Hunting for Huns

Hunting for Huns

Admiring Huns

About this time every year I post something about Huns.Usually its on a day off when I can kick back and reflect on the days that have slipped passed since arriving in Saskatchewan.

Crush Retrieves a Hun.

What excites me is watching the Dogs get their head back into the game… quickly.It sees the experienced dogs  remember how to deal with Huns, running big then cautiously slowing down as soon as they catch scent, the less expereinced blow through the coveys a couple of times then figure out that Huns cannot be pushed.

Mille and Patch Pointing Huns

The country is huge, subsequently some days are compared to “searching for a needle in a haystack” Pointing Dogs work best,flushers will get the job done  especially on road Coveys.Hunters need to cover the miles sometimes for little or no reward.

 

Covey Rise

Huns are notorious for screwing over Hunters.the last couple of days we watched dogs point and relocate for over 50 yards only for the birds to blow up behind the dog.On another find the birds ran  and flushed 30 yards out from the dog making for some long 40 yard shots.Then there is the speed at which Hungarian Partridge fly which is right around 40 MPH,twice as fast as any quail.I never seen anyone “miss” because they did not lead the birds.

Millie Pointing Huns

You need to put the time in to be rewarded with tight holding birds which does happen.

Crush Points a Yard Covey

Ask any Hun enthusiast why he or she pursues these great game birds and chances are the answer is all of the above.Bottomline is they are an underrated Quarry  that inhabits some pretty cool landscapes,most notably the Northern Plains.

A Hun and a SXS

Hun Gun

Millie sticks a yard covey

Final Shots in West Texas

Idaho Bill tears up the West Texas Desert

Our Arizona Quail Season will go down in the History Books as tough but rewarding.When it ended I needed to get out of Dodge and chill out with just my four legged Amigos.I always had it in for the Trans Pecos area of West Texas,maybe it has something to do with watching “No Country For Oldmen” to many times or rumors of great Blue Quail Hunting …knowing what I know about myself (which is not much)  it was a combo of the two. I made a call out to Ryan O’Shaughnessy owner of West Texas Quail Outfitters    based out of Alpine Texas.Ryan was very gracious about sharing his intel and made the intro to Bill Miller owner of the Historic 30,000 acre  CE Miller Ranch near Valentine Texas.

Desert Flora

Bill’s Ranch had everything I was looking for,lots of room to maneuver along with enough Blue Quail to keep things interesting.For two days the dogs and I hit it as hard as we wanted,despite the 70+ degree temps we always found plenty of  birds on our loops, classic “Cat and Mouse” Blue Quail Hunting with Covey’s ranging from 15 -50 Birds.It was a prefect way to shut down my Quail Season.At end of the two days that we hunted, dog’s pads where raw and they where tired,I’m still pulling cactus thorns out of my leg’s.Perfect.Until next season!

Scaled Quail and a Double Gun

Belle chilling in West Texas

A tired Milly

Scenes from West Texas

Honey Badger along for the ride

Kate getting it done

Belle and Kate checking out the Blue Quail they pointed

 

Mearns Quail Blues?

Mearns Quail Blues?

Mearns Qual Hunting can be challenging

A lot of recent Mearns Quail Hunting Reports would make for good Country and Western Songs.Other reports are a lot more up beat.The reality is the Sonoran Desert is not an easy place to Bird Hunt,Conditions are tough on both Hunters and Dogs yet some folks dont get that.Most will admit that Opening day was tough,I was going into previously scouted Canyons only to have unproductive points… a humbling experience.then on the  last loop of the  day “Patch”had  3 covey finds in 45 minutes. . .go figure.

Earned Birds

So what was going on ? How about hot dry weather coupled with lack of rain = piss poor scenting conditions.Some Say lack of Birds is to play but both realistically and biologically  the birds are there,afterall the Monsoon rains came and went with normal to above normal amounts of percip.Maybe a bumper year never happened because  the rains ended early ? who knows,the Jury is still out.Covey sizes generally seem healthy averaging 10 birds ,yet some folks feel they are light in numbers ?We  are not dealing with tight holding Mearns Quail as stated in the brochure, instead they have traded in their Loafers for Running Shoes and are moving away from the threat via running,so perhaps hunters are getting up bits and pieces of coveys.

