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.