I was curious how many people hunt Mountain quail specifically, meaning not along with deer hunting. I haven't missed an opener in several years and I was wondering if there are others who enjoy it as much as I.
I also like to hunt them, I havent hunted them alot and had no success this last season, but this next season I plan going after them quit a bit along with the blue grouse. I have only been down highway 88 but have seen quit a few more up along 50-El dorado
(Edited by wildlifedesigner at 9:56 pm on July 20, 2001)
I HAVEN'T EVER HUNTED JUST MOUNTAIN QUAIL. I GET EM WHILE I AM DEER HUNTING. I LOVE TO EAT EM AND SO DO MY KIDS. I DON'T HAVE A DOG AND WOULDN'T KNOW HOW TO HUNT EM WITH ONE. USUALLY I SEE EM ON THE ROAD WHILE HUNTING. WHEN I SEE A COVEY, I GET OUT AND START STALKING. I ALSO HIKE A LOT WHEN I AM DEER HUNTING AND TEND TO FIND AREAS WHERE THE QUAIL ARE. IF I GET A DEER OR IF THE SEASON RUNS OUT, I WILL GO BACK JUST FOR QUAIL. I WILL WALK IN BY MY SELF OR WITH MY KID AND HUNT. I LOVE EM ALMOST AS MUCH AS PHEASANT.
I like to hunt them, but usually do it because nothing else is left to hunt toward the end of the season. Of course, now I think I've found the hog hideout, so I may switch gears to pig hunting when duck season ends.
They are tasty little boogers, but you need a limit to feed a small family.
Last year I hunted them in the angeles forrest and fairly well. I would hunt them in the morning and then go down towards Akton for valley quail. They're easy to find in the morning when they're calling. The first time I happened upon a covey I thought they were chukar. They have a similar call. When you find a covey try stalking them REAL SLOW uphill. If they havent been heavily pressured you can get real close to them. After the initial flush you need a dog to jump singles, otherwise they run from you through the brush and you can hear them calling the whole time. I found some spots along the Pacific Crest Trail in the San Bernardino forrest that I'm going to try this season. I also want to try for them in the early season zone. Has any one ever hunted the early season? Where is the southern most area you can hunt?
It never fails, every opener of D14 deer season I can guarantee a covey of mountain quail will walk within spitting distance of me. One year I couldn't stand it and hustled back to the truck to get my shotgun after watching one covey of about 10 feed right out in front of me. All I could think of was I'm going to have the biggest muley of my life jump up with only a shotgun with birdshot in. I got back and no more covey.
The San Bernardino forest has a good population of mountain quail. Up above 5,000 is where I always find them. Like mtngoat said I usually here them calling first in the morning and try to mark where they are headed. Once they are on their march to water or feed from the roost they are hard to cut off.
You won't find big coveys like valley quail, that 10 birds is about the biggest covey I've seen.
Lot more breast meat than a valley quail and they sure do look different.
These quail are often very difficult to find because of the dense nature of their habitat. An effective way of locating them is to set yourself in a likely looking place and try calling them. If you sit still and there are quail in the area, they will often answer your calls. In some cases they may even come right to you! Make sure you are on high ground, because they seem to prefer moving uphill rather than downhill. It is also easier to hunt them from above because they will often fly downhill and very few hunters are capable of keeping up with them uphill.
Most of my encounters with Mountain Quail have been in the hills above Hesperia about 5 - 6,000 feet (heading up to Fawnskin). After the last burn, they've been tough to find. After a few snows come over the top, we've found 'em real low. Luna Mountain used to be good. Good, big chunks of breast meat.
Yeah we used to have tons of squirrels also but certain people moved in a killed them off, it is now pretty rare to see them, luckily htey can't hit the mountain quail or grouse so thye haven't been affected.
Mountain Quail are one of my favorite species to hunt. Unfortunately they are in the roughest country in CA. The way I go after them is on my ATV. I cruise logging roads at first and last light. This is quite a bit easier than from a truck. You can avoid the slamming of doors and getting your gun ready. I can hop off my ATV, load up, and be shooting in only a few seconds. I am not a "road hunter" for valley quail or any other species for that matter, but that is the only way I have found to effectively get Mountain Quail. It is nice to get the occasional Blue Grouse as well, but I have never found a place with enough of them to target specifically.
You pretty much hit the nail on the head. I just can't justify buying an ATV to only hunt mountain quail, since that is all I would use it for. I actually have a decent location for Blue Grouse I just have gotten to where I don't get crazy about shooting them. I have taken a few people up to shoot them because they have never had a chance. The first time I took my wife up where i go there was eight running around in a circle in the middle of the road, the funniest thing I have ever seen wild birds do. Only four weeks until the opener!
I was cruising around D7 yesterday just checking for stream trout and looking out for game sign along the road. Ran across a ton of mountain quail in a generally lush area at the 5,000 foot level. Many hen with 3-5 fresh-flying young ones along the roadsides. Looks like a good supply of quail in this area, but of course since the deer season starts up 9/21/02 in D7, these quail are not going to be just sitting in the bleachers next to all of these dirt roads any more!
tinner, the deer zone "general maps" are in the DFG booklets and on their website, but to clearly know the boundaries, you need to look at the fine print section and trace the boundaries on your own maps. In the D Zones, you're dealing primariy with National Forest maps in this area if you are hunting public land.
Bittleston, I was under the impression that Dunlap was in the D8 Zone, Dunlap is south of the Kings River isn't it? At any rate, I saw a lot of mountain quail north of Bass Lake on my recent trip.
Yes, Squaw Leap is good for Valley Quail, but you have to work pretty hard after opening weekend -- lots of high cover, and they flush to the opposite side. Nice thing about it is you can hunt there throughout the season and be sure there are still quail in the area -- just don't be expecting to get a limit.
One more thing, RBittleston, I usually don't question someone else's opinion on boundaries if it does not concern me. But I would really hate to see someone get cited for hunting in the wrong deer zone, and then not be able to hunt where they prefer. I thought Dunlap (right off the 180 hwy between Squaw Valley and the entrance to Kings Canyon NP) was in D8, and I just went back to the reg's and I am sure Dunlap is in D8.
D7 reg's read: "southwest and downstream along the Middle Fork of the Kings River to the Junction of the Middle Fork and South Fork of the Kings River; southwest along the Kings River through Pine Flat Reservoir, Piedra and Reedley to Highway 99; north along Highway 99 to lthe point of begining (Fresno-Madera Co. line)."
D8 reg's read: "beginning at the intersection of Highway 99 and the Kings River; upstream and northeast along lthe Kings River through Reedley, Piedra and Pine Flat Reservoir to the junction fo the middle and South Forks of the Kings River; northeast alont eh Middle Ford Kings River to the Dusy Basin Trail", etc. and then south to the Kern River.
Seems that since Dunlap is clearly southeast of the Kings River, it is certainly in D8. I've hunted D7 for years on the north side of the Kings River just beyond Pine Flat, and I knew I could not cross the river to hunt. I would suggest a phone call to DFG to verify this if you plan to hunt deer south of the Kings River. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am. At any rate, I won't clutter the forum with boundary issues any more. Good hunting!