We had a big party set for the quail opener. Invited about eight of our quail-hunting buddies. Then came the forecast. Who wants to hunt quail in the rain?
The crew dwindled from eight to six and then to five. On Friday four of us made it out to the ranch in the rain. The roads became treacherous. Hunter number five was coming in after dark, but thought better of it.
Then there was four. We ate well on pork steaks and venison chili. Then we built a nice fire to warm us. Sometime during the night the rain let up and when we awoke, the sky was blue.
It was a good nesting year for upland birds last spring. Quail broods probably set some kind of record. Turkeys did very well. Over at the duck club pheasants are looking good as well.
Last year eight of us brought in three quail. I didn’t fire a shot, but we had high hopes for this year and we were justified. We had been watching many coveys all summer long and throughout the deer season.
After about a five hour hunt in strong winds, the four of us came back to camp with 31 quail, nearly eight apiece. Here’s a hero photo taken by Joe DiDonato about two o’clock on Saturday afternoon. Left t right – me, cousin Wes and brother Rob. We’ll be eating quail.
It wasn’t long after this photo was taken that serious dark clouds appeared over the horizon. About 30 minutes after that, the rain was falling again. We scurried home over roads that had been saturated the night before, dry as a bone at 9 AM and on their way to becoming saturated again as we drove out about 5 PM.
As an aside, we did see six bucks while looking for quail. One of them was a nice buck and was probably the one I missed on opening day. A couple of them were spikes – the rest small forked horns.
One the way home, I spotted another buck just as I left our property and later we got a good look at a six-point tule elk. At one of the ponds a flock of about 20 mallards huddled out of the strong winds and it looked like they were all greenheads. Then we were back to the pavement.
Next week is the duck opener. The forecast is for 80 degrees and sunny. That will be fine with me.