After Patrick (Border to Border Outfitters) and his liver roan GSP Rita had shown us a few things about hunting Gambel’s quail we moved on to look for another of the Arizona quail-slam species, scaled quail.
Patrick had some good ideas where to look for the “scalies” and over our three days together we hit up three different locations and various dogs on his string found coveys at each, four in total. The terrain was similar to the brushy pastures where we’d hunted Gambel’s but typically had a bit more deep grass for cover.
The scaled quail that we found were runners. Twice we saw them crossing bare patches, sprinting away and when only one or two would flush, the others just seemed to melt away into the surrounding grass.
Patrick’s dogs worked in big circles around the locations where they’d been seen but the thick and deep cover just didn’t provide the scenting conditions to track them down.
Late one morning Pace and Hank found a covey near a cattle water tank and then at the end of our hunting light one day Pea and Pearl interrupted a covey at the edge of an irrigated crop field. In both cases the birds made a dash into the surrounding thick cover and despite good follow-up efforts we ended up skunked.
Jackson and Tommy hunted a series of draws in a big country drainage that looked particularly good. The hard charging Tommy found one covey but, like the others, after an initial wild flush, they melted away.
Patrick and I both wanted to move on to the Mearn’s quail terrain so we left the flat land behind and headed for the hills. I was sorry that Patty and I hadn’t harvested any scaled quail but satisfied nonetheless. We’d both put in a good effort, as had Patrick and his string of guide dogs.
They’d shown us some beautiful Arizona quail country and we did see birds. We’d even been pretty close to a couple of rising coveys. We left without a scaled quail in the vest but with a plan to come back next year for another chance.