Thursday, November 8, 2012
Jacks and Maggot Infested Quail
Kaiser still not in optimum hunting shape, I decided that we'd just hunt the evening. We arrived at our location around 2pm. There was plenty of sign with tracks everywhere. We sweeped the area for a couple hours and discovered no birds . While hiking back to the car, Kaiser began working the other side of the field and he began to get birdy. Hiking in more, a covey of ten flushed wild about 40 yards from me. Generally I will not take a shot at this distance but in my boredom I fired. Of course I missed. The covey flew over another hill. Debating whether to give chase or stay and work this part of the field to see it f there were any stragglers. Since I beat I was in no hurry climbing another hill so we continued to work this area. No other birds remained but Kaiser began to get birdy again. This time a jackrabbit flushed and I took him at about 35 yards.
Jacks are normally considered trash by most people I know and I normally don't shoot them. But I've been reading lately about a chef that actually prepares and eats them. Jacks are North America's hare. So they are big and their meat is dark and tough. I have several European cookbooks that have hare recipes so I decided that if one flushes on me I'd take him and give it a try. If it tastes like garbage like many American hunters claim it will just become dog food for Kaiser.
After searching this area I decided to see if I could refind that covey of ten. I climbed the hill and sweeped back. This proved only a waste of time. These birds split. This season no birds are holding for a point and they are flushing wild and at distance.
We moved up the road to try anther section that I've always bypassed. I climbed this hill and found more track. We sweeped the area and found nothing so we headed back to the car. I continued to search the area and a lone male valley quail flushed wild at about 35 yards. I took a shot with the mod barrel of my Merkel and missed. Last week I could miss, this week I sucked. We worked this area some more when Kaiser began to get birdy. He flash pointed a bush and charged in before I scream WHOA! but it was too late he emerged out of that bush with a dead male valley quail. Mostly likely a bird shot that a hunter could not find. It must have been a few days old, although the feathers still bright, he was missing his eyes and as I plucked some feathers, I found a maggot so I dropped it and left it for the coyotes.