Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Mexico Blue Quail....Round 2

Click Here for GoPro video.

I'm taking some pretty good pictures on my travels. However, I'm missing easily 50% of the best pictures,  because I don't have a zoom lens.  I have a GoPro and, with the editing software, I think I may have found a solution, short of spending  $2000.  I'm going to give it a shot.

Love these Blue Quail in New Mexico!

For some reason, I love hunting these frustrating birds! Back home, in Georgia, I'll mention I'm on my way to New Mexico to hunt Blues and I'll get lots of comments about how they run and are hard to get up to shoot.  Exactly!  They are a tough, challenging bird.  As much as I enjoy hunting a Texas lease with 20+ coveys per day, for the walking hunter, these Blue Quail have their own mystique.   I wish all birds were as cooperative as Bobwhites- a true gentleman bird. I finally realized I must not be that gentleman.  I truly enjoy the challenge of chasing the Blue devils.

bird dogs and bird hunting
Shack has a covey pinned
These tough, blue SOB's are anything but gentlemen. They will run away so fast a West Texas pointer can't keep up with them!  Then, the next covey will split up and hide in every bush, or fly and land in a cholla cactus tree, of just hold tight while the dog runs past looking for a sprinting covey.  They will flush in front of you, behind you, under your feet.  They will flush half a covey and run the rest!

bird dogs and bird hunting
Shack catching scent a ways off.

bird dogs and bird hunting
Shack with a snoot full of Blue Quail scent.
One thing I've learned about these guys.  Many times, they will return to the same bush they flushed from!  Go figure.These birds are tough.  When I'm not shooting my old 20 ga. A.H. Fox, using RST shells, I step it up to 20 ga. 3" 6's.  Many guys I know shoot 7 1/2's.  Most locals I've talked to shoot 6's.  Blues deserve a good strong shot shell. Dropping one doesn't mean one in the bag.  In fact, it's a rare cast that produces "6 hit, 6 in the bag".  They will crawl in a hole or run like a pheasant when they hit the ground, if they are not dead.  I know that your dogs are awesome and can find a wounded bird anytime, anywhere.  I'm just saying, these birds can disappear in seconds, if not dead when they hit. I would rather overkill a bit on the shot size, than leave food for the coyotes. 

bird dogs and bird hunting
Pearl says, "When you're done fooling around, I'm ready!"

bird dogs and bird hunting
Ethan and his first Blue Quail- He did a good job!

bird dogs and bird hunting
Them Texas Boys is shooters!
 The weather can go from 80 degrees to 40 degrees and gusty winds to just a flat out rain in the space of three days.  We saw temperatures range from 11 degrees up to 80 degrees in a four day span. 
bird dogs and bird hunting
Cap finds a swimming hole!

bird dogs and bird hunting
Lunch on the tailgate- wind is brutal from the front of the truck!
 We hunt too far out to return to anywhere for lunch.  Tailgate lunches, using the JetBoil, were a lifesaver in the cold and wet.

bird dogs and bird hunting
Ending a successful season with Robert Siler!

Finally, at the end of the last day, a bottle of good bourbon appeared and two, old birdhunters lifted a glass to good dogs, good friends and a worthy opponent!  (Hey, Honey, only 7 months until bird season!)