California Quail Hunting Info

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2015 -2016 California Quail Hunting Season

Archery Quail Season  - Archery-only season: Aug 15 2015 - Sep 4 2015. During general season archery is also allowed.

Falconry Quail Season - Falconry season Aug 15 2015 - Feb 29 2016.

Early Mountain Quail Season

Early Mountain Quail Season (Mountain Quail only, Zone Q1)Sep 12 2015 - Oct 16 2015. Zone Q1: The early mountain quail season hunting zone includes the counties of Alpine, Butte, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity, and those portions of Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolomne, Tulare, and Yuba counties lying east of the western boundary of the national forests.

Early Mountain Quail Season ( All Quail species, Zone Q1)Oct 17 2015 - Jan 31 2016. Zone Q1: The early mountain quail season hunting zone includes the counties of Alpine, Butte, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity, and those portions of Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolomne, Tulare, and Yuba counties lying east of the western boundary of the national forests.

Early Coastal Season (All species, Zone Q2): Sep 26 2015 - Jan 31 2016. Zone Q2: The early coastal quail season (all species) hunting zone includes the counties of Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino.

General Quail Season (Zone 3) Balance of the State Season (All species, Zone Q3): Oct 17 2015 - Jan 31 2016. Zone Q3: The balance of the state season (all species) hunting zone includes the remaining land area not included in Zone Q2 the counties of Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino).

Mojave National Preserve Early Junior Hunt: - Oct 3-4 2015. 

2015 -2016 California Quail Hunting Zones

Quail Hunt Zone Map -

Zone Q1:The early mountain quail season hunting zone includes the counties of Alpine, Butte, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity, and those portions of Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolomne, Tulare, and Yuba counties lying east of the western boundary of the national forests.

Zone Q2: The early coastal quail season (all species) hunting zone includes the counties of Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino.

Zone Q3: The balance of the state season (all species) hunting zone includes the remaining land area not included in Zone Q2 the counties of Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino).

California Quail Hunt Zone Map

2015 -2016 California Quail Hunting Regs

DAILY BAG LIMIT: Daily Bag Limit 10 quail in any combination of species per day.

POSSESSION LIMIT:30. You must also fill out a "Declaration for Entry" form to comply with Importation law: Section 2353 of the California Fish & Game Code if you bring any game into California from another state or country. You can get the "Declaration for Entry" form here.

LICENSE REQUIREMENTS: Hunting License: You must possess a California hunting license in addition to the Upland Game Stamp. The cost of a hunting license is:

Annual resident hunting license - $47.01.
Junior annual resident hunting license - $12.45. (Required for any resident or nonresident less than 16 years of age who takes birds or mammals. To qualify, hunter must be less than 16 years of age at the beginning of the license year (July 1).
Non resident annual hunting license - $163.65. (Required for any nonresident 16 years of age or older who takes birds or mammals).
One-Day Nonresident license, age 16 and over (not valid for big game) - $22.42. IMPORTANT! This license is only available for nonresidents taking resident and migratory game birds on Licensed Game Bird Clubs (Upland Game Bird Stamp is also required) or Licensed Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Areas (Federal Migratory Bird Stamp and California Duck Stamp are also required).
Two-Day Nonresident license, age 16 and over (not valid for big game) - $47.01. Required for any person 16 years of age or older, for taking resident and migratory game birds, resident small game mammals, nongame mammals and furbearers for two consecutive days. IMPORTANT! This license is NOT valid for deer, bear, antelope, elk, bighorn sheep or pig.
Reduced Fee, Disabled Veteran - $6.95 at CDFW Offices, $7.30 from License Agents.

Recovering Service Member Hunting License - $6.95. Available to any recovering service member. A recovering service member is defined as a member of the armed forces, including a member of the National Guard or a Reserve, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy and is in an outpatient status while recovering from a serious injury or illness related to the member's military service. The license is only available at CDFW License Sales Offices.

