Quail Hunting Fixes

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Published on: Oct. 2, 2000

Last revision: Nov. 5, 2010

Most quail-hunting problems stem from hunter mistakes and oversights. The four most common problems that quail hunters face afield involve dogs, equipment, shooting and locating birds. Let’s dive into each of these and identify solutions that will put more spring in your step, more birds in your bag and more smiles on your face.

Dog Dilemas

Quail hunters’ canine woes often start when hunters unknowingly pick a bird dog from the wrong bloodlines. This is one of the most serious errors a quail hunter can make, for an incompatible pedigree often ruins any chance of a good relationship developing between hunter and dog.

Genes serve as powerful influence over a bird dog’s actions, including the most important trait, how far a dog ranges. Some hunters prefer bird dogs that run far and wide in search of game, Others prefer dogs that hunt close. If hunter and dog are mismatched concerning this preference and trait, both hunter and dog will likely suffer.

Before purchasing an adult bird dog, a hunter should ask to see the dog hunt. If the dog hunts well and at a satisfactory range, it’s important to ask if the dog’s hunting style is more a reflection of its nature or of rigorous training. I prefer a dog that is genetically programmed to hunt my way.

When in the market for a bird dog pup, a hunter should buy out of a sire and dam that possess his or her preferred hunting style. By observing an eight-week-old pup, you can’t determine if it will have the hunting characteristics you want. If the parents hunt the way you like, however, chances are their pups will, too.

Pay less attention to a pup’s more distant relatives. Their traits are not likely to vitally important. A pup receives its genes directly from its parents, and those genes will affect a pup’s intelligence, scenting abilities and hunting style.

Regardless of breeding, bird dogs require training. Some hunters buy a pup and, when it is fully grown, think they should have a dog that will find birds, hold points and retrieve. It seldom works that way. To develop their instincts, bird dogs need time afield and training.

A hunter can take a dog to a reputable trainer and, after considerable expense, receive a dog ready to hunt. However, quail hunters must be schooled in how to handle a dog. No matter how well trained, dogs will test their owners. If allowed to

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