Quail Scouting Help

Driz

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Oct 3, 2019
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So I finally ventured off the deep end into public-public land to scout/hunt for quail! I’ve only ever hunted them twice (successfully) on Camp Pendleton so this was my first time ever on general public land to look for upland game. I drove from OC to this area south of Acton in the National Forest. Long story short I didn’t find anything and need advice:p I picked out some prime looking areas around springs and creeks and called but didn’t see or hear any quail sign. Saw plenty of coyote, deer, and mountain lion sign and a rabbit but no quail.
I mainly searched in the foothills and riparian areas b/c that’s usually where to find quail on CPEN, and because I thought that was the key distinguishing feature in the landscape. So if that doesn’t hold them idk what does. Do they stay up higher in the hills this time of year? Also, if you don’t hear any calls or responses to yours do you keep searching or move on right away? Maybe the forage wasn’t right? You guys tell me. Sorry I wish I took more photos.



After the morning, I decide to head over to the desert areas around Victorville, but got caught up in a HUGE dust storm out there so I had to cut my journey short.

I learned how much patience and time scouting public land takes. New respect for this sport.



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SteveHazard

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Oct 24, 2018
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They will be there but it does take awhile to know the ends and out of a particular area. I was in that general area before the season and saw some. Tried when it opened and didn't see any but it was an extremely windy day and I didn't put many miles down. At this time the birds might be spending more of their time either higher up where the springs are still running above ground or lower closer towards homes/ranch property. It would be perfect if we had a string of guzzlers running though that area but we don't. They're still there but chances of bumping them is greater closer to the water sources.

I will usually walk pretty quick but going back and forth to bushes I'd think they'd hide in, stop, call, listen, then repeat. The more miles you put down the greater the chance you have of bumping a covey. Vegetation wise I gravitate toward the rubber rabbitbrush (or bush??) they tend to like that stuff a lot. Look in the dusty areas for prints, roadsides, washes, etc. This will be an indication of the area. Your looking for an area to be loaded with prints not a few random birds that past though. And it's possible to just go in circles the birds are in a concentrated group and your only one person. It's possible to go around and miss each other, that's why I think putting down the miles helps the most. If you hear something moving in the brush investigate it. Your listening for bushes moving, a bird flushing, their assembly call, or their pit pit alarm/close calls.

When you encounter birds after multiple trips to the same area you'll find they have micro spots they tend to favor. When you do this for multiple spots you'll start to recognize these types of favored spots in new spots. It takes time in the field to get used to all these different things. Good luck out there.
 

ilovesprig

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Don't doubt that there's quail in the Acton area, but I would go farther north & west off of Hwy 14...The lower Sierra's were always my go to, especially around Lake Isabella...Onyx helps a lot these days...Out of the way springs, guzzlers, and any water source is always a great place to start...Like Steve said, there's no replacement for walking in likely looking country...Mountain quail will be quite high until the snows come...Valley quail as implied in their name prefer valleys, draws, sandy creek bottoms, and rocky type areas...Thick brush is their friend...Send me a pm...I'll pinpoint some areas that used to produce.

ps...Sadly, some of the best quail hunting was right here in SoCal...Riverside, Temecula, Vail Lake, San Berdo areas had low hills and a lot of farming nearby...Oh, and water sources.
 
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WaterDawg

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Never looked around Acton. All of my quail spots were found just driving, hiking and looking and listening. Once you find some, you’ll almost always find them again in the same area.
 
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TheGDog

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Nov 28, 2018
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Around that area... or at least, the area I visit that is a little bit more north from there...as Steve mentioned, it can get very windy. Look for areas that are tucked behind larger hills which help get them down outta that wind. Also in the PM if you can find a draw or Ravine where there are those bushes that shed a bunch of little seeds... and it's doing that just above some rocks embedded into the side of the draw/ravine. I often see Quail meandering thru those for the easy-pickens of the fallen seed while in the PM shadows.. when its a draw that faces North<-->South.

If you happen to see Ground-Squirrels in an area, it's a darn good bet Quail are near there too. You said you saw coyote, so you can be pretty sure there are Quail and Ground-Squirrels there too.
 
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Driz

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Thanks guys. That was super informative! The hardest part of hunting for me has always been finding my quarry in an area in the first place. But once I know birds are in an area, I’ll have no problem calling them in with the call I got from @SteveHazard


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ilovesprig

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With all due respect to Steve...I've hunted quail all my life and have never Called "IN" a quail...Calls are made for locating quail...Just trying to save you some time waiting for them coming in... ;)
 

Driz

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I’m nasty on a quail call lol! I always bring a call with me regardless of what I’m hunting and have called covies right to me on more than one occasion which is how I got my first and only quail. But yeah it doesn’t always work.

It’s funny when they finally see me though with confused looks on their faces. Priceless!


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SteveHazard

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Oct 24, 2018
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They don't really come "IN" to calls during the season. I have had a single come in once or twice over the years but it's for locating them. The times I've tried to get them to come "IN" for the hell of it there usually is a number of them sitting just out of range behind a bush. I suspect they are all over thinking what is wrong with that stupid lone quail that can't come over the last little distance to join the covey. I've heard you can call males in during the spring but that doesn't matter for hunting.
 

WaterDawg

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I’m nasty on a quail call lol! I always bring a call with me regardless of what I’m hunting and have called covies right to me on more than one occasion which is how I got my first and only quail. But yeah it doesn’t always work.

It’s funny when they finally see me though with confused looks on their faces. Priceless!


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Confused quail look.
 

TonyS

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Understand that quail do not 'come in'. The purpose of them answering your call is to let you know where the covey is. So you can come to them. Be careful when you do approach. There will always be a sentinel watching for you.
 
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Driz

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Hey Driz , those pictures you posted , they have a foot of snow there today .
Crazy to think I was just driving through a hot sandstorm leaving that area on Monday and now there’s snow closing Cajon Pass


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