Quail Hunting Fixes
that requires a lot of gear. A few items, however, might well be considered necessities.
On most hunts, even with well-trained dogs, hunters will need a leash. Most bird dogs have a rude streak. If a hunt starts close to a farmer’s house, bird dogs may urinate on the farmer’s flowers, defecate close to the front porch or do any number of equally inappropriate things. Discouraging such behaviors by way of commands is usually futile. Fresh out of their kennels, bird dogs are excited and prone to disobey. This is time for a leash.
A leash also has other uses. It offers control and safety for dogs when crossing roads and other hazards. It also provides a means of controlling a bird dog that has disobeyed a command.
For safety, every quail hunter should wear hunter or blaze orange. A hunter-orange cap should be the minimum. Visibility in thick cover is often poor, and blaze orange helps hunters keep track of one another. It’s a good idea to have an extra hunter-orange cap handy in case a hunting partner fails to bring one.
Aside from hunter orange, quail hunters have other specific clothing needs. Boots should be a special concern. Quality hunting boots are expensive, usually well over $100, but what you pay for is cushion, support and comfort - exactly what a quail hunter needs in footwear. On a half-day quail hunt, it’s common to walk six miles or more over rough and irregular terrain, and that can be tough on ankles and knees.
Walking generates a lot of heat, so quail hunters should dress as lightly as possible. On a typical winter day in Missouri, a long-sleeve sweat shirt, game vest, brush pants, hat and gloves provide for comfortable hunting. Going light on clothes also tends to improve shooting. On bitter, windy days when a hunter needs layers of clothes to stay comfortable, the bulkiness can lead to awkward and slow gun work.
For all-day hunts, food is another important concern. I’ve been on bird hunts where the dog work was poor, shooting was awful and equipment broke, but I’ve never had a bad lunch. Lunch offers an opportunity to sit back with buddies and recall the morning - to laugh over the bad shots and compliment the good, to console over poor dog work and brag over that which was admirable. It’s part of quail hunting - a fine sport made finer through thought, planning and work.