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Quail hunting may be a thing of the past #7995000 10/01/20 09:47 PM
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Lots of birds in the "old days" ---- then some good years , some not so good,,, then 6 or 8 yrs of nearly no quail in the state,,, 4 or 5 yrs ago the birds came back with a vengeance -- hunters having 30 covey days ----- that was good for 2 yrs, then began to wane --------- last year very few hunters had good hunts ,,, lots of the quail leases only let you hunt after deer season, which means you have already lost about 1/2 of the quail population by then. I dropped my lease NE of Abilene ( prime quail country) ,, we were finding 2-3 coveys on 20K acres of prime country with perfect rain and conditions. Wasn't worth the $4K each to try again this year.
And lastly --------- look at any group of quail hunters,, it is mostly old men ------- very few young hunters are attracted to quail hunting.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995026 10/01/20 10:20 PM
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Don't disagree. There are a lot of factors working against the poor old quail bird. I think the lack of younger hunters might be due to the lack of exposure. It is the most fun I have had in my lifetime of hunting. Watching dogs work is a pleasure all of it's own. Lease expense and maintenance of dogs does get costly.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995080 10/01/20 11:19 PM
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Sad but I agree.


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995144 10/02/20 12:09 AM
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I'll ride the ups and downs till they put me in the ground. I will never give up on quail hunting.


Originally Posted by bill oxner
Haven't had it in years but never spit any out.


Originally Posted by bill oxner
I am a sucker for happy endings and strapped cowboys.
Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995235 10/02/20 01:30 AM
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I enjoy working with the dogs and watching how a talented bird savvy dog handles it’s birds. I love the bird guns and working on staying sharp with them. I don’t limit myself to just quail but I have been a bird hunter since I was a kid in the ‘60’s. I’ve been through good years and bad years. My grandpa told me in the lean years we pay our dues. We also learn more about a dogs nose and commitment in the lean years. As long as I’m physically able, I will continue. It is an itch that nothing else scratches for those who are afflicted. I see enough young men working with good dogs in my circle of friends to be optimistic about the future.


Smokey Bear---Lone Star State.
Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995245 10/02/20 01:44 AM
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There is a man on our place that has leased the quail rights for the last 30 yrs, he was down there last week working. He is 94 yrs old and still out there chasing quail, and gets around pretty good actually. The other day we were talking to him and he said " I'm 94 yrs old now, so I don't have much time left. I figure I've got about another good 6 yrs left in me. I just want a place where I can go and watch my dogs work, that's all". This old feller doesn't care about eating them, he gives us his birds most of the time. I'd say yep, quail hunting is definitely in his blood!

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995251 10/02/20 01:48 AM
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Sad deal but there gone in my area

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995581 10/02/20 02:16 PM
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I was really into quail hunting after my first real hunt behind dogs in 2008...then the little boom happened as you described and I got my first setter as we had two great years in a row down on a lease in the gulf plains region...my dog is 5 going on 6 now and every year I struggle to get her on wild birds...

I'm not young but I'm not too old either...at 43 the search for wild bird opportunities consumes me and I scour the internet all year, every year to try and find some wild birds...interesting thing though; at this point in my short struggle, I have the same mind set as the 94 year old man described above...I just want to watch my dog work and scratch a few down for her (I will definitely eat them though!)...Most of the hunters my age, unless truly blessed, have not had the opportunity for the amazing wild bird hunts of old...they were never "spoiled" as I have heard some say of those fortunate enough to enjoy "the good ole days"...however the great hunts are what creates great interest, which circles back the exposure comment in a previous post...in my opinion the lack of affordable "good ole days" type hunts has robbed most of my generation from creating the passion for quail and, along with that, our shear ignorance of the "good ole days" does not allow most of us to put today's quail conundrum in prospective...

My apologies as this has turned into a bit of a ramble...but let me end it with this...the weather is the weather and it will create the booms and busts...the true difference between today and yesterday is the massive loss of quail habitat due to the compounding fracturing of large land tracts...it would take a massive grass roots effort to coordinate conservation by land owned and leased by all of these smaller fractured lands to slow the decline at this point...but I seriously doubt the younger generations care to enough to see it through.

