewer on National Public Radio was talking on the phone with a polite young man who would be taking two girls to his high school homecoming dance. The young man in question was going to be crowned homecoming king that evening at a small, rural school in Kansas. The boy’s senior class was tiny, and there were not enough boys to go around. In a town this small, the young man explained, all the kids were friends and nobody wanted to be left out, so he was going to escort two young ladies to this most important of teenage social events. After a little probing we discover that this well-spoken, interesting young man is the star of his high school football and basketball teams, and that he will be going to college on a track scholarship the coming fall. In the middle of a drive to the trout-filled water of the San Juan, I found myself listening to an interview with the extraordinary kid who had shared the pheasant and quail filled fields of Pretty Prairie with me. The slightly shy, extremely polite, wonderfully articulate, humble student-athlete on the radio that morning was Steven Stucky.

I could see his face as he spoke. He’d probably been out chorin’ only moments before, sloppin’ the hogs before talking to the nation. His cheeks must surely still have been red from the cold. His bright eyes would have been full of excitement. I imagined that his mouth was smiling that warm Stucky smile, more on one side than the other. Steven was no dummy. He surely knew how odd, how quaint, all of this must have sounded to the average Morning Edition listener.

Every now and then life hands a storyteller an event so unbelievable that he is afraid to tell it. Last year when we were in Pretty Prairie, Richard’s favorite dog, a German Shorthair named Tip, developed a nasty ear infection. Although she was in no shape to go hunting, Richard just didn’t have the heart to leave her behind when we drove off so he put her in the box and took her along. Once we were in the field, he didn’t have the heart to leave her in the box, so he hunted her. We got into birds pretty quickly that morning, and Tip, after being birdy for a little while in a field of milo, locked up on point. But her balance was poor, owing to the ear infection, and she fell over, still pointing. Now, if that wonderful dog’s name had been Bubba, you could tell the story without anybody wondering if maybe you were making it up, but Tip? A dog named Tip falling over locked up on a point, it’s just too coincidental. But it happened, I swear it. And now this story about Steven taking two girls to the homecoming dance—it’s just too damn cute to be believed. Kind of like a Norman Rockwell painting.

I can see that painting now. It’s the October illustration on a farmer’s co-op calendar. The oils have been applied carefully. The colors are autumnal, full of the earth, like the browns and soft red-ambers of the Kansas fall when it happened. A farm boy, uncomfortable in his fancy duds (I imagine that his bow tie is askew), has a cute, strawberry-blonde farm girl in tow. He is holding her hand, standing on the porch of a plain, white farmhouse. The house’s paint is weather-worn and chipped. The girl in tow is wearing a big, pink corsage. She’s also wearing a huge, toothy grin. Her face is covered with orange freckles. Her dress is fancy, but obviously homemade. The boy has his other hand extended toward a partially opened screen door. Inside, another girl, this one with black hair, is smiling bashfully, her eyes are cast down toward the floor as she holds the door open for him. He is holding a second pink corsage out to her, and he looks like the cat that just ate the canary.

Now, if you’re an urbane, contemporary person this scene will be just too saccharine to swallow. You’ll slam the book shut, and start wailing in pain. But if you’re like me, you kind of like it. The fact that it actually happened isn’t my fault, honest.

The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by hugodrax » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:12 pm

durangopipe wrote:This one's especially for Hugodrax who, I know, is burned out on hotshot, too cool for school, rude city people.

It's a true story--an excerpt from a book I'm working on tentatively titled, Rivers and Fields of Plenty. This is an excerpt from a chapter called, Norman Rockwell comes to Pretty Prairie. I might add, that the young man mentioned in the piece (Steven Stucky) is the best wingshot I've ever seen. He's now in his 30s, married with two children. When he was in middle school, I saw him shoot a double on a bobwhite covey rise with a single-shot .410. He had an extra shell between the fingers of his right hand. When the birds broke, he quickly downed one, kept swinging as he opened the gun slammed in the extra shell, closed the gun and dropped the other.

(Any non-CPS browsers who are thinking about claiming it as their own, know that this is copyrighted material, previously mailed to my editor and dated well before you thought you might use it wherever. I post it here for friends.)



. . . the other day I was driving to the river through miles of juniper, piñon and sage when a very interesting story came on the radio.

