February is quail hunting season, so it’s time to grab your pup, pack your bow, and bag a table full of delicious birds for your family and friends. Using a bow for your quail hunting offers a unique challenge, but you can increase your success rate in no time with the help of some simple tips.
Get The Lay of the Land
Quail are famous for seeking cover for themselves when they’re not in flight. They favor wooded areas near large grassy fields, and will spend most of the mid- to late afternoon and evenings in the woods. When you’re scouting a place to hunt, look for an area with plenty of fresh quail tracks, with the woods to your back, so you have a clear shot as they cross the field to feed. If there are no wooded areas near your hunting location, search for rock outcroppings or fenced areas that serve a similar purpose for the birds.
Learn Their Patterns
Quail follow a fairly strict routine. In the first couple of hours after sunrise, they’ll be in the grass feeding, but will return to the woods about 10 a.m. They return for their afternoon feeding around 4 p.m., just as the sun starts to set. Observe the patterns of the birds at your hunting spot. You’ll be able to learn their particular routine so you’re ready to fire when they’re in the open.
Move Into the Wind
Quail have incredibly good hearing, and they sound as their primary source of warning for potential danger. While you should always be quiet on the hunt, when quail hunting, any sound you make is even more amplified. Walk into the wind when you set up your hunting position and when you pursue the birds. This will make it harder for them to hear you, allowing you to get closer to the birds and improve your accuracy.
Invest in Bird Points or Basket Points
Blunt points are common for small game, but bird or basket points are your best bet when quail hunting. These tips use a series of wire loops around the head, which can break the neck or wing of a fast moving bird. Think of them like flak cannons used for anti-aircraft defense; even if you don’t hit your target head-on, you can still score a kill. The large size of the points do dramatically increase wind resistance, so you may find that your shots don’t have the same power and distance that you’re used to. Plan to spend a little time at the range getting adjusted to the new points before taking them hunting.
Wait Until the End of the Season
The first few days of quail hunting season are a mad rush, as hundreds of avid hunters set out to land the biggest bird. Early season hunting can be good, because many of the birds aren’t yet accustomed to the dangers hunters present. However, the overcrowding of the fields may make finding a good position difficult. The end of the season still has huge convoys of quail out in the open, but your competition for the perfect shot is much lower.
Armed with a little bit of knowledge and the right equipment, your quail hunting trips are sure to yield more birds than ever before. Good luck, and happy hunting!