Recovering Service Member Reduced-Fee Hunting License

Duplicate Hunting License - $10.54.
Harvest Information Program Stamp (HIP) - No fee. Required for any person hunting ducks, dove, gallinules, geese, band-tailed pigeon, black brant, coots, and snipe. This validation is free to hunters who complete the Harvest Information Program (HIP) Survey. The validation is available where hunting licenses are sold. The HIP Validation is imprinted on your hunting license document when you answer the HIP Survey questions. If you hunt migratory game birds, verify that a HIP Validation has been printed on your hunting license. The HIP Survey provides wildlife biologists with data needed to make wildlife management decisions and formulate hunting seasons. More information about HIP.
Upland Bird Stamp - $9.46. Required for any person taking upland game bird species, excluding juniors hunting under the authority of a junior hunting license.

The California hunting license is good from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. California resident and nonresident hunting licenses are nonrefundable and nontransferable.

Definition of Resident. A resident is defined as any person who has resided continuously in California for six months immediately before the date of application for a license, tag or permit; persons on active duty with the armed forces of the United States or an auxiliary branch; or Job Corps enrollees.

Disabled Veteran Hunting Licenses. A $6.95 hunting license is available for qualified disabled veterans. Available to any resident or nonresident honorably discharged disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who takes birds or mammals. Certification from the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs is required at the time of application or a copy of a previous year’s California Disabled Veteran’s Hunting License. The first license must be purchased from a DFG License Sales Office. Subsequent licenses may be purchased from any license agent or online.

Hunter Education Special Requirement. Hunting licenses shall be issued to hunters only upon presentation of one of the following:

An annual California hunting license from a prior year or evidence of having held such a license; a California hunter education completion or equivalency certificate; a certificate of competence or completion of a California approved hunter education training course from any state or Canadian province; or a current year hunting license from any state, province, European country or South Africa. For further information, contact any DFG office or license agent. A California hunter education validation stamp must be affixed to hunter education certificates from California.

Hunter Ed classes: Classes are given throughout the state. Classes are listed below by county. Check the list to find a class in your area.  If you cannot find a class, phone the Regional Hunter Education Coordinator and request information. Information on classes may also be obtained from sporting goods stores, license agents and sport shooting and hunting clubs.

Home Study / On-Line Classes

On-line courses are available at HunterExam California and International Hunter Education Association . The on-line course in itself will not get you a valid hunter education certificate. Once you have completed one of the above on-line courses, you will still need to attend a 4 hour follow-up home study/on-line class with a certified hunter education instructor. Access is permitted to the Home Study and On-line 4 hour follow-up class only after a student has completed the written Home Study or On-line component of the class. Contact the local District Coordinator for more information on the Home Study or On-line class.

Hunting Mentors And New Hunters Looking For A Mentor: We have forum where mentors and new hunters can hook up with each other. This is a great way to give back to the sport if you are a seasoned hunter. This is also an excellent resource for the new hunter to learn from a mentor who can help show them the ropes.

BAITING: According to the California Fish and Game Code, resident game birds and mammals may not be taken within 400 yards of any baited area. (a) Definition of Baited Area. As used in this regulation, “baited area” shall mean any area where shelled, shucked or unshucked corn, wheat or other grains, salt, or other feed whatsoever capable of luring, attracting, or enticing such birds or mammals is directly or indirectly placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, and such area shall remain a baited area for ten days following complete removal of all such corn, wheat or other grains, salt, or other feed.

ELECTRONIC CALLING: Electronic or mechanically-operated calling or sound-reproducing devices are prohibited when attempting to take resident game birds.

LIVE DECOYS: The use of live decoys is prohibited when attempting to take resident game birds

SHOOTING FROM VEHICLES: DFG reg. 252. No person shall pursue, drive, herd, or take any bird or mammal from any type of motor-driven air or land vehicles, motorboat, airboat, sailboat, or snowmobile, except: 1) When the motor of such motorboat, airboat, or sailboat has been shut off and/or the sails furled and its progress therefrom has ceased, and it is drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor, or is being propelled by paddle, oar or pole. (2)if they have a Mobility Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle License.

RADIO USE WHILE HUNTING: It is legal to use and posses two way radios while hunting in California.

