In 1988, I spent quite a bit of time exploring. One of my biggest curiosities was turkey, but along the way I ran into quite a few valley quail. I’ve looked through my notes to see if I recorded my quail hunting at Tehema Wildlife Area off highway 36 just east of Red Bluff. I haven’t found my notes.
However, my recollection of one hunt is fairly clear. I remember arriving at TWA about midday and I had Tubbs, my super bird hunting hound dog, with me. I’m sure Tubbs would have preferred to hunt something with fur, but she learned that it was fowl that I wanted. On this day I parked near the top of a not-so-tall ridge with a lot of flat ground at the top.
It looked like a lot of other ridges at Tehema WA, so I believe it’s not important to tell you which one. Somebody (who was probably interested in quail) had created many brush piles on that ridge. As we walked, I didn’t hear or see any quail. Typical of California Quail, these birds there were very secretive and I had no idea what I was in for – until Tubbs’ tail began to wag as she approached one of those brush piles. Out shot a couple quail and I don’t recall if I hit either of them. What I do recall is hunting quail much longer than I had anticipated and bagging at least a few.
This was an idea quail-hunting locatin. The hiking was relatively level and the habitat was just right. I’m not sure if 1988 was a good quail year, but I was certain that this was an ideal quail hunting location.
Since that time I’ve hunted Tehema WA and also Tehema Refuge 1G for Turkey. I’ve come close to bagging a turkey, but never succeeded. Had a very large black bear walk past me at Tehema 1G while I sat by a tree yelping for turkeys. The refuge has it all – even pigs. It doesn’t look like much, but don’t underestimate your chances here.
Here’s a link http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/wa/region1/tehama.html
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A couple months ago, I had a request from one of my readers to post information about places to hunt quail. I’ve been meaning to accomodate him, but haven’t had the time. Here’s one spot where I found quail plentiful in 1988. Maybe there will be some this year. It just depends. Here are my notes from that hunt.
Indian Valley Reservoir is north of highway 20, about half way between Clear Lake and I-5. I haven’t been there lately, but I bet it hasn’t changed all that much. If you know better, let me know.
11-28-88 Indian Valley Reservoir.
I arrived about 8 AM in the morning. It was cold and windy. Tubbs (my dog at the time) and I headed over the dam around the lake’s west side. A good trail led us to brush country. Right away I spotted tracks of a large bear and also deer. We went about a mile and then followed a couple of creeks. We came to patches of oaks surrounded by dense chaparral – mostly chemise. One interesting spot was oak grassland about 60-80 acres in size. I spotted a couple deer. For a while the best that Tubbs could do was a couple towhees, but eventually she found quail. We chased them around in the chemise and I managed to bag three with three shots. They held reasonably well in the chemise and my shots were pretty easy.
My main objective was to find turkey, so we searched for more oak grassland at the top of the ridge, but I only found more chemise. So, I decided to search for more quail. After a while, I lost interest and decided to head back towards camp. Again I came across the large bear tracks in the muddy trail. I was convinced that these were not here when I passed by earlier. Tubbs jumped more quail, but I was convinced the bear was close and I wanted to get a look at him so I didn’t shoot.
I’d climbed quite high on the mountain and was moving along at a good clip when I heard a rush of wings overhead. The ruckus was coming from flock of about 100 cormorants heading for the reservoir. Bringing up the rear was a single and he had a golden eagle about three feet behind him in hot pursuit. Don’t know if he made it or not. I arrived back at camp about 5 PM and saw five more deer at the dam. Along the way I observed lots of tracks, mostly bob-cat and coyote – one track looked like it could have been made by a mountain lion.
Here’s a link http://www.publiclands.org/explore/site.php?search=YES&back=Search%20Results&id=7075
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