Some of my best quail hunts in Missouri have occurred in the last two years as quail populations have responded to habitat management and drier summers. On November 1, we chose to hunt one of the Department’s Quail Emphasis Areas (QEA) in Northwest Missouri where area managers have been rockin the habitat management and the quail have responded. I hunted with my son Andrew and a few of his coworkers. I like to hunt with bigger groups of dogs and people when hunting the vast amount of cover available on this particular QEA to more thoroughly cover the ground and keep the birds from running around us so easily.
I always like to get to my quail hunting spot in time to hear the coveys calling before shooting time if the weather works out. It always sends a chill down my spine when I hear the birds calling back and forth and it brings the dogs to attention! This season opener was no different, the weather worked out and we could hear at least 5 coveys calling with one covey just yards from us. A few pheasants added to the cacophony.
For Andrew’s coworker, John, this was his first hunt for wild quail and we gave him the proper taste of what a great quail hunt could be like. He bagged 4 birds and got hooked on wild quail hunting and pointing dogs! We hunted just after a few days of rain and so scenting conditions for the dogs was near perfect.
With the dogs pointing about a covey an hour Andrew thought it was the best quail hunt on public land he has ever had and his coworker John agreed. Lots of singles in between made for some great dog work and proud moments for some dog owners. It may be best to tell you how many birds we missed, instead of the number bagged, but I think I’d be made fun of either way!