Hunting For, and From, Memories
remember those spots.
Other subjects for your memory bank are water sources and hazards for the hunter or the hunting dog.
I carry water with me, but when I need it the most, in warmer weather, it’s hard to carry enough for myself and my dog. Plan your routes to include water sources for the dog and you can save the canteen water for yourself.
Hazards to remember include heavy patches of prickly plants, such as sand burs and cockleburs. These are less a problem for me than for my dog because the burs don’t stick in my feet, and my hunting clothes shed cockleburs more easily than her long coat. If I remember where those plants grow, I usually can skirt the worst trouble. I just hope we’re not dodging coveys, too.
Other natural hazards include steep bluffs, deepwater stretches of streams, or downed timber concealed in tall grasses.
A general decline in quail over the last 30 years may leave you wondering if you can find an area that supports a huntable quail population. Although the overall landscape contains fewer acres well-suited to quail, there are pockets of good habitat where hunters can find success. Your memories of quail-rich areas you’ve hunted before can help you identify characteristics to look for as you search for new areas to hunt.
Many conservation areas are managed for quail habitat, but recent weather history, hunting pressure, adjacent land use and other factors can influence the number of quail on the area. If you own land, you can incorporate quail-friendly management into your landscape by reproducing what you’ve seen where quail were plentiful, and by obtaining quail-management recommendations from your local Conservation Department office.
Through repeated visits to a productive area, familiarity with the land should make your hunts more satisfying. Instead of wandering an unknown landscape in search of good habitat, you’ll be checking sites that held game in the past.
You’ll find your sense of direction—not really a sense so much as a familiarity with the land—will improve as you learn the area’s landmarks. What you remember of past experiences in the area will mingle with your new experiences to form a bond with the place. You may even feel something akin to what our primitive hunting ancestors felt when they hunted the lands that were their home.
With a little luck, you’ll find more game, and your memories of hunting success will accumulate. After all, it’s the quest for memories of successful hunts that draws us back into the field, more so than meat for the table.