Quail Hunting: Getting Started
nights. By roosting in open fields, if disturbed by a predator at night, they can quickly flush without the chance of flying into overhead brush and limbs.
At first light, on clear, still mornings, quail often call from the roost. Depending on conditions, they then either fly or walk to an area where they feed. In harvested crop fields, such as corn, soybeans, or milo, quail quickly fill their crops with waste grain, at which time they move to brushy or wooded areas close by where they dust their feathers and loaf. Again, depending on conditions, quail move from protective cover in the afternoon to feed again before going to roost. If available, quail will drink standing water, but they can get all the water they need from drinking dew and using the water their bodies make when they digest food.
The equipment needed for quail hunting is fairly simple. You need a shotgun that is equipped with an open choke (cylinder, skeet, or improved cylinder). With birds flushing near you, quail shots are typically close, and you will need as wide a shot pattern as possible. Number 7½ or 8 shot is right for quail. It also pays to shoot as heavy a field load as you can find for your shotgun, which will give you a denser pattern along with the wide pattern of open chokes.
Quail hunting involves lots of walking, so invest in a high-quality pair of hunting boots. With all the walking, it’s also important to dress appropriately. That means go light. If you bundle up as you would for a cold day on the deer stand, you will end up sweat-soaked. With a little experience, you will find what’s comfortable for you.
A light game vest to carry your birds and shells will have enough pocket space for water and snacks. Buy one in hunter orange, so your hunting buddies and other hunters can see you. A hunter orange cap is a must, too. Sometimes all that is visible of a quail hunter is the top of his head as he makes his way through high cover.
Brush pants, designed to turn thorns, or a pair of chaps designed for the same purpose are another must when quail hunting. Hunts often require walking through briars. If you wear jeans, quail hunting will be a painful experience.
Memorable quail hunts can hinge