quail chicks to get around in, and escape cover for the quail to avoid predators.
This year I have found two coveys living in this spot, one of 12 birds on the north side, and one of about 20 birds on the south side. I’ve hunted the area seven times and taken a grand total of three quail. My dogs have pointed at least one of the coveys every time I hunted the place, but usually on the edge of the escape cover—the overgrown fencerows and the woodlots—and these spots were so thick that I had no way to raise my gun to shoot.
My strategy for hunt number eight is to bring a friend of mine, Mark Haas. Mark is a retired MDC fisheries biologist for our region and a longtime hunting and fishing buddy. At least if we get a point along the overgrown fence rows, one of us can be in good position to shoot when the other fights his way into the brush to flush the birds.
The weather for tomorrow is forecast to be clear with a low temperature in the 20s and highs in the mid-30s. About an inch of snow remains on the ground from a moderate snow a few days earlier. I tell Mark to meet me at my house at 8:30 a.m. and that we will hunt all morning and then have lunch at my house. Starting a little later in the morning should allow the snow and ground to thaw, which will be easier on my dogs’ feet.
The Buddy System
As always, Mark arrives right on time.
“How you doing, Mark!” he booms, over a big smile and a handshake. “Long time no see!”
That, of course, is a joke. Like Mark, I’m retired, and we hunt and fish together—lots. Our last quail hunt was a couple of days ago.
At our hunting spot, with guns uncased and loaded, I put my dogs at heel and begin the 200-yard walk to the area that holds quail. When we get there I release the dogs, and then watch them carefully. My dogs are pointers. As with most, they run hard and range out, often a couple hundred yards or more, particularly at the beginning of a hunt when they are brimming with energy. The east side of this cornfield, a little more than 200 yards away, is bordered by a state highway. It doesn’t see a lot of