Quail and Free Hugs

Posted by: on Oct 14, 2014 | No Comments

It was a long anticipated return to the field. It all started with a quick stop at the border to go through the normal formalities of checking in arms. The new border is quite impressive, amazing that it is the busiest land port of entry in the USA.

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There was a little standing around and waiting, but overall the process was painless and went smoothly.

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Before you knew it we were enjoying tacos in Ensenada. It has become the mid-day tradition not to be missed on the way down. Besides, on these early season hunts, there isn’t a better way to kill the mid day heat spell than with tacos and an ice cold Coca Cola.

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Timed perfectly after our lunch, we rolled onto the first ranch just as the day was cooling down. The lack of rain has changed the scenery quite a bit. Overall the ranches are dry. Every ranch has tracts of land that are irrigated and farmed for food crops, and those areas look good. However, the large open clearings of grain crops, normally dry farmed, are nowhere to be found. It’s not paramount for bird populations, but it sure doesn’t help things to have vast fields of dirt. As we drove around and did a quick ‘look see’ we found birds in the normal spots, but not like previous years.

We ended up with enough birds for dinner, but it required some swift feet and good shooting.

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The next morning we woke to perfect conditions, heavy fog layer and cooler temperatures. We wasted no time getting in the field. We worked a little longer in the morning finding the first covey, but at least we were seeing birds.

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Again, there was no free lunch and the birds were wise and tried to give us the slip in the tall stands of cholla.

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In these lean years it’s even more important to be sorted out. Dogs need to learn about cholla and cactus, gunners need to be in shape and hustle to the coveys. The experienced dogs avoided the cholla for the most part, but it takes a few encounters for the young ones to figure it out.

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As the day warmed up a much needed run to the beach was in order. The cool breeze and refreshing water was much appreciated by man and beast. We posted up for lunch and waited out the hottest part of the day.

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We stopped for a quick free hug and then headed out for our evening hunt.

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Back at the lodge it was all business in the kitchen.

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Jack prepared a fine menu for the evening and all agreed that Quail, Couscous and Black Bean soup was going to be the new ” go to ” dish for our quail dinners.

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Despited the tough conditions, young dogs, warm days and spooky hold over birds from last year, we still had one of the best trips to date. Limits are more conservative, the hunting is more challenging, but in the end it’s what makes the day even more rewarding. Although not a banner year, we are grateful for what we have; the great wide open spaces, a few birds to share at dinner, and the camaraderie and spirt of another successful hunt. There was no shortage of stores being told about previous years outings, but for us veteran hunters we are looking forward to a steady seasons and the opportunity to get out with dogs and friends.

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