I hope I'm wrong.

Last edited by TX_Birddog1L; 10/02/20 02:20 PM.
Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN] #7995649 10/02/20 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CCBIRDDOGMAN
I'll ride the ups and downs till they put me in the ground. I will never give up on quail hunting.



Tenacity.


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995701 10/02/20 03:36 PM
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For the price of a quail lease that would be the same amount to be on a high end deer lease and I'm not a deer hunter. The public lands my dad took me to for quail growing up are no more which doesn't help people getting into the sport either. It is sad to see the decline in populations because I do miss chasing them.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995842 10/02/20 04:47 PM
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Well, quail hunting is basically dead. Nobody knows why they died. Small pockets exist. Hunters and hunting is in a rapid decline. Old timers are dying off and the younger bunch likes a iPhone much more than hunting. And because you like to watch your dog run; that’s not going to get people hunting quail.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995869 10/02/20 05:05 PM
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Climate change takes all kinds of forms. I'm from Kansas and had never seen an armadillo till I had a dog point one in an Ok. trial in the late 60's. Temps changed and now they are all over Kansas. Same with quilled varmints. Busting up good cover for grazing/farming speaks to some of the decline we've seen from east to west. But the hotter and dryer it gets the more volatile the quail success rates will be. The projections are for hotter, dryer weather ahead and doesn't look good, so I plan to enjoy the spikes up and hope it never ends.

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Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995901 10/02/20 05:33 PM
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I don’t think I’ll ever get out of it again. I went 10 years without a bird dog on one dry spell. The last few years it has been nice to quail hunt 45 minutes from the house. This is no longer the case. I’ll be doing a lot of driving to west and south Texas this year.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7995936 10/02/20 06:14 PM
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I got out of it and trialing both in 2005. Always had dogs before that except for about 5 years. I miss it and used to could walk all day chasing them. I miss those days. Desk job and bad knees killed it for me. Can't afford leases anymore. Don't have an ATV. Live in town now. No place to really work a dog even if I had a place. If I can win that dang lottery I will move back to the country on my own place. Build some kennels and a good barn and go back into it. That would be all I would do. I miss it badly even in bad years. Nothing like the look of a newly started pup you raised when that first covey blows up in their face. Every covey rise is exhilarating to me. I can always dream....


Bobby Barnett

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7996086 10/02/20 08:25 PM
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I am from Missouri and have followed a bird dog since i been 6-7 years old. In the 70's and 80's there were quail everywhere acccording to my family and the older gentlemen i run accross when talking bird dogs. My Grandfather and Father would tell me about all the birds they used to find and kill. I only tagged along because of them two guys and my love for bird dogs. Somewhere in the early 90's my family got out of it and started deer hunting. My limited experience has been walk from daylight to dark and only move one covey for SEVERAL years, till CRP started paying more or equal to cash rent and several hundred, maybe thousands acres of irrigation pivot corners. For this guy the quail exploded and we went from MAYBE one covey a day to one covey per hour!! and it has stayed that way for the last 10 years. Now one covey per hour might not sound like a good time compared to what you Texans have experienced, but i am thankful for what i have had so far. i couldnt imagine when you guys have those 20-30 covey days! In my mind that has to be what Heaven is like! im 41 now and I have always had bird dogs and i always will.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7996230 10/02/20 10:43 PM
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Have never hunted quail, being a younger guy, for my whole hunting life they have been a declining species, so I never experienced a time when they were truly plentiful like some of the older gentlemen on this forum.

Several local organizations are doing reintroduction programs at different areas, and from what I've seen, the reintroduced populations tend to have some pretty nasty mortality rates. I've heard many explanations from lack of proper cover from increased development, coyotes, fire ants, and to some extent, feral pigs, though I haven't done any of the field work or read any of the literature regarding quail numbers or reintroduction myself. I volunteer for different research programs every summer, and quail work is pretty high on my "want-to" list for next summer. I would be very interested in helping find what can be done to help a population stick, but I guess we'll see. It excites me to hear them whistle in the mornings when I'm out in the field, and I hope I get the chance to hunt them myself sometime. I think their loss would be a sad loss for our state... old quail hunters always have the best stories.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7996265 10/02/20 11:10 PM
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Extension is a part of evolution. They could be on their way out.


