Cleveland NF Scouting Advice

cal_ore_outdoors

New Member
Sep 14, 2020
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I’m new to the forum and have only been getting into upland birds the past 3 seasons. So far I’ve gotten more familiar with Imperial Valley for Dove/Quail, and called in a Tom in CNF but he managed to keep cover between us so I never got the shot.

My question is on scouting within CNF for quail/turkey. OnX and google earth has been great, but there have been quite a few tanks of gas burned only to get to a spot that is so overgrown/thick that even if I found a bird I likely couldn’t retrieve.

Are there any features/terrain that you look at on OnX or Google Earth that make you eliminate a spot before you would make a trip? Any general regions that you eliminate as a waste of time?

I’ve had a ton of fun getting out to explore and learn, but the more places I see the more I want to avoid wasting time behind the wheel when I could be putting miles on the boots.

I think I can recognize good general habitat in person (learning more each trip), but I know sometimes I’ve struck out on the digital tools in weeding out low probability areas.


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Wildgame

Well-Known Member
Feb 11, 2019
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It takes time, it cost money and it frustrates most..and that is the number 1 reason why when people find a decent spot people will not talk about it...would you? ...

Do you know how to read the topo lines well? That's something to consider.

This is what I learned last year.

1)Plan for plan A, plan B and plan C....really, you don't want to drive all the way and turn around..find options...go check out other areas nearby.
2)Quail in the Forrest is most likely mountain Quail and they are a PITA..but guess what...they are also by the roads and by the side of the trails in the early AM, sometimes right by where you park your car...dont get out of the car and go hike..STOP, chill for a little while, be quiet and watch from the distance especially the edge of the trails or the bottom of the bushes...what you see walking fast and hiding under the bushes are not little birds..most times are quail that keep very very quiet.
3)Just plain google the area you are planning on going and look for images...you will be surprised what you find, people like hikers post all kinds of pics, trail descriptions, locations and you get an idea what the area might look like.
4)Animals also like open areas like we do...last year I saw 6 turkeys parading in an open field going back and forth over a trail. Sometimes keeping it simple is a good idea.

Last year hunting deer a buddy of mine and I got stuck in a place we thought we could cross to get out. Once we got to the bottom we found it was super treacherous and way overgrown. We never saw that coming..it got dark and it took us hours to get out. We learned to have more than one exit plan.

I think the answer is " you don't know until you go."
 

SurfNHuntSD

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2013
3,883
2,966
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San Diego
I'd focus on finding oak stands, open sagebrush, and riparian areas, which is where your valley quail will be. Forget about the thick/steep stuff.. the birds are in there but good luck hunting that. Mountain quail are a bit trickier to locate as they're everywhere and nowhere.. gotta be up higher in elevation obviously, but I usually find them where the edge of an open area butts up against forest, and coming out of ditches and creek bottoms. Hope this helps.
 

cal_ore_outdoors

New Member
Sep 14, 2020
4
3
3
42
It takes time, it cost money and it frustrates most..and that is the number 1 reason why when people find a decent spot people will not talk about it...would you? ...

Do you know how to read the topo lines well? That's something to consider.

This is what I learned last year.

1)Plan for plan A, plan B and plan C....really, you don't want to drive all the way and turn around..find options...go check out other areas nearby.
2)Quail in the Forrest is most likely mountain Quail and they are a PITA..but guess what...they are also by the roads and by the side of the trails in the early AM, sometimes right by where you park your car...dont get out of the car and go hike..STOP, chill for a little while, be quiet and watch from the distance especially the edge of the trails or the bottom of the bushes...what you see walking fast and hiding under the bushes are not little birds..most times are quail that keep very very quiet.
3)Just plain google the area you are planning on going and look for images...you will be surprised what you find, people like hikers post all kinds of pics, trail descriptions, locations and you get an idea what the area might look like.
4)Animals also like open areas like we do...last year I saw 6 turkeys parading in an open field going back and forth over a trail. Sometimes keeping it simple is a good idea.

Last year hunting deer a buddy of mine and I got stuck in a place we thought we could cross to get out. Once we got to the bottom we found it was super treacherous and way overgrown. We never saw that coming..it got dark and it took us hours to get out. We learned to have more than one exit plan.

I think the answer is " you don't know until you go."
Thanks [mention]Wildgame [/mention] . I am definitely guilty of pulling up to a spot and immediately getting out of the vehicle.

I have checked out images from the AllTrails app, but hadn’t even thought about some of the stuff posted to google maps. I’m going to give that a try.

And I quickly learned to appreciate staying tight lipped after finding spots.

Thanks again.


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Horto619

Well-Known Member
May 17, 2018
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Welcome! This is only my 3ed season but Google earth and the topos from OnX have been really useful to helping me find areas I can access. Unfortunately out here it does take boots on the ground and lots of miles hiking with a gun. What is great is you might go hunting for deer but end up finding a quail or turkey spot or vice versa. I have also used AllTrails to help find access points and some people post pictures of the terrain on there as well.

As far as what to avoid when using google earth is if its large patches of dark green it's usually super thick and not easy to access. Just remember that like humans, animals will take the path of least resistance. Don't count out areas right away..you never know what you'll find if you go back a few times.
 

sdolan617

Active Member
May 30, 2018
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Orange County
Not specific to quail/turkey but focusing on areas that have burned in the last 10 years is generally a good start if your looking for areas that aren't completely choked up with chaparral. If your using ONX there's a map layer that shows historical burn areas.

Generally speaking, I also like cross referencing anywhere I plan on scouting with Google Earth Pro (desktop). I find Google Earth 3D mapping and satellite views give me a better understanding of the terrain/vegatation vs. a straight topo map or top down satellite view.

Also, once you find a spot that holds birds/game, study that terrain, what it looks like from satellite view, what are the terrain features their using i.e. creek bottom, south facing slope, etc. and you'll get better at crossing terrain off the list when e-scouting (which is half the battle).
 
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cal_ore_outdoors

New Member
Sep 14, 2020
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42
Not specific to quail/turkey but focusing on areas that have burned in the last 10 years is generally a good start if your looking for areas that aren't completely choked up with chaparral. If your using ONX there's a map layer that shows historical burn areas.

Generally speaking, I also like cross referencing anywhere I plan on scouting with Google Earth Pro (desktop). I find Google Earth 3D mapping and satellite views give me a better understanding of the terrain/vegatation vs. a straight topo map or top down satellite view.

Also, once you find a spot that holds birds/game, study that terrain, what it looks like from satellite view, what are the terrain features their using i.e. creek bottom, south facing slope, etc. and you'll get better at crossing terrain off the list when e-scouting (which is half the battle).
Thanks [mention]sdolan617 [/mention] . I’m definitely paying more attention to burns now. I think I originally thought it was more relevant to deer, and the quail wouldn’t care as much. Reality set in that I gotta get myself moved through the same terrain.


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