2019 Desert Quail Hunt #2

Jan 29, 2020

Away by 730. No easy way via Google maps. Fredricksburg to Del Rio to Marathon is better than I10. Fed and ran Dot first but dog farts.

Arrived with enough daylight to scout a little

Scouting. Lol. I just got back to camp 4 by 5 PM. This place is huge!

And it’s rugged as all hell – walking is going to be very tough

Depart HQ @ 520. Just missed javelina crossing the road at Stillwell. It’s always a bit weird to come back here. Temps drop fast in the desert. 15 deg w sunset and rise to Alpine. Check in but no coffee machine so nought one $20 at grocery store.
Todo – Download onX maps, Prep all cam batteries, Shop lunch, PDF detail map on iPad, Decode paper map

We just scratched the surface.

Jan 30, 2020

6a wake but lazy and delay leaving until 8. Got taco and bread. Out of Alpine @ 820. 32 and foggy. Download onX for Black Gap!

Javelinas running for cover

Javelinas on the road again. Arrive HQ by 10. Bird watchers said they saw a covey near camp 14. Going there first. Dump out loop. Drive and spot. Big Valley near Dell and Camp 14. 20m Loop around camp 14. Brutal hard walking on BBNP lava burp rocks. Another big valley south after bad ass climb. Loop near sheep pen. Driving loop near sheep pen. 1230 Dog farts even with windows open! Hunted a road covey in the pass. Uphill. Stalked and shot on flush. Missed. Searched but couldn’t find again. Steep hillside

Travel from HQ to the river requires going over at least 1 pass like this.

Lunch and drone flight at primitive camp on Rio Grande. Out at 245. Driving loop past camp 8 and back to HQ at 5PM.

Loma Linda, MX in the sunset.

Nothing at the End of the Road. International Bridge Closed Permanently

That’s a long road to one guy’s house. Gets dark in Black Gap early behind BBNP. 2 big loops with Dot and she didn’t have dog power for quail on the hill. No loops just drive. Hunting the desert is humbling in many ways. Size, time, scarcity, survival, and distance.

Lots of slow driving and looking

Jan 31, 2020

Out by 730. Cold and sun slow to rise.

Glamour photo at the faux Target between Marathon and Alpine, TX.

There are many strange animals in Texas.

This is the Actual Black Gap.

Dump loop at Camp 7. 40 deg cold but perfect w scattered clouds. Big covey in canyon stream hills south of camp 14. Right turn 50 birds split 3 ways up, around and down the canyon. Went up first Shot 2 Hit 1 Retr 0. Searched around but only found a single. Searched downstream and jumped covey again. Shot and missed. Missed again on late near birds. Pay attention!

From the top where I shot and you can see my truck in the upper left corner.

The second covey had the grace to bust in flatter ground but they still beat me.

With the exception of the East TX bird watchers, nobody else is here!

Lunched and droned at Primitive Camp 3-4

Rio Grande River near Black Gap WMA

1p Offward! Big horn sheep area turn around !

Approximately 1/3 of the WMA is off-limits to hunting for Desert Bighorn Sheep preservation projects.

Bighorn sheep blocked at camp 23. Makes sense. 230 Covey on old high road between Camps 23 & 13. Cliffside and went up, then over and around. Video of this hunt and shot. 1 shot and a miss. Droned from a water collection source between Camps 23 & 13. 315 onward to Camp 10/11. Seems too grassy up here but could be wrong. Tight canyon they like. Bighorn blocked again at water before Camp 12. 345

I’m the only one here today

I’m the only one here today. It’s a good reason to only hunt weekdays. Up to camp 8/9. 4p Road through arroyo Seco up to camp 9 is too brushy.

Too many scratches on my truck to go this way.

Examples of my attempts to hunt on foot.
I call these Lava Burps from BBNP just west of here.

15 m loop to find a late bird. No luck. Pooped out at 525 and de-registered at Black Gap HQ.

Similar to yesterday but the next canyon over.
The evening drive in sunset is enchanting.

Highway covey still out at 615! Perry diner, groceries and Home @ 730

Feb 1, 2020

Out w taco by 845. Big loop through Marfa and Presidio to scout Gambles and then into Elephant Mountain late pm. Marfa lights stop.

What don’t they want you to know?

Onward at 930. Rio Grande pics near Candelaria.

Rio Grande surprisingly wide near Candelaria, TX.

Candelaria at 1145 and End of the Road (paved).

Rugged Rio Grande river valley near Lajitas, TX

Gamble covey on the road just north of Riudosa and Chianti Hot Springs. OnX waypoint but no owner data. Canyons are like Rio Grande Gamble canyons in NM. Blue quail road covey saved at onX waypoint. San Jacinto Enterprises. Presidio at 1p. Jumped a time zone in there somewhere.

Early Bluebonnets but I bet these are more likely Mountain Lupines.

Blowout flat right-front tire. No cell service. Alpine 45 miles away. Spare flat too! One car passed. Second car stopped! Jeep guy pumped me up! 445 restart.

Elephant Mountain WMA

Alpine at 530. No open tire stores.

A handy 12v compressor from Tractor Supply!

Feb 2, 2020

Spare held at 32 psi overnight. Blessings! Out at 930. 1030 @ Sanderson 40# good! Ranch at 330 out at 445 to home.