Scaled quail

ElPollo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
24
A weekend of scouting for a deer hunt reminded me of the reasons why I love hunting scaled quail so much.

When hunting scalies, I have about 1/4 of the state of NM to myself and I rarely see another hunter. This weekend, I went to scout out a unit for the second mule deer season during the first season. The unit is pretty big, roughly 60 miles by 50 miles and is about 35-40% public land. What I found was that roughly 2/3 of the public land deer habitat was gated off by private land, leaving the vast majority of hunters dog-piled onto a relatively small area of national forest. The result is not particularly a relaxing enjoyable experience for me.

At $250-30 per acre land prices (without minerals or water rights), scaled quail habitat is not worth the effort or cost of fencing and gating to keep people off public land inholdings. Most ranchers will gladly let desert quail hunters onto their land to hunt. There are so few of us and there is so much land that their is no market for leasing land out to outfitters to restrict access. High-fencing is not a thing. No one bothers to consider idiotic captive rearing pyramid schemes. No Motel 6 deer breeding pens, no auctioning trophy bucks for pen-raising giant antlers.

When it comes down to it, scaled quail hunting has everything that I really want out of hunting, without a lot of the crap that has begun to infest western public land hunting. I can wander the desert to my hearts content. I can take my dogs and my favorite old shotguns for a long walk pretty much anywhere I please. I never have to worry about other hunters getting there first. My hunts are never over five minutes into the season. I don’t kill myself quartering, boning, and packing giant loads of meat. While scalies are fine eating (especially grilled inside of bacon and green chiles), the only downside is that my freezer never seems to fill up. Those little nuggets of goodness just seem to get eaten before they ever get to the freezer.

I don’t know if it’s getting older, getting less patient, getting smarter, or maybe getting lazier. But this year I started to ask myself if big game hunting is really worth it or if I should just focus on scalies and be happy.

How about you guys?
 

Murdy

1
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
607
Location
North-Central Illinois
Haven't done it much since I moved out of the area, but some of my favorite hunting has been ruffed grouse in northern Wisconsin -- and those are delicious too.
 

texans42

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
1,215
From Laredo to NM to western Kansas. Private and public

I enjoy it, my dog passed so will be a while before I get one up and running again.

When I’m tagged out on deer, it’s time to go for a road trip, quail(blues and bobs) and pheasants
 

JPD350

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
503
Location
Abq NM
I am super thankful that I have the ability and the option to hunt public lands at all, while NM has many land access problems it has lots of public lands that are accessible. In my semi-retirement I will take advantage of the bounty public lands provide and hunt my butt off until I can't do it anymore, there isn't much better for a meal than a big or small piece of wild protein for dinner. This year is my English Pointers second season for birds, we both can't wait!!
 

Attachments

FLAK

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
762
Location
Daphne, AL.
I understand, I hunt public land down here on the Gulf Coast
for whatever is in season. 100K+ acres.
All kind of swamp critters: Deer, Pigs, Ducks, Nutria, Yotes, Cats,,,,,,,,
 

gadrahthaar

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
40
Location
Atlanta, GA
ElPollo, please don't give away all the good secrets. But more seriously, you should try chukar hunting, sounds like you'd like it.
 
OP
E

ElPollo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
24
Texans42... Life without a dog ain’t livin’. Don’t wish the new one through the puppy stage too fast. We always seem to want them to grow up so they quit peeing on stuff, quit destroying stuff and stop acting like a puppy... then we wish we had another puppy.

JPD... Nice oryx in your profile pic. Never could draw one when I was a resident. I’m now a New Mexican ex-pat trapped in Texas. My wife took a job at a University here and I’m probably stuck, but at least I’m only an hour or so from the line. Still hurts to put in as a non-resident and to hunt with TX plates. The draw rates for non-residents are abysmal, but I can still draw some of the crappier mulie tags. And year two for a bird dog is really the time to put the miles on. Hope their are birds close to home in the valley this year to get him finished. I know it was dry over there this spring. If you come out east shoot me a pm.

Flak... 100k acres on the gulf is way different than out here. Here it’s just about enough for 20 cows to starve on.

GAdeutchdog... I’d love to get up north for chukar. One of my bearded dogs came from ID and likes pointing scalies in the rocks on canyon rims. Always scares the hell out of me, like when he points prairie rattlers or decides a coyote ‘needs killin’. He likes living dangerously, but definitely keeps it interesting.

Nice chatting with you fellars. Have fun in the desert this winter. And say hi if you see an ugly guy with two bearded bird dogs in eastern NM.

El Pollo
 

30338

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
807
My drahthaar turns 2 on Nov 18th and loved hunting with him last fall. We start up this year tomorrow and hoping to pound some miles the next 3 months. Never hunted scalies but sound fun. Rattlesnaked proofed him this fall but as you know the prey drive is strong in the bearded ones.
 

