Numbers are not only increasing for these upland birds, but also for those that hunt them.
Story and Photography By Bill L. Olson
There was a time when large, multiple coveys per day of bobwhite quail challenged and thrilled upland bird hunters across the Lone Star State. During this time blue or scaled quail frustrated bird dogs while enticing hunters to bust brush in pursuit of a quarry that would rather run than flush.
I experienced some of those glory days in the 70s as a teenager and young adult while hunting with my Dad. Cotulla in South Texas and Breckenridge in North Texas were destinations that helped satisfy Dad and his friends’ urge to hunt these challenging feathered rockets that would launch themselves from grassy cover.
This was when big, tricked-out 4-wheel drive hunting rigs were becoming more common. Beside a number of hunters, several braces of pointers could be carried along with all of the needed hunting supplies, water, other gear for a day afield along with refreshments once the hunt was over. This was the luxurious way to cover lots of ground and extended many hunters’ careers of many as they got older.
Out of Cotulla the challenge was not only bobwhite quail, but also blue quail found near more open ground near prickly pear flats. These birds would rather run that flush which added a new challenge to the hunt with hunters having to race after them in order to put enough pressure on them to take flight.
In north Texas around Breckenridge the gently rolling terrain was loaded with bobwhites. Vehicles were generally used to get close, but the “old fashion” way of walking behind dogs working the wind was the way we hunted.
Over the years other locations around the state like Haskell County, around Woodsboro and Tilden bobwhite quail hunts with my family, or south of Marfa busting brush with a longtime friend while chasing blues is just some of the ground where my boot print has been left. Then quail populations started to decline.