Sometimes I listen to the news. That morning I was plucked out of the sagebrush by a totally unexpected human interest story. The interviewer on National Public Radio was talking on the phone with a polite young man who would be taking two girls to his high school homecoming dance. The young man in question was going to be crowned homecoming king that evening at a small, rural school in Kansas. The boy’s senior class was tiny, and there were not enough boys to go around. In a town this small, the young man explained, all the kids were friends and nobody wanted to be left out, so he was going to escort two young ladies to this most important of teenage social events. After a little probing we discover that this well-spoken, interesting young man is the star of his high school football and basketball teams, and that he will be going to college on a track scholarship the coming fall. In the middle of a drive to the trout-filled water of the San Juan, I found myself listening to an interview with the extraordinary kid who had shared the pheasant and quail filled fields of Pretty Prairie with me. The slightly shy, extremely polite, wonderfully articulate, humble student-athlete on the radio that morning was Steven Stucky.

I could see his face as he spoke. He’d probably been out chorin’ only moments before, sloppin’ the hogs before talking to the nation. His cheeks must surely still have been red from the cold. His bright eyes would have been full of excitement. I imagined that his mouth was smiling that warm Stucky smile, more on one side than the other. Steven was no dummy. He surely knew how odd, how quaint, all of this must have sounded to the average Morning Edition listener.

Every now and then life hands a storyteller an event so unbelievable that he is afraid to tell it. Last year when we were in Pretty Prairie, Richard’s favorite dog, a German Shorthair named Tip, developed a nasty ear infection. Although she was in no shape to go hunting, Richard just didn’t have the heart to leave her behind when we drove off so he put her in the box and took her along. Once we were in the field, he didn’t have the heart to leave her in the box, so he hunted her. We got into birds pretty quickly that morning, and Tip, after being birdy for a little while in a field of milo, locked up on point. But her balance was poor, owing to the ear infection, and she fell over, still pointing. Now, if that wonderful dog’s name had been Bubba, you could tell the story without anybody wondering if maybe you were making it up, but Tip? A dog named Tip falling over locked up on a point, it’s just too coincidental. But it happened, I swear it. And now this story about Steven taking two girls to the homecoming dance—it’s just too damn cute to be believed. Kind of like a Norman Rockwell painting.

I can see that painting now. It’s the October illustration on a farmer’s co-op calendar. The oils have been applied carefully. The colors are autumnal, full of the earth, like the browns and soft red-ambers of the Kansas fall when it happened. A farm boy, uncomfortable in his fancy duds (I imagine that his bow tie is askew), has a cute, strawberry-blonde farm girl in tow. He is holding her hand, standing on the porch of a plain, white farmhouse. The house’s paint is weather-worn and chipped. The girl in tow is wearing a big, pink corsage. She’s also wearing a huge, toothy grin. Her face is covered with orange freckles. Her dress is fancy, but obviously homemade. The boy has his other hand extended toward a partially opened screen door. Inside, another girl, this one with black hair, is smiling bashfully, her eyes are cast down toward the floor as she holds the door open for him. He is holding a second pink corsage out to her, and he looks like the cat that just ate the canary.

Now, if you’re an urbane, contemporary person this scene will be just too saccharine to swallow. You’ll slam the book shut, and start wailing in pain. But if you’re like me, you kind of like it. The fact that it actually happened isn’t my fault, honest.

Thanks, sir. I've told you before, but you really, really, write well.
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by durangopipe » Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:17 pm

Thank you for the kind words, drax.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by sweetandsour » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:30 am

Leaving for south Texas on a quail hunt this morning. Dove season is back open now also. I've got a couple of Christmas cigars packed, along with a tin of SPC Plum Pudding, an oz of Russ Blend Cherry Cordial, and a couple (or 4) airplane bottles of JD.

In a few mins I'll get Lizzy into her crate, go pick up my 88 yr old hunting partner, then a 54 year old friend (the youngster in our group) and his pup "Daisy", and head south.

I hope to get some pics of the 88 year old shooting a wild quail, with Lizzy on point. That would be great.
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by JimVH » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:37 am

sweetandsour wrote:Leaving for south Texas on a quail hunt this morning. Dove season is back open now also. I've got a couple of Christmas cigars packed, along with a tin of SPC Plum Pudding, an oz of Russ Blend Cherry Cordial, and a couple (or 4) airplane bottles of JD.

In a few mins I'll get Lizzy into her crate, go pick up my 88 yr old hunting partner, then a 54 year old friend (the youngster in our group) and his pup "Daisy", and head south.

I hope to get some pics of the 88 year old shooting a wild quail, with Lizzy on point. That would be great.
I hope y'all have a great trip, Tim.

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by hugodrax » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:23 am

JimVH wrote:
sweetandsour wrote:Leaving for south Texas on a quail hunt this morning. Dove season is back open now also. I've got a couple of Christmas cigars packed, along with a tin of SPC Plum Pudding, an oz of Russ Blend Cherry Cordial, and a couple (or 4) airplane bottles of JD.

