California Quail Hunting

california quail

The California quail is a small ground-dwelling bird that can be distinguished by their curving crest or plume that droops forward (black in males and white in females) and their brown flanks with white streaks. California Quail males have a black face, dark brown cap, brown back, grey-blue chest and light brown belly. California Quail females on the other hand are mainly grey-brown with a light colored belly. When full grown, California Quail weigh about 7 or 8 oz.

The California Quail’s closest relative is the Gamble’s Quail. The California Quail is very social and gathers in coveys regularly. One of their daily activities is taking a dust bath. A typical diet for California Quail consists of sees, leaves, wheat and other small grains. California Quail are found in the western United States in open grasslands with ample amounts of water. Generally California Quail form coveys up to 50 during hunting season and up to 500 during the winter time.

When California Quail sense danger, they tend to run rather than flush; however, when they do flush they fly very low to the ground, right above the cover. It is fairly common for California Quail to run uphill, but it is not unusual for them to hold tight and not do anything at all.

With the California Quail's tendency to remain still, it is best to use close working dogs like the Brittany or English setters/pointers. Many hunters prefer to use a 20-gauge shotgun with a 7 1/2 or 8 shot.

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