Utah Wildlife Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,110 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always been one to try something new, so when I got the chance to head south this winter, in search of warmer weather and desert quail, I jumped at the opportunity. I'm glad I did.

We decided that we'd try our hand at flying ourselves, our guns, and our dogs to the destination. With a little bit of luck and a lot of planning we all arrived safe and sound.

Ready for the trip.


Along on this trip was my father, Paul, and friend Mike. We only had four days to hunt, and we wanted each one to count; we were going to hunt hard. I also toted a new DSLR camera, and although I didn't have much experience using it, I'd hoped for some great pics.

After arriving at the airport, securing the luggage and picking up our rented SUV, we headed further south. We were greeted by Mearn's Quail country…and lots of it.


The next morning greeted us bright and early, and with fresh sign. Here a covey of quail were digging and scratching for food. And while the first couple of canyons we hunted had great sign such as this, we sadly found no birds.


Discouraged, we headed for water.


We worked up and down the side hills near a stream. Finally, Oprah pointed a small covey of three birds. Surprised, we didn't even fire a round.


Further up the canyon we hit paydirt. Our first Mearn's Quail; a great ending to a first day of hunting desert quail.


The next day came early, and we headed for some likely country.


Pretty easy walking, compared to chukar hunting anyway, and less cacti than hunting the other desert quail. Although every once in awhile we'd get into a "sticky" spot.


Oprah Vom Treborwolf. We could only bring one pup with us on the trip and decided to bring the close-working wirehair.


It certainly paid off, but as the day warmed, her hunting enthusiasm waned. Dog tired.


We hunted hard that day, but found few birds. We did find some old sign. Here a covey roosted for the evening, as noted by this small concentration of droppings.


We weren't the only ones hunting quail.


Then, as the day came to a close we found this: Fresh diggings! Using their long claws and massive beaks, Mearn's Quail "dig" for tubers, roots, bulbs, and other tasty morsels, leaving behind telltale dig marks in the desert soil.


And with such sign came Birds. Here is an immature male.


Telling the birds apart in flight was a little tricky, but you could distinguish flushing males by the large dark/black areas on their breasts and vent. Once in the hand identification was easy. From left to right: an adult male, an immature male, and a female Mearn's Quail.


After some sandwiches we headed for the hotel.


Yours truly.


We'd hunted hard for two days and didn't really have that many quail to show for it, but I'm not really sure that it mattered much. Here we were, having the time of our lives, all the while in tee-shirts and ball caps! Paradise indeed.



The next day we were going to hook up with a fellow forum member, also down from Utah. As usual he was a pleasure to hunt with…
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,110 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The extreme southern U.S. is a great place for bird enthusiasts. I love hunting, but I also love bird watching, and I was able to view several species of birds I'd never before seen.

A Lesser Gold Finch. And banded no less!


A Western Blue Bird. Slightly different from the Mountain Bluebirds we have in Utah, but no less colorful.


We saw many species of woodpecker on this trip. The forests of the Southern U.S. are varied and support a variety of species. Here I was able to photo a Gila Woodpecker.


We also saw a cornucopia of Raptor species from the dainty American Kestrel to the empowered Golden Eagle. I even saw a couple of Kites.


Although the season was closed, we saw plenty of doves. Here we have a White-wing Dove.


And this rascally critter was hard to photo. Beep beep!


We found this Shrike in southern wine country. Don't worry, we brought back a couple of bottles.


And a treat for you waterfowlers out there…a Mexican Duck. Much like the Mallard (often considered a subspecies) but notice the green/orange bills of the males.


But back to hunting (with a gun) …

We had spoken with a fellow forum member the night before and were going to meet him at his camp the next morning. But we had a couple of places we wanted to try beforehand.

Spanish Bayonet


And we found birds. A female Mearn's Quail.


We hit the shady side of a ravine, covered with thick oaks, and found four coveys of Mearn's Quail and one covey of Scaled Quail (an unlikely find in this area.)

What a pair they make.


This is what they were dining on.


And speaking of dining, we found the Collared Peccary dining on a variety of desert plants.


It was getting on towards noon when we remembered Kenny was waiting for us. We found him and his Brits.


We decided to head out for some more Scaled Quail. Into the brambles we went.


The good man himself.


Often considered a subspecies of the White-tailed deer, the Coues Deer, a southern desert dweller grows small in antler and body size; a trait of many desert species. We saw tons of 'em.


As we stopped for drinks I noticed Oprah do a couple of frantic back flips over a brush pile and then go on point. As I investigated the scene I found this fella slithering off…


We'd had enough of Scaled Quail country and high tailed it back to the Mearn's hills. Just in time for an evening jaunt.


Representing everywhere I go; Expanding my horizons.


Kenny connects on a fine point from his pup.


And Oprah paid her way back home.


A sycamore choked canyon as the sun sets; a beautiful ending to a beautiful trip.


We thoroughly enjoyed the trip; I hope you had fun along the way too…
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,496 Posts
Great pics. Thanks for sharing them. I love the roadrunner pic. Those birds a really fascinating. Once again, your report is inspiring me to get back into upland game.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,302 Posts
Wow bravo!!!! I've watched a lot of Mearms hunts on TV and have only seen a handful taken. They seem to be pretty elusive but it looks like you and the dog had it figured out. I would love to do that someday!! :D
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
21,449 Posts
Great spread Zim. I've never done Montezumas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,243 Posts
I like the new camera... It looks like it is getting used. You should have gone with me and Max hunting chukars today, we flushed a covey.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,110 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
bauhaus said:
Those are some handsome birds.

You didn't happen to save some of the feathers did you?
I got a few left...you need 'em?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
It's not too late to apply for a job with National Geographic. That pictorial should get you in the door. Very cool.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top