hunting mountain quail in california

Hunting Mountain Quail in California

I’ve never successfully hunted quail before. Whenever Mike talks about quail hunting, he talks about driving his truck into a covey, hopping out of a car, and running full tilt at the birds to bust them up. I’ve attempted the first part of this driving through desert, but have never had the opportunity to roll out of a moving vehicle, shotgun a’blazin. Hunting mountain quail isn’t as Mike has described. 

New Homes, New Grounds

For anyone interested, Mike and I used to live relatively far from one another. As far as Southern Californians are concerned, 70-miles may as well be a state away, even though we’re really only talking about one edge of Los Angeles to the other edge. Traditionally, the area’s we’d normally hunt were an unspoken negotiation of distance between us, with the locations not favoring either of us.

Recently, however, Mike moved his family here. With the new move, we’ve been scouting new areas to hunt and getting into new adventures.

California Valley Quail vs Mountain Quail

When Mike talks about quail hunting, the tactics are applied towards California valley quail. The aforementioned 4×4 tactic, rolling out of a moving vehicle, and limiting on birds are characteristics specific to flat-ground valley hunting.

Mike’s first-hand experience quail hunting comes from a childhood of bird limits with his father. He’s familiar with the calls, the sounds, and is intuitive to the type of foliage valley quail like to hang out in. When I think of hunting quail, I default to the black and grey comma-plumaged California valley quail.

Hunting Mountain Quail in California

Now that we’re more west than before, we’re exploring coastal black-tail country that neither of us are familiar with.

As we climbed the hills that looked right, with areas that had water and food, we thought we’d be getting into some valley quail. We busted knees to get over hills to find flat earth that looked like valley quail territory.

Our hunt was specifically geared towards valley quail. We were pleasantly surprised to have run into a covey of mountain quail inconveniently gathered on a 45-degree slope.

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