DOGS: You can use dogs to hunt quail in California.

TRESPASS: If the land you hunt on is not your own, it belongs to someone else. Make sure you have a legal right to be there. Contact the owner or person who administers the property, and secure written permission to hunt. A hunting license does not entitle you to enter private property. It is unlawful to enter any lands under cultivation or enclosed by a fence, belonging to, or occupied by, another, or to enter any uncultivated or unenclosed lands, including lands temporarily inundated by waters flowing outside the established banks of a river, stream, slough, or other waterway, where signs forbidding trespass are displayed at intervals not less than three to the mile along all exterior boundaries and at all roads and trails entering such lands, for the purpose of discharging any firearm or taking or destroying any mammal or bird, including any waterfowl, on such lands without having first obtained written permission from the owner of such lands, or his agent, or the person in lawful possession thereof. Such signs may be of any size and wording, other than the wording required for signs under Section 2017, which will fairly advise persons about to enter the land that the use ot such land is so restricted. Section 2016, Fish and Game Code.

What is the fine for a trespass infraction ticket? Look it up here:

Page #117 starts the Hunting infractions.

2016 M Trespass While Hunting = $760

2000 M Unlawful Taking or Possessing of Fish or Wildlife = $760

Click the link below to get the trespass permission slip you can print.

SAFETY: It is always unlawful to: Place on, or carry or possess a loaded rifle or shotgun in a vehicle or conveyance or its attachments on any public road or other way open to the public: Hunt while intoxicated; Shoot at any game bird from a powerboat, sailboat, motor vehicle, or aircraft while under power or still moving from use of sail or motor. (See Section 251) Shoot any firearm from or upon a public road or highway.

DISCHARGING FIREARMS OR OTHER DEADLY WEAPONS SAFETY ZONE: It is unlawful for any person, other than the owner, person in possession of the premises, or a person having the express permission of the owner or person in possession of the premises, to hunt or to discharge while hunting, any firearm or other deadly weapon within 150 yards of any occupied dwelling house, residence, or other building or any barn or other outbuilding used in connection therewith. The 150-yard area is a “safety zone.”


California Quail Forecast


Reports from the JHO Upland Forum say the hatch was NOT GOOD this spring. Not many chicks spotted, mostly holdover adults. A few reports of small coveys of quail so you never know, get out there and check your spots and see what you can find. Scout some new spots for next year, you just might get lucky and find some shooting.


California Quail Unlimited & Quail & Upland Wildlife Federaton Chapter Contacts:

Los Banos QU Chapter #525, Larry Carmo, Chapter Secretary 836 Foothill Court, Los Banos, CA. 93635. PH# 209-826-4748 or Bill Collins, Chapter Treasurer, 1233 Arizona Ave., Los Banos, CA. 93635. PH# 209-826-2873.
Fresno Chapter E-mail:
Ventura Chapter General Info: Russ Lovell, E-mail
Orange County Chapter: Terry Hauser, E-mail
Riverside Chapter: Randy Stevens, e-mail
Ridgecrest Chapter Chairman:
San Diego Chapter: HomePage, Contact: C. Davidson. E-mail
Santa Clarita Chapter: Michael Brinkman PH# 805-296-8521, (home) fax: PH# 805-296-9433. E-mail:
San Gabriel Chapter: PH# 562-308-1322 x1045 - voicemail/fax. E-mail
Stockton Chapter, Chairman Larry Costabile. PH# 209-334-1685, E-mail
Temecula Chapter, Kurt Stingley, Chairman, PH# 909-658-7268 Serving SW Riverside/NW San Diego.
The TriCity Chapter #636, Serving Calaveras, Amador and eastern Stanislaus counties. Chairwoman Kat Juarez-Sutton PH# 209-736-2369. Co-chair, Tina Markley PH# 209-533-9375.
Northern California State Committee Chairman, Rick Besecker Atascadero, Fresno, Los Banos, Monterey, and Stockton areas QU Northern California State Committee 612 E Shields Ave. Fresno, CA 93704. PH# 209-297-8361. E-Mail:
Quail Unlimited
.... Quail Unlimited was established in 1981 to battle the problem of dwindling quail and wildlife habitat. Quail Unlimited, Inc. is the only national, non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the wise management of America's wild quail as a valuable and renewable resource.
Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation
.... Formed in 2009, the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, Inc™ (QUWF), based in Buffalo, Missouri, a rural community whose agricultural roots and moral compass reflect the core of QUWF, was organized to better focus efforts, donated dollars and partnerships on immediate and positive habitat projects to “Turn-The- Dirt“©™ for upland wildlife.
Santa Clarita Valley Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation
....  Facebook Page. These guys are great folks, help them out when you can.