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7996486 10/03/20 01:54 AM
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I am not seeing rabbits like I use to

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7996490 10/03/20 01:57 AM
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I see things a bit differently from the OP. I recognize the number of hunting licenses sold across the nation have dropped but if you look at social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook you’ll see active vibrant communities of upland hunters. These men (mostly) keep bird dogs and often travel out of state to practice their hobby. While the hunters tend to be older there are many who are in their 30’s and 40’s.

I think the future of the sport is going to be in the hands of younger established professionals with disposable income looking to grab hold of the nostalgia depicted in classic upland literature. Habitat will continue to shrink and access will become more expensive but as long as there are quail, grouse, partridge, pheasant, woodcock or chukar and bird dogs there will be men hunting them.


And why, today, remember misses?

--Ernest Hemingway--
Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7996557 10/03/20 02:36 AM
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When I was a kid quail hunting was something we did almost every day of season. There was nothing else to hunt besides rabbits and we killed thousands of them year round with a 22. We could kill a limit of bird after my papaw got off work every day. I never thought about how great that was, or how great our dogs were. We just always had one or two great dogs and one we were training on.
Deer hunting was an adventure because we got to go somewhere and camp out in a tent. My Papaw would always kill his tag limit opening weekend so he could get back to quail hunting. Deer were just killed for the freezer. Quail were for sport. Not that we didn’t eat bird three times a week. I wish I had known how lucky I was to have the hunting I did back then.
I’m only 45 years old and that’s how it was growing up in west Tx. I also don’t know many men younger than me that train dogs. It is a dying sport but I really don’t care what anyone else does if they don’t have the same last name as me. I hope my boys will have bird to hunt but they will probably only have the memories and pets they can shoot pen raised birds with.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: scalebuster] #7996824 10/03/20 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by scalebuster
When I was a kid quail hunting was something we did almost every day of season. There was nothing else to hunt besides rabbits and we killed thousands of them year round with a 22. We could kill a limit of bird after my papaw got off work every day. I never thought about how great that was, or how great our dogs were. We just always had one or two great dogs and one we were training on.
Deer hunting was an adventure because we got to go somewhere and camp out in a tent. My Papaw would always kill his tag limit opening weekend so he could get back to quail hunting. Deer were just killed for the freezer. Quail were for sport. Not that we didn’t eat bird three times a week. I wish I had known how lucky I was to have the hunting I did back then.
I’m only 45 years old and that’s how it was growing up in west Tx. I also don’t know many men younger than me that train dogs. It is a dying sport but I really don’t care what anyone else does if they don’t have the same last name as me. I hope my boys will have bird to hunt but they will probably only have the memories and pets they can shoot pen raised birds with.


I am optimistic there are enough young men like your boys and my son that are raised up in it to carry on the tradition. They are the future of quail hunting, not the crotchety old men wailing about the good days being over for good. [Linked Image]


Smokey Bear---Lone Star State.
Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7997136 10/03/20 08:35 PM
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Here is an excerpt from a log I kept on the year that I retired.

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All of those hunts were free and within a hours drive. The Hines Nursery pasture is only a couple miles. They now have a high school and a subdivision there.


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7997206 10/03/20 10:20 PM
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Thanks for sharing Bill. Dang urban sprawl.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: booskay] #7997224 10/03/20 10:38 PM
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That's neat that you kept a detailed log. I used to remember where every covey was. That was a long time age now. Wish I'd done the same.

Re: Quail hunting may be a thing of the past [Re: sallysue] #7997239 10/03/20 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by sallysue
I am not seeing rabbits like I use to

Shredding this last week I saw 2 of the biggest cottontails
I've seen in a long time.
I also saw a lonesome quail that I thought was a gopher
at first. I had to stop and look hard at it to make sure
of what it was.
JMHO- nobody traps varmints very much anymore
maybe with the exception of hunters trapping coons
at their feeders. We'd have a lot more turkey poults
and small game if there was more varmint trapping
going on.
I do understand that nobody wants to process a
hide for $3.00 either, especially me .
Buzzards gotta eat, same as the worms

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