Head south for some winter hunting

Jeff writes:  "Absolutely wonderful day when the sun is shining and you are shooting a 410. Five coveys over Izzie "all blank gunned."

Jeff writes:  Absolutely wonderful day when the sun is shining and you are shooting a 410. Five coveys over Izzie all blank gunned.

For bird hunters who live in the northern half of the country, winter can be bleak. Winds howl, snow piles up and grouse, woodcock, quail and pheasant seasons (except on certain reservation lands in South Dakota) have closed. Hunting clubs, preserves and game farms are open but are still somewhat weather-dependent.

Some friends of ours leave their bird dogs at home and turn to ice fishing. Others hunker down and do their best to survive with mental capacity intact. There is another option, though.

Mearns hunting today on the live oak plains near Nogales. Not as many coveys as Wednesday but very good dog work. Hershey was the dog of the day….had 2 coveys and a single.

Jeff writes:  Mearn’s hunting today on the live oak plains near Nogales. Not as many coveys as Wednesday but very good dog work. Hershey was the dog of the day….had 2 coveys and a single.

Go south. Bird hunting seasons are still open in many southern states. Here’s just a sample.

•    Arizona:  Gambel’s, Mearn’s and scaled quail seasons open until February 9.
•    Georgia:  ruffed grouse and bobwhite quail seasons open until February 28.
•    Kansas:  bobwhite quail, pheasant & prairie chicken open until January 31.
•    Louisiana:  woodcock season open until January 31; bobwhite quail season open until February 28.
•    North Carolina:  woodcock season open until January 25.
•    Oklahoma:  bobwhite quail season open until February 15.
•    Texas:  bobwhite quail season open until February 23.

Jeff writes:  You know you are in great Mearns cover when the oaks are recovering from a fire and you hear the drones all day.

Jeff writes: You know you are in great Mearn’s cover when the oaks are recovering from a fire and you hear the drones all day.

Jerry and I can vouch for hunting in most of these states but we retain a special feeling for quail hunting in the deserts of southern Arizona. The warm, sunny days are ideal for outdoor activities. Terrain can be a little tough, though, as cacti abound and the hillsides can be steep and filled with sharp rocks. But three native quail species, Mearn’s, Gambel’s and scaled, are striking to see, generally abundant enough and fun to hunt.

Too, evenings bring stunning sunsets behind the Tuscon Mountain range when all one has to do is decide what’s for dinner—big steaks and beer or authentic Mexican and margaritas.

 

Jeff Hintz' two-year Izzie somehow found her way through a big group of prickly pear cactus to point a covey of Mearns quail.

Jeff writes:  Lost Izzie when my Garmin battery went dead. Found her on point  deep in a prickly pear patch. Took the picture and shot a bird from the covey.

Thanks to our friend and neighbor Jeff Hintz who shares beautiful photographs from southern Arizona.

Northwoods Birds Dogs    53370 Duxbury Road, Sandstone, Minnesota 55072
Jerry: 651-492-7312     |      Betsy: 651-769-3159     |           |      Directions
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