Quail Publications

The following publications provide useful information for those wanting to hunt quail in California:

Western Birds Newsletter

California Game And Fish .... CA hunting magazine.
California Sportsman ....Many of the writers from Fish & Hunting News are here.

California Upland Game Magazine .... 16 page full magazine published twice yearly covering quail, pheasant, wild turkeys, chukar, grouse, rabbits and squirrels. Call PH # 916-653-4263 to receive it in the mail, or pick it up at your nearest regional office.
California Game and Fish Magazine .... Excellent monthly magazine for $14.97 yearly. PH# 1-770-953-9222.
Fishing and Hunting News .... No longer around.
CA DFG "Guide to Hunting the Quail of California" .... is a good quail hunting publicaton to have in your library. Due to budget cuts these guides are  hard to find now, check your DFG regional offices.
Western Birds .... A great 8 page newsletter published by Jim Matthews, with maps and insider info on all kinds of upland birds. $100.00 per year. Get 2 or 3 of your buddies to split the cost and you're into the birds. P.O. Box 9007, San Bernardino, CA 92427-0007 or call Jim Matthews at PH #1-909-887-3444. Email
Western Outdoor News .... Fine weekly newspaper with maps and tons of timely reports. $36.95 for 52 issues. Ph# 1-714-546-4370. Call the 'Hunter's Hotline' to give your story for publishing. Ph # 1-714-546-4370 ext. 48 or fax: 1-714-662-3486 or e-mail:
Wing Beat News .... No longer plublished due to DFG budget and staff reductions.

Quail Biology 101

Source: CA DFG "Guide to Hunting the Quail of California".

California has three native species of quail, the California quail, the mountain quail and the Gambel's quail. Between the three of them, there is not a county in the state without at least one species. Both the California quail and the mountain quail are found from one end of the state to the other, whereas Gambel's quail is found only in the southeast comer of the state. This group of game birds offers some of the most exciting and challenging upland hunting to be found anywhere.

The California quail is the most commonly recognized of the three species, and is the most widely distributed of the three, comprising most of the annual quail harvest. It is a bird which will often hold for dogs. Opportunities for hunting this quail on public lands are good throughout most of the state.

The Mountain quail, inhabiting most mountain ranges, is the most difficult to hunt because of its fondness for running, steep terrain, and dense cover, and its dislike for flying. Mountain quail hunters average only a little better than one quail per day hunted, whereas California and Gambel's quail hunters average twice that per day hunted. However, to the persistent hunter go the rewards of what is considered to be one of the finest eating of upland game birds.

The Gambel's quail is found throughout most of the southeastern part of California. The best populations occur along the Colorado river, in the Coachella and Imperial valleys, and in the desert mountains of eastern San Bernardino county. The Gambel's quail is usually a running bird that likes to flush well out. Once the covey has scattered, single or double birds can provide excellent hunting either with or without a dog. Fortunately, most of this quail's habitat exists on public lands

Quail are the fourth most popular game species in terms of time spent in pursuit, behind only deer, doves, and ducks. They provide the second highest yield in terms of hunter success, second only to doves. During the last 32 years an average of 172,000 quail hunters have bagged 1,712,000 birds annually, 75 percent California quail, 20 percent mountain quail, and 5 percent Gambel's quail. These hunters have spent a total of 634,800 days each yew hunting. The average hunter spends 5.8 days hunting per year and brings home, on average, 3.9 quail per day, or 9.4 quail per year. Between 1990-91 and 1991-92 quail hunters in California have bagged over 56 million quail!

