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Arizona quail questions?

JLS

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Over Christmas we spent some time in Arizona. My in-laws have moved to the Kingman area, and my oldest daughter really wants to go to college in Phoenix. So, in anticipation of spending more time in the southwest desert I did a little research/reconnaissance for more adventures for me and Henry. Some questions on quail hunting:

How important are boots?

Are snakes a concern in December?

How tricky can it be finding water sources?

Is there a time of day that is better? Morning vs. afternoon?

How do Gambel's quail hold relative to California quail, or Huns? Or is it entirely dependent upon vegetation cover?

Thanks.
 

ovis2

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I'm no expert, but I used to live in New Mexico and did some quail hunting and I just spent 5 days (harvest-wise unsuccessful, but great time) chasing Coues in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix. Where we were sturdy boots would be a must - sharp rocks and steep country. It was cold enough (high 20's to mid-40's) that we never saw a reptile - although we saw a nearly dead scorpion in a hole. We saw several coveys of quail, and all but one were very near a water tank of some sort which were well marked on our topo maps. The one group not near water was up on a ridge line at mid-day. They didn't seem too spooky, although I suspect they do get hunted in that area as we found several expired shotgun shells. The desert is a fun, but surprising cold, place to be in late December. Have fun.
 

Gellar

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I have a buddy that lives near Tucson. Last year four of us traveled from the Midwest to go quail hunting. We don't have quail here in iowa, so I did not know what to expect. We brought 2 brittany's with us but being much different than whAt they were used to the dogs didn't help much. We mainly hunted dry ditches for Gambels and canyons for mearns. Water for the dogs was not hard to find, there were quite a few cattle tanks that were not full but had enough for the dogs. They did not wear boots, but next time they will. They had cuts and tears all over their feet. We mainly hunted afternoons because we would enjoy to many cocktails at night. It was very different from the pheasant hunting we have here, but I will be back!

This is the kind of terrain we found Gambel's in
10750134_10101513240835335_5571073936738453634_o.jpg


And this where we found Mearns
1965452_10101513240825355_3627766489140997715_o.jpg
 

Sawtooth

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Over Christmas we spent some time in Arizona. My in-laws have moved to the Kingman area, and my oldest daughter really wants to go to college in Phoenix. So, in anticipation of spending more time in the southwest desert I did a little research/reconnaissance for more adventures for me and Henry. Some questions on quail hunting:

How important are boots?

Are snakes a concern in December?

How tricky can it be finding water sources?

Is there a time of day that is better? Morning vs. afternoon?

How do Gambel's quail hold relative to California quail, or Huns? Or is it entirely dependent upon vegetation cover?

Thanks.

Haven't hunted quail in Arizona in quite a few years but I would definitely take advantage of any opportunity you might have as it was a blast (pun intended). To answer your questions:
1. Boots would be a good idea as there are lots of rock and every plant in the desert has thorns.
2. I have yet to run into any snakes when we were down in the Phoenix or Tucson Areas, but that is not to say they couldn't be present. Mornings are generally cooler and we normally limited by around noon, so we might have just been leaving when the snakes started moving around.
3. Water sources were usually marked on maps or easy to identify on Google Earth (all cattle trails lead to water) but I just brought a camels back full of water for both me and my dog.
4. We always hunted the mornings and like I mentioned in answer 2, we were usually done by noon or 1pm.
5. Gambel's quail love to run down the dry creek bottoms until they reach thick cover, usually some God forsaken cactus patch that will coat your dog with thorns. Only then will they hold well. Scale quail (cotton tops) hold like California Valley Quail and have a tendency to fly straight up about twenty feet in the air before leveling off and flying away.
Mearns quail are by far the most beautiful quail you will ever find and hold better than any gamebird around. When pressured the whole covey often bunch together and hold tight. Nothing like having twenty birds all take off from under your feet at the same time.

The best suggestion I can make for hunting in Arizona with a dog is to be ready to deal with the cactus. Every plant in the desert has thorns. The worst is the Chola cactus. When you or your dog come in contact with this plant you will know it. Your dog will come back with chunks of cactus stuck to it's side, and if you try to grab the pieces off with your hands you will be sorry. The best way to deal with Chola cactus is to take a comb with you that you can slide between the dogs skin and the chunk of cactus. After a few run-ins with this plant from hell a smart dog will start to steer clear, the dumb ones will be in a world of hurt after a few days of hunting in the desert.
 

JLS

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Thanks for the responses so far guys! To clarify, I'm asking about water sources in order find birds near it. I always carry water for my dog along with a collapsible dish.

For the cholla, would a metal comb work? The "T" shaped type?

I'll orders some boots. I noticed a lot of the soil around Kingman was decomposed granite soil and had the consistency of 20 grit.

Are the water tanks marked on the 1:24k topos? The biologist at AZGF gave me a website to look up that he said would have their water tanks/guzzlers marked on them.
 

Sawtooth

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JLS,
Metal "T" shaped comb? JLS are you sporting a 70"s fro? We just used a 4" plastic comb, but the longer handle of the "T" style which I think you are referring to might be of some benefit.
Water tanks will definitely attract the birds, but a little bit of rain in the desert and those birds will spread out and leave the tanks.
As far as which maps will have the tanks marked on them, I don't remember what scale they were as they belonged to a friend of mine.
You can boots if you want, but the guys we were hunting with down there just used motorcycle tires tubes to make their dog boots. Cut a five inch section of tire tube and duck tape one end closed.
Slide your dogs foot into the other end and tape it on. Keep some extra duck tape and a couple extra tube sections as a spare.
 
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Gellar

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Thanks for the responses so far guys! To clarify, I'm asking about water sources in order find birds near it. I always carry water for my dog along with a collapsible dish.

For the cholla, would a metal comb work? The "T" shaped type?

I'll orders some boots. I noticed a lot of the soil around Kingman was decomposed granite soil and had the consistency of 20 grit.

Are the water tanks marked on the 1:24k topos? The biologist at AZGF gave me a website to look up that he said would have their water tanks/guzzlers marked on them.

Some of the tanks are marked, but not all of them. If you see plastic jugs you are close to a tank! We were warned about the illegals, but did not encounter any. The first pic I posted is within spitting distance of the border. The poles on the hills are cameras. Actually one day we couldn't find one of the dogs and my buddy works for the border patrol so they used the cameras to find the dog! The second picture is looking into old Mexico but it is over a mile away!
 

JLS

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Where the Wild Things Are
10-4. I'll check out Google Earth and start marking some tanks. Most of my hunting will likely be between Kingman and Camp Verde, so I don't anticipate running into too many illegals that far north. At some point though, I certainly hope to get down along the border and try to find some of the Mearns and Scaled Quail.
 

1_pointer

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Indiana
Good luck! I've only hunted AZ quail twice and had a blast both times. Mearns live in some very cool country. The guy we hunted with made liberal use of his GPS collars and used some BIG running pointers. They held extremely well and that was at the end of the season.
 

Gr8bawana

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Nevada
Those thorns from Cholla cactus will not come out with a comb of any kind. You will have to pull them out one at a time with a pair of pliers. They seem to be barbed, they are VERY hard to pull out. If your dog has a clump of them don't try to pull it off with your bare hand, THEY WILL GET YOU. They also go through leather gloves very easily.
My brother had a dog we took quail hunting once. He took off running after a rabbit and came back with clumps of Cholla all over and between his toes. It took about half an hour to get them all out. Then he took off and did it again.
That was the first and last time we took that dog quail hunting.
 

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