2019 Desert Quail Hunt #1

I’ve hunted desert quail with Bob King at the Santa Fe Guiding Company several times and it has always had a great adventure. This time was no exception. Dot is my new Deutsch Drahthaar pup and is in her first full hunting season at 1 1/2 years old. She hunted ducks yesterday morning and now we’re headed to the desert for quail!

Travel Day – Dec 28, 2019

It took Dot 2 hours to finally settle down and realize she’s not going hunting today – we have a lot of travel to Truth or Consequences, NM.

Dot is napping and we’re passing through Fort Stockton into the desert and she’s going to wake up in an entirely different area than the pond that she hunted on Friday morning.

It’s cool to see the mountains again

I did not bring my drone and I already regret it.

There’s now a border patrol inspection station north of Las Cruces on I 25

Lots of big skies like this is in New Mexico

Arrive at Truth or Consequence, NM 4p. Travel Lodge this time.

Hunt Day 1 – Dec 29, 2019

Meet my guide Gary at 7:45 in the hotel breakfast area. We drove 1 hour South to the Farm along the Rio Grande in the Mesilla Valley. Snow on some of the taller mountains after last night’s moisture.

Saw my first covey of Gambles, about 25, as they flushed across the field into the canyons and we will hunt them later. I missed two easy ones because the safety on the Beretta 20 gauge is in the wrong place compared to my Benelli! 2 coveys, 2 shot Gambel, and Dot retrieved both. A Cripple and hidden dead.

Shot and retrieved one on the third loop

The mighty mighty Rio Grande River

Dot really hates road runners! Jump shooting gambles quail in the brush by the Rio Grande River is a unique sport. You can’t really expect dogs to point them as much as just kick them up for you to shoot. And even then you always have to look behind you and poke in every corner.

Big loop around camp while Gary fixes lunch

Lunch. Beans and tamales! Double tamale!

Loop 4 started when I saw a covey of 8 from the truck. We didn’t find them but jumped some others and Dot pointed a single but it ran.

Dot is enchanted by the desert.
Small loop off of a Quail covey on the road but no luck.
Last loop in arroyo but no luck.

3 shots. 3 retrieves, 1 point.


Dot is whooped

Hunt Day 2 – Dec 30, 2019

Hunting in the Gila Nat’l Forest east of T or C.

Near Hillsboro back up in the Gila Natl Forest foothills and canyons

Loop one zilch. Big Loop!

Loop 2 zilch. Even Bigger Loop!

Big country up here – very different than hunting the Rio Grande just 20m away.
There are many abandoned mines in NM & AZ

Elk fajita taco lunch. Delicious!

Loop 4 zilch.

I’m done because I’m stumbling.

Dot is also very tired and wanting to hunt from the road instead of get down in the canyons and look for birds. She covered a LOT of ground for me today while I watched her from the peaks.

My strategy of working her natural circling ability while I watch & direct is working well.  Hope she points long enough for me though!

I’ve never seen her curled up like that in the truck – tired pup! Mission Accomplished!


Gary is one of those guys you worry about driving behind!

Hunt Day 3 – Dec 31, 2019

Dot prefers to sleep on top of one of my pieces of clothing. Particularly my hunting jacket.

Back to the Mesilla Valley

Hunting along the Rio Grande again.

Loop 1 along river jumped 2 but no shot. Dot wanted some wet anyway.

Road covey zilch

Lots of tracks but no birds.

Big loop under dam. Lots of tracks but no birds. We went all the way around the mound and it turned into a sandy desert full of bunnies and Dot had a magnificent time!

Lunch at the dam. Red chili huevos rancheros. Excellent.

Ha-way is Tiwa for thank you

Last loop way above the dam had many many tracks but no birds

That is a tired skinny puppy! Three days running in the desert.

I’m slow road hunting on the way back but I don’t think I have enough dog power to retrieve a bird if I shot one.

There are lots of sandhill cranes in the Mesilla Valley. Fun to hunt!

You really must have turtle skins to hunt that thick nasty spiny brush along the river.

Sunset along the Rio Grande with no wind

You can see little cracks but no big injuries. She covered a lot of rough ground.

Mother Nature takes her toll on man & beast alike.

4p out and done. What a great trip and looking forward to coming back!