Mt Al

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
308
Location
Montana
I ask that question more and more each year and will be leaning towards much more bird hunting. Can't pull myself away from big game just yet, especially when bird numbers are down.
 

boom

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
2,874
last year chasing scalies, i found a bundle of pot. about 100 lbs. (i wont post a pic ever..)

back to the scalies, there is no better sound of them thundering to air. they make the best sound in my opinion. my brother is going in again soon.i have to work. :(
 

JPD350

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
503
Location
Abq NM
JPD... Nice oryx in your profile pic. Never could draw one when I was a resident. I’m now a New Mexican ex-pat trapped in Texas. My wife took a job at a University here and I’m probably stuck, but at least I’m only an hour or so from the line. Still hurts to put in as a non-resident and to hunt with TX plates. The draw rates for non-residents are abysmal, but I can still draw some of the crappier mulie tags. And year two for a bird dog is really the time to put the miles on. Hope their are birds close to home in the valley this year to get him finished. I know it was dry over there this spring. If you come out east shoot me a pm.

El Pollo

Thanks, Oryx are some fine dining! I've only had one off range tag, maybe some day I'll get my on range tag.
The birds around ABQ have been dismal, last year around Roswell was also pretty bad compared to prior years, I hope this year is better. Where is out east for you?
 
OP
E

ElPollo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
24
I’m in the “hole in the doughnut of despair”... Lubbock,TX, but I hunt all the way from the Carlsbad area up to Portales. Rainfall was dismal from August to August, but came down after that. Too late for much in the way of broods, but the higher ground, closer to the Sacs and the Guads seems to have had some late breeding from the monsoons. Won’t be much of a year compared to a couple years back, but any day in the desert with bearded dogs is a good one.
 
OP
E

ElPollo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
24
My drahthaar turns 2 on Nov 18th and loved hunting with him last fall. We start up this year tomorrow and hoping to pound some miles the next 3 months. Never hunted scalies but sound fun. Rattlesnaked proofed him this fall but as you know the prey drive is strong in the bearded ones.
Bearded dogs are a trip aren’t they? Blood thirsty killers and hard core snugglers. I have two wirehairs. One came from ID and the other from ND.
 
OP
E

ElPollo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
24
last year chasing scalies, i found a bundle of pot. about 100 lbs. (i wont post a pic ever..)

back to the scalies, there is no better sound of them thundering to air. they make the best sound in my opinion. my brother is going in again soon.i have to work. :(
I’ve been roaming the border country since ‘94. My wife did a post-doc on desert toads on the Jornada del Muerto and the west Mesa down to the border. After that she started working out around Ajo, AZ on military, national park, and FWS land around the Devils Highway. We’ve seen lots of weird stuff on the border that we pretended not to see.
 
OP
E

ElPollo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
24
So I think I made my decision about the mulie hunt that started this discussion. I’m not gonna mud wrestle for a fork and horn with the crowds. The east side of my unit has a lot of BLM short grass country with no hunters. Fewer deer, but if I find a shooter, it’s likely to be bigger. Even if I don’t, my inner introvert will be much happier and so will my dogs.
 

tlowell02

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
163
Location
Sedan, NM
I’m in the “hole in the doughnut of despair”... Lubbock,TX, but I hunt all the way from the Carlsbad area up to Portales. Rainfall was dismal from August to August, but came down after that. Too late for much in the way of broods, but the higher ground, closer to the Sacs and the Guads seems to have had some late breeding from the monsoons. Won’t be much of a year compared to a couple years back, but any day in the desert with bearded dogs is a good one.
What brought you to Lubbock?
 

FlyGuy

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2016
Messages
1,361
Location
The Woodlands, TX
I lived in Lubbock for about three years, about 3 years ago. The area was short On quail and pheasant while I was there due to drought but I heard it picked up nicely right after I left. I know there is a breeder for WPG in the area as well.

The thing you don't want to overlook while you're there is the outstanding waterfowl hunting. That's what I really miss. That area has the best geese, duck and crane hunting on the planet! I never once paid to hunt (unless using an outfitter with clients). Just a friendly knock on a door or a call to an owner. I bet 80% of the time I was given permission to hunt and they usually said they would only charge me if I DIDN'T kill any! PM me if you want to chat more about it.

Sent from my SM-G610F using Tapatalk
 

eamyrick

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
398
Location
Central Texas
Blues are my favorite animal to hunt. I’ve hunted the NM oil fields for them the last 3 years and have even killed a few on Texas public land.
 

boom

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
2,874
i visited Lubbock last year to see what the fuss with Sandhill cranes was all about. (i now understand)

Lubbock..if i squint and stared into the distance really hard..i can see the back of my own head. that place is flat!!

i did raise my cholesterol a bit by eating at RED ZONE cafe two meals in a row. hehe..so inexpensive!
 
OP
E

ElPollo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
24
Lubbock isn’t a bad town. It just probably needs a mountain or a few million acres of grass more than most places. We’ve been here about 10 years. My wife brought us here for a job at TTU and we’ve been able to make a go of it.

The crane and goose hunting here is excellent and crane is fine eating. I do a bit of that with friends now and again. But as much as I like eating crane, I generally prefer wandering the desert to laying in a cotton field.

Scaled quail is definitely an up and down affair. Back in 2010-2011, you might have wondered if the drought killed them all. But they came back with a vengeance. A couple of years ago we were regularly having 20 covey days. This year is tough due to drought again, but we hope the winter moisture we are getting is going to set us up for another good breeding season.
 
Top