covering a point

The recent rain helped out a lot with all the Mearns finding problems,which of course means dogs could now point then track or relocate to the running birds.The Hunting Pressure has also diminished as a lot of info out on the Interweb states that the hunting is tough.We like that.It keeps the Instant Gratification Hunters away leaving more space for the true “all about the experience”Hunters.Over the last few seasons Mearns Hunters have been spoiled,expectations have been set way to high and anyone that has hunted Mearns Quail long enough will tell that a 6-8 covey day is the norm,anything above that is a bonus.The lack of rain in future forecasts also means scenting conditions will return to tough.Steve Hopkins a long time Arizona Quail Hunting Guide stated that “if there is not frost on your windshield in the AM  you are going to be working for them”, he’s right as the frost is an indicator of how much humidity is in the air.

Mearns Country Scenery

Without going to off track a myth that is also floating out there  in Cyber Land is that somehow “that hunting is an additive to negative Mearns  Quail Reproduction” this myth is blown away by any Biologist.Better than that Born and Raised Patagonia Resident Bob Morrietta put it to me this way “If it rains we have birds,If it doesn’t we don’t know matter how many birds are harvested ” I’ll take Bob’s wisdom over anyone else’s any day of the week. Unlike some of the Mearns Experts that live elsewhere Bob is engaged in all things happening in Mearns Land via stringing fences,working cows and following his Shorthairs.He knows.Bob’s thoughts on this season are “the Mearns are out there,but maybe not as good as the last couple of years but its still pretty good.He’s Right.

Crush finally connects with a running covey

So there you have it my bird hunting friends,the skinny on whats going on.Keep your fingers crossed for rain and cooler temps and in the meantime tighten up your boots, put on your big boy or girl underwear, enjoy yourself and savor the moment.

Male Mearns Quail

 

Getting Ready for The Arizona Mearns Quail Season

Pointers Point while a Lab goes in for the flush

Mearns Quail Season opens in less than a week, this Friday to be exact.From what I have been seeing and the word from those in the know mainly Border Patrol Agents and Ranching Friends The season  should be pretty decent.Here in Patagonia the RV Park is starting to load up and our  normally sleepy little town is starting to develop its wintertime buzz of activity.

November Mearns Quail Sighting

Everyone is excited ,its all good.But  early season Hunters can expect tough conditions.It’s been hot ,dry and the grass is tall.The Birds are there but it will be hard on our Canine Companions.

Mearns Country Scenery

This will be a good year to checkout some non-traditional or Classic Mearns Quail Spots,Why ? we have been seeing birds at lower than normal elevations and away from any Oak Trees.Hunters  may want to check out areas that burned this past spring,you might be surprised.Have a great season – See you out there !

Kate and Idaho Bill on pointing Mearns Quail while Scalie Hunting

Scenes From The Borderlands

Century Plant

Besides the warm winters Arizona is home to some very spectacular and varied scenery.Personally I am partial to what I see on my adventures throughout the Borderlands which  encompasses the S.E. Corner of the State.It’s unique.It’s an area of the continent where the Rockies meet the Sierra Madre,The Region is referred to as “The Sky Islands ” or the Sierra Madre Occidental.For some of us fortunate enough to live in this sometimes harsh but breathtaking environment we get to call it home.

Yucca Plant

Mountains

Mountain Scenery

Looking south towards Mexico

Volcanic Rock outcroppings

Fall Colors

Grasslands

Evening light

Old Cattle Chute

Morning light

Desert Quail Hunt

Southern Arizona Scenery

Blue Quail Country

It was time to get serious and go out and actually hunt instead of just running dogs.This morning I loaded myself and 6 dogs up and off we went into Cochise County in search of Scaled Quail.I should have been out the door earlier so I could hunt in cooler temperatures ..oh well.The first dogs out of the Truck where Idaho Bill,Kate and Milly .

Kate and Idaho Bill on Point

Despite the crappy scenting conditions and the heat they did well.Scoring points on Out of Season Mearns Quail and a couple of coveys of Scaled Quail all on an hour long loop.

Fall Colors in The Desert

I switched out dogs and headed off in another direction only to get hosed by a Covey of Gambels Quail  ..Mission accomplished!  I can’t wait  until it cools off!

First Bird of the Season a “young of the year” Scaled Quail

Milly Backs Kate

Idaho Bill,Kate and Milly

 

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