Quail Hunting Fixes
of shells every month. In late summer before dove season, I get more serious about practice. Over a two-week period, using a full choke to provide extra challenge, I’ll shoot a case of shells as I work on fundamentals. During dove season I will shoot another case or two of shells. This "practice" hones my shotgunning skills and leaves me ready for quail season.
The other reason many hunters miss quail relates to the choke, or muzzle constriction, of their shotgun barrel. During the quail season I enjoy the company of friends who like quail hunting, but they go only a few times a year. Their guns are choked for general purpose - modified - and they have a tough time hitting birds.
Shooting quail over pointing dogs is close-range business. Most shots are under 20 yards. Accordingly, chokes should be open. Improved cylinder is a favorite of many veteran quail hunters.
A few years back I bought a straight cylinder-bore choke tube for my 12 gauge to see what type of pattern I would get.
In comparison to the improved cylinder choke I had been using, the cylinder-bore choke - in combination with an ounce-and-a-quarter of 7 1/2 shot - provided a wider pattern and one that was just as dense out to 25 yards. This load and choke combination improved my quail success immediately.
Hunters who can’t find quail in Missouri need to look harder. Granted, density varies across Missouri. In some counties where fescue and clean fence rows predominate, quail may be limited to pockets of prime habitat, but birds are there.
Quail hunters who hunt frequently need many places to search for bobwhites. Once a covey is shot down to eight birds or so, the covey should be left alone to repopulate the area for the next year.
I quail hunt, on average, 40 times a season. That amount of hunting requires lots of hunting spots. So year-round, when in rural areas, I keep my eyes open for new places to hunt. I study county plat books, determine land ownership and ask permission to hunt. Some hunters feel uncomfortable about asking a stranger for permission to hunt, but it does no harm to ask, and often it’s the only way to get new places to hunt.
I do my best to honor the privilege of hunting someone else’s property. I don’t run my dogs through uncut crops; I ask landowners if they would