I’m a huge fan of a quail hunt – North Texas Quail Hunt, Central Texas or South Texas – they all have their distinct advantages. Very little can compare to the essence of a great quail – a walk in the pastures with your favorite pointing dog and a good friend. I live in Central Texas and prefer to quail hunt near Austin Texas. Unfortunately, the agricultural practices, along with a host of other reasons, have virtually eliminated the quail in Central Texas.
Quail Hunts in South Texas
Quail Hunts in South Texas are some of the best but they vary widely year to year. The South Texas quail population is heavily dependent on large scale habitat management and the weather for nesting and brooding success. The quail hunts in South Texas are particularly unique in that the brush cover is typically very thick and it is not uncommon for a rider on horseback to out perform some of your best pointing dogs.
Quail Hunts in Austin Texas
Quail Hunts near Austin Texas are most typically pen-raised quail hunts. There just aren’t many wild birds left in this area – primarily due to fence-to-fence farming which eliminates the brushy fence rows that quail seem to love so much. Pen raised quail hunts aren’t bad if you take them for pen-raised quail hunts and not a wild quail hunt. They provide a wonderful opportunity for a great time with your friends, a relatively easy hunt with an almost guaranteed bag at the end of the day. They just aren’t wild bird hunts and shouldn’t be compared to them.
North Texas Quail Hunt
North Texas Quail Hunts are unique as well. A quail hunt in North Texas is characterized by covering huge amounts of ground. These quail hunts require a large team of large dogs just to cover enough ground to find enough birds. I prefer walk hunting over ride hunting and working closer with my Brittany. To hunt like this in North Texas, I have to be very selective about the places I hunt to insure that they have adequate cover within a reasonable area to find birds – don’t want to annoy the dog! North Texas is also going to provide the opportunity to hunt blue quail.
Bird Dog Training Supplies
Off season training for pointing dogs is important. Here’s why. Steady to wing and steady to shot are critical behaviors that will protect your dog from being harmed. Steady to wing means that your dog will stay on point even after the bird has flushed. This prevents the dog from jumping up in front of a flushing bird and potentially getting a load of shot as the hunter snaps to the bird. Steady to shot is important so that the dog can see and mark multiple birds when they are hit. It’s not uncommon to bring down more than one bird from a covey and a dog that runs after the first bird shot will have to spend a lot of time and wasted energy finding any remaining birds. I recommend the Bird Slinger and a starter pistol from Lion Country Supply for training your dog in the off season. You can load it with pen raised quail or pigeons if you can’t find any quail.
Practice Before You Go on a North Texas Quail Hunt
Practice makes perfect and when you’re hunting quail, you’re going to need some practice. Trap and Skeet clubs offer an excellent opportunity to get the practice you need before you go on a Texas quail hunt. Consider the trap range for the best practice for hunting quail. I’ve found that shooting a couple of boxes for a couple of weeks before the season starts really helps me perfect my gun mount. Don’t shoot trap like the “trap shooters” shoot trap! Competitive trap shooters mount their guns before calling for the clay target to be released. This won’t work out in the field – your arms will be exhausted. Practice trap just like you would walk through the field – with your gun open and carried at your side. The motion of mounting a gun is where more than 50% of your accuracy can be found – or lost.
Raising Wild Quail in a Surrogator
Since we don’t have any/many birds for quail hunts near Austin Texas, I’ve taken on a project with a Surrogator to raise and release quail for hunting. You can follow my adventures at www.raisingwildquail.com. I’m in the process of restoring a wild breeding population of bobwhite quail for hunting in Central Texas. I am also hearing of success from people using them to restore North Texas Quail Hunt.