The following  summarizes the combined average hunter effort and success during the 1991-92 seasons. The information comes from the annual "Hunter Survey" conducted by the California Department of Fish and Game. California, Mountain, and Gambel's Quail:

  • Average seasonal bag per hunter: 9.4
  • Average number quail bagged per day hunted: 1.6
  • Average number of days in the field per hunter: 4.1

The size of quail populations in any given year fluctuates more in the northern and southern counties of the state than in the central counties. Good rainfall in the southern counties can produce large populations, whereas in the northern counties cold winters or, wet springs can produce small populations. It generally follows that the more quail there are, the more hunters that hunt them, the more time they spend hunting them, and the more quail they harvest.

Hen and cock California Valley quailCalifornia quail: (Callipepla californica) Also known as the valley quail.

The male, about 9-11 inches long, is more colorful than the female. He has a black throat circled with a white line, and the top of his head is dark brown with a plume of short, black, curved feathers. A chestnut patch is in the middle of the stomach, his breast, is scaled, and his sides are burnish gray streaked with white dashes. The female is similar, but has a shorter plume (about 1/2 the size) and a brown-gray head without all the white and black markings of the male. Average weight is about 6-7 ounces for both sexes. The call most commonly heard during the fall and winter months is their assembly call, a metallic sounding "Chi-ca-go", Thi-wa-ka". When excited California quail make a metallic "Pit, pit, pit" sound.

Click here to hear the California quail assembly "Chi-ca-go" call.

Click here to hear the warning "Pit, pit, pit" call of the California quail.

The California quail is associated with a combination of brushy vegetation and more open weedy or grassy habitat with some water supply. They avoid dense forests and dense chaparral. Food is usually abundant throughout the California quail's range. During the fall, the most important foods of the California quail, in order of importance, are the seeds of legumes, annual weeds, grasses, and fruits and leaves of woody plants. Once winter rains have started, their diet changes to one consisting mostly of the green leaves of forbs, clovers, and grasses. These foods may become scarce through overgrazing or a drought, or inaccessible due to a lack of cover.  To see a picture of the range of California Valley quail, click on the following link. 

Range of California Valley Quail

A good distribution and quality of cover is important for the efficient and safe access to food and water. Without good cover,: quail can literally starve to death surrounded by food. During the fall and winter months, the California quail are subject to harsh weather and predators (both human and non-human), and they will rarely venture more than 20 yards from cover. In addition to being well-distributed, the cover needs to be of sufficient quality. It must be dense enough to provide some shelter from the elements and protection from predators. California quail also require good roosting cover. They prefer some dense evergreen tree or shrub that allows them to perch, a few feet off the ground. In most of their range California quail require some form of surface water. There are some coastal populations that get all their water from dew and succulent vegetation. However, throughout most of the state a good supply of water is very important.

The California quail is a social animal and spends most of the year, including the hunting season, in large groups called coveys. These coveys are usually formed in August and September when several family groups, consisting of parents and their offspring, merge to form one large group, the covey. The quail in these coveys perform all of their daily activities as a group. They roost together at night, wake up and feed together, dust bathe together, siesta and hide from predators together. During pre-season scouting and the hunting season one will almost always find California quail in these coveys. Success in finding California quail during this time can be improved by knowing something about how coveys use their habitat.

How a covey uses its habitat is usually determined by the habitat itself, the weather, and other factors. The distribution of food, cover, and water is the most important factor that influences covey activity. The most important "other factor" is usually predators, both human and non-human. California quail prefer to roost in dense evergreen shrubs or trees, usually close to water. The covey rises from its roost between first light and sunrise. In cold or foul weather they may leave the  roost much later. Just before the covey leaves the roost, one of the males will usually give a few good morning "Chi-ca-go" calls. This helps any quail that may have been separated from the covey, either when they went to roost or during the night, find their way back. This also makes it easy for the early rising hunter to locate coveys.

