On opening morning of the 2012 quail season we pulled our truck up alongside the field we intended to hunt. It was about 30 minutes before shooting time. We arrived early enough to listen for the covey calls as the birds awoke from the chilly night. At about 15 minutes before sunrise, in the still of the morning the coveys started sounding off, one by one. We were surrounded by quail. The hair stood up on the back of my neck as my son Andrew commented how lucky we were that they were not zombies or we would be in deep trouble! I was hunting with Andrew and several of his coworkers at Poosey Conservation Area near Chillicothe and I had not heard that many birds calling in many years.
As daylight swept through the landscape, I could see why there were birds on the area. The area managers had done a bang up job on the habitat on the area and the quail had responded with the dry weather we experienced in 2012.
When shooting time hit we ran into our first bird within 3 minutes of leaving the road. Andrew's dog, Chief, locked up on point. Andrew shot the bird and Chief retrieved it, a perfect start for the young dog to the 2012 quail season.
Andrew was really nervous that Chief would not hold a point or just run amok in the field, scaring birds and ruining the first hunt of the season. His concerns were ill-founded. Chief acted like he knew what he was doing and amazed his new owner, as well as the owner’s father. Chief is not afraid to get in the brush, he holds a point, quarters and retrieves just like the book says he should. Chief must have read the book, too.