It definitely makes it easier with a dog. But...since you're hunting Pendleton, you can get away without one. Kilo 2 (Combat town) is a prime quail area. Beat the brush north of C.T. in the brush surrounding the rock quarry and standing water. Also try the areas to the east of C.T., you can't miss the road down to Santa Margarita river. Those cuts, gullies, and ridges are usually teeming with quail. Since you don't have a dog, look at the lay of the land/brush. Start on one end and walk, forcing them (they will stay on the ground til they're out of brush) to the end of whatever thicket/line brush. They huddle up before they break. After they flush, watch where the Alpha male goes (he'll start sounding out a gathering call after about 10mins). Just let them gather, and go after the covey again. I've done this year after year, works every time.
Another good area is November (good for bunnies too). (BTW, November area is a shotgun only area.) Follow the road all the way to the end. You'll find a natural water runoff (this year it may be dry???). But at any rate, it's a good area for quail (thickets before you hit the run off). It's also a great place for dove. There's a set of power lines that runs along the North/South ridge. Just camp your tail under a overhanging tree/bush next to the run off. They'll come in early morning, and then when it gets hot (to drink). Hope this helps out some....
Have to agree on this one. The first quail we saw near C.T. were nice and big. Unfortunately, if you miss, they flush straight down hill to the river. November is good too, but more difficult to keep the quail from flushing out in front of you. A dog would be best here.
Also, one thing about Pendleton is that (like November area) it is possible to walk out of your zone without realizing it. Some of the areas are broken up into 2 or 3 zones and only one may be productive. As far as the C.T. area, watch for other hunters walking up behind you; crowding your search for the quail. They aren't supposed to, but it still happens.
In the desert you can successfully hunt quail without a dog. Many times during the opener it is too hot to have your dog out without them getting overheated. You can find birds near springs and guzzlers. A good way to find them is to walk the washes near water sources. You can also use a quail call.
you don't need a dog to hunt quail especially if you hunt thouroghly. Hunting with a dog is just another approach to it, it's a different kind of hunting. I've always got limits w/o a dog throughout the season. Quail are easy to find, the hardest part is finding the downed birds, this is where the dog is helpful. Quail leave a lot of tracks behind if theres sand and you can find and follow the fresh ones. If theres no sand walk the edges of dense cover near water sources.
We do most of our hunting in desert brush alongside arroyos, and like Ghrousseau says, you can be successful without dogs. I will add a few points, though, and you can apply whatever works in the area you hunt. First, we don't walk the arroyos - we drive them. My main hunting truck is a '49 flatfender Jeep, and since I am not concerned with the paint finish, it is ideal for running the washes, looking for quail to fly. The Mojave is a big place, and sometimes we may drive for miles before we jump the quail, and jump out. We would be considerably slower in the chase, if we had to walk to locate them. Second, on finding the birds once they are down: The brush we hunt in is mostly Creosote, Rabbitbrush, Sage, and Atriplex ("Quail Bush", often lumped together and referred to as "sagebrush". The color of the dry brush and duff the birds drop into is gray, just like the birds. Without a dog to sniff out your cripples and kills, you WILL leave a number of birds behind. Bring a mutt for the dead bird snuffling if that's all you have. If not, make your best effort to find each cripple and kill. A collapsible snake hook is great for probing around for birds under bushes that might hold snakes. Shut up and listen. A crippled bird may flutter a time or 2, and tell you where he is. Regarding calls, when on foot, and without dogs: I carry a "Screaming Hawk" shock call, made for turkey hunting. If you get the quail running out in front of you, one blast with the hawk call will often make them lay down and go to cover. This also works with Gambel's.
You can hunt quail without a dog, I've done it for several years. However, I've shot a ton more birds then I've ever brought home because they are just so darn hard to find. This year I have myself a retriever ready to go, so I am hoping every bird I shoot will end up in my bag. It will be nice if he can help find some more birds for us too, the leg work without a dog is phenomenal! LOL!
It's not too hard to find quail and shoot them without a dog; but like already said, it can be hard to find the downed birds in brush or solid grass. Any dog that you can train to zero in on quail scent will work. As a matter of fact, I had a great 2-dog combo when I used to hunt the Baldy Mesa off Cajon pass. My Labrador was a great retriever, but my Beagle had a much better nose -- but, the Beagle just liked to try to keep the quail for himself and would try to take them into heavy cover to have a feast. Well, the Lab would go in and take it away from the Beagle and fetch it to me. The Beagle soon learned to retrieve quail all the way to me so he would get the praise! Both the Beagle and the Lab knew to look back at the direction my shotgun was pointing at the sound of the shot, and would go straigt in that direction until they scented the bird. I often hunt without the dogs in the summer heat for rabbits, and I lose some game. On occasion I've had to hunt dove without dogs for the same reason, and also lost some game -- but the trick is to go directly after any downed bird, and not try to mark them and shoot more before picking them up, unless the ground is pretty barren.