A Quail of a Time!Posted on: March 9, 2016, by : Redneck Country
A Quail of a Time!
Todd has asked me to write a story for The Redneck Country Web Page. I am Todd’s Father, my name is Don Millard and I turn 68 in May of this year 2016. I have been hunting with my Dad and Uncles since a young boy and on my own actually carrying a gun since age 15. In one of my future stories I would like to tell you something about those times and how I fell in love with hunting.
The story that I would like to relate today is a hunt that Todd gave me for the Christmas of 2011. When I was younger I enjoyed hunting Pheasants and Quail but they are harder to find today and even harder to get permission from the landowner to do so. Thus the gift of a hunt to the Exeter Game Farm.
We carried a pair of Ithaca 20 Gauge doubles on this hunt. Mine is a 26 inch barrel choked improved cylinder and modified. The one Todd carried is a 28 inch barrel choked modified and full. Again, the reason for, and how I acquired these nice doubles will be in another story of earlier times.
Christmas morning I opened a gift from Todd that contained information about a hunt that we would be taking as I have said to the Exeter Game Farm. The date we picked was the afternoon of May 19, 2012. We had paid for six Chukar Partridge and 16 Quail. We readied our guns, shells and vests while the owner and our guide placed the birds around the spacious property. We could hear the dogs barking in excitement as we waited, as this hunt also included shooting over pointers and they knew they were going hunting.
With the guide also wearing orange and the dogs roaming close in front of us, we started off. The dogs worked excellently and soon were on point. Todd told me to go ahead and flush the bird. As I moved toward the dog a Quail exploded into the air and the dog jumped for it. With Quail now moving at full speed at a quartering left angle I was very pleased to see it fall at my shot and the dog made a very fast retrieve. We took turns walking in on the dogs and then backing each other up. The next bird was a Chukar and Todd swung onto the bird flawlessly and made a nice shot with the dog making another great retrieve. I would like to say we never missed but that just didn’t happen. A couple of times we both missed and even missed with our back up shots. But not to worry, the guide and ourselves marked these birds as to where we thought they had landed and assured us that we would continue to follow the dogs , but would make sure to cover the areas where the birds had flown to. As we continued to shoot over the pointers I was walking in to flush a bird as a quail burst from the grass and flew directly at me. I was still about 10 or 15 yards from the dog and was not expecting the bird to come my way. It was just like a low house from station 8 in skeet, right in the middle between both the low house and the high house where you have to shoot the target coming at you before it passes over your head. This is where my instincts just kicked in. I swung on the rising bird right in front of me and pulled the trigger as I swung in front of it. I am sorry to say that I hit that bird dead center and there was nothing to take home. I turned to look at Todd who was standing behind me off a little to my right. He was picking entrails from his vest right on his chest area. The next thing I knew the dog brought me the head and then went and retrieved a wing. I then turned around to talk to Todd and saw a chukar running from the thick woods that borders the grassy field we were hunting. I hollered at Todd. “CHUKAR” and pointed. Todd turned around just in time to see the bird take flight while the dog jumped in the air trying to catch it. Todd made an excellent shot crossing from left to right at about 40 yards and another nice retrieve ensued. Later that afternoon a quail burst from a small bush right at me that a dog had flushed, but I was smart enough to follow the bird as it passed over my head and made the shot going away. The dog raced by me as I was making the shot and was there to make a perfect retrieve when the bird fell. After a break in the spacious lodge and a bottle of water for us and the dogs we went back out to follow up on the birds we missed. One quail had come down the edge of the field that is bordered by thick brush for about twenty yards and a beautiful stream. We determined that this bird had moved on into the brush as the dog was on his trail. The owner said it was up to us if we followed the dog into that tangled jungle and Todd decided to do so. After about five minutes of branch and brush breaking we heard a shot and a whoop and the dog came out of the brush with a bird in his mouth. Todd explained that he saw the bird flush in front of the dog at about twenty yards and moved his gun to an opening that the bird looked to be heading for and lead it correctly as it passed through the opening. The dog crashed through the bush and picked up the quail near the creek bank. Not all of the birds stayed where they were placed but the dogs did a nice job of finding them for us to flush. We ended the hunt with losing one quail but picking up one extra chukar that a group in the morning had missed, so we figured we had a very good day.
We have since returned to the Exeter Game Farm on a gift from a later Christmas that included Redneck Country Pro Staff member Scott Goodall and are looking forward to returning yet again this year on a gift that we all gave each other this past Christmas. This time it will include my Son-In-Law and Redneck Country member Rick Leach. I am looking forward to sharing more stories and reading the stories of others in the future.
– Don Millard – Redneck Country Real Redneck – 3/9/16