In a few mins I'll get Lizzy into her crate, go pick up my 88 yr old hunting partner, then a 54 year old friend (the youngster in our group) and his pup "Daisy", and head south.

I hope to get some pics of the 88 year old shooting a wild quail, with Lizzy on point. That would be great.
I hope y'all have a great trip, Tim.
This.
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by durangopipe » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:24 pm

After a long and very worrisome spell of declining quail populations in south Texas, I hear the past few years have been great!
Have a wonderful trip.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by FredS » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:59 pm

I've been hunting for 40 years and I don't think I've ever heard of a good year for quail populations.

Too dry.
Too wet.
Too hot.
Too cold.
Early spring.
Hard winter.
Too many hunters.
Not enough cover.
Not enough feed.
Too many predators.
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hugodrax
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by hugodrax » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:13 pm

FredS wrote:I've been hunting for 40 years and I don't think I've ever heard of a good year for quail populations.

Too dry.
Too wet.
Too hot.
Too cold.
Early spring.
Hard winter.
Too many hunters.
Not enough cover.
Not enough feed.
Too many predators.
Be glad they aren't ruffed grouse.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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durangopipe
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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by durangopipe » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:24 pm

hugodrax wrote:
FredS wrote:I've been hunting for 40 years and I don't think I've ever heard of a good year for quail populations.

Too dry.
Too wet.
Too hot.
Too cold.
Early spring.
Hard winter.
Too many hunters.
Not enough cover.
Not enough feed.
Too many predators.
Be glad they aren't ruffed grouse.
For decades, Texas always had stupendous quail hunting--bobwhites in the east, scalies in the west, and in the middle, both. I was lucky enough to have access to two Texas leases back then. The more eastern one just west of Wichita Falls was good, but the one in the southern panhandle (about 60 miles northwest of Abilene, 10 miles north of Rotan--in the middle of nowhere) was incredible.

I'm hoping someone else on the forum hunted there then, too, and will confirm this. On a typical day you would never know how many conveys you put up because you were always into large coveys. You couldn't keep track. Coveys typically held 30-40 birds when I was down there in November, somewhat smaller by January. We would often bust several coveys while walking toward the singles scattered from a previously pointed covey.

Jack and I loved to work our dogs on singles, and would often pass on coveys pointed and busted while hunting up singles.

Then, sometime in the late nineties, the birds practically disappeared. And it was, as you said, Fred. A million reasons given--all of yours plus extended drought (lack of cover) and fire ants!

Then, a couple of years ago, the birds made a comeback

Jack passed on this year. My days of hunting his leases are over. But I will never forget my times there with him. And I won't shut up about "the good old days," no matter how much my son chuckles when I do. Because, dammit, they were. And my granddaughters eyes get big when I do.

I am prone to the same thing when talking about trout fishing the Dolores River in the lower canyons 30 years ago. Now there was a by God trout stream! Accent on the was.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

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Re: CPS Hunting Tales

Post by Thunktank » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:01 pm

Objectively speaking there are "good years" and "bad years" for quail (and most other upland game birds). Five plus years ago, it was still "good" around here for Valley Quail which is the most accessible game bird for me. It was common to walk up two or three large covey which would be more than enough birds to hunt the rest of the day. Now there are only a few small covey left, mostly in people's back yards. We are starting to get some rain here this year. Just maybe a couple of years of this they will come back. Next year I must plan to travel if I want to hunt birds worth my while. Northern California, northern Nevada and eastern Arizona all faired better for their own respective species. Chukar and Mearns quail are being serious considered for next season.

A few weeks ago I went hunting Gambles quail in the Imperial Valley, California. They had a small hatch but the drought is still serious. I did find three small coveys and a pheasant down there. The pheasant was taken just 50 yards from me, hunters from the other road across the field saw it two. I yielded to him when we started getting to close. Rednecks are rude bastards. As soon as I turned around he shot the pheasant my dog probably pushed his way.

The three covey of quail could not be hunted. One covey was hunkered down within 150 yards of a cattle feeding building, one covey was on posted land and the final covey found refuge in a big tree that was protected by 1.5 inch long thorns. They ran across the dirt road in front of my truck into it. My spaniel looked into that bushy tree all happy and excited, he looked at me too as though he was telling me that they were inside but he wasn't about to go in there. I wouldn't have let him if he tried. I tried everything. I threw rocks and wood into it. I walked around it several times too. I even tried waiting them out. Nope, they were educated. :lol:

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