At this point the quail will either drop to the ground and begin feeding toward water, or will fly directly to water. Once the rains have started and the hills and valleys become green, they will feed first before going, if at all, to water. The quail will feed almost non-stop for the first one to two hours after leaving the roost, and on and off for another one to three hours thereafter. They may feed on and off for much longer if the weather is bad, or for a much shorter time if predators are in the area. During the hunting season they don't like to feed much further than 50 feet from cover. In most cases this is due to the presence of the Cooper's hawk, one of their most efficient natural predators. Where they feed depends upon where the cover is. If cover permits, they will usually head straight from their roost or watering site.

If the topography consists of rolling hills or mountains, this usually means uphill or along a draw. Because California quail don't migrate, food may become scarce around activity centers toward the end of fall. Because of this, they will often be found several hundred yards to half a mile from these centers later in the morning. Once they have finished their morning feeding, the covey will then either find a good siesta spot where they stopped, or will return to some favorite spot. The quail will stay here resting, dust bathing and digesting food during the middle of the day.

Usually the covey will begin feeding again about 24 hours before dark. Early in the season when it is still hot and dry they will probably go to water before going to roost. Later in the season when it gets wet and cool, they probably will not. During the last two hours of light they will be feeding so that they may go to sleep with a full crop. The covey will usually feed in the direction of the roost, and may spend the last hour of light feeding nearby. During this time they will be giving assembly calls to re-group the covey before going to roost at twilight. If they are disturbed -as they go to roost or during the night, many of the birds may be forced to spend the night exposed to predators and the elements. Because quail cannot see well at night, they will not move from where they land.  

Mountain quail: (Oreortyx pictus) Also known as the mountain partridge.

The mountain quail is the largest of the native quail in North America. Unlike the other quail, the sexes look alike. They have a long, slender black plume; the, throat is chestnut bordered with white; the breast, upper back and head are bluish gray; and the sides are chestnut with broad black and white stripes. They are 10 to 12 inches long and weigh an average of about 8 to 9 ounces. The call a hunter is most likely to hear is their alarm call, a series of "cle-cle-cle", "ca-ca-ca, cree-a-a, cree-a-ca-ca", or sharp rapid "scree" or "T-r-r-rt" notes. Another call heard during the hunting season is their assembly call which is a series of whistled "kow, kow, kow" or "How, how, how" notes.

Click here to hear the mountain quail call.

The mountain quail is an animal of mixed evergreen forests and chaparral. This quail is found in habitats associated with pinon-juniper, oak woodland, chaparral, coastal forest, and mountain forests. This quail likes thick brush that covers about half of the area. They appear to do best in areas with a good, even distribution of brush. For example, an area where you can walk through the brush, but not in a straight line for more than 10-30 feet in any direction, and you can just see over the brush is probably very good mountain quail habitat. This area should also have a good sprinkling of oaks and pines. To see a picture of the range of mountain quail, click on the following link.

Range of mountain quail

The "icing on the cake" for mountain quail is steep slopes - they race up slopes to escape danger. However, not one quail will be found here unless there is water nearby. This need is strong enough that during hot weather they will almost always be found within a short distance of water. Before winter "green up," mountain quail are rarely found more than one mile from water, and usually much closer. As with the other two quail species, once fall rains start and bring about a new flush of growth, the quail will start feeding in areas that they are not found in during the preceding dryer months.

The diet of mountain quail is similar to that of the other two quail species, but with the addition of more fruits such as elderberry, hackberry, seviceberry, grape, gooseberry, poison oak, toyon, and manzanita. They also make extensive use of bulblets, and the meats of acorns and pine nuts.

Populations of mountain quail that live in areas that receive snowfall usually migrate down from higher elevations in fall. This migration may be as far as 20 miles. In the Sierra, the migration down the mountains starts in late August or early September with the first snows, and by the beginning of October most of the mountain quail are below 5,000 feet in elevation. They spend the winter roosting and loafing under scrub oaks and feeding in low brush. They do not move much during this time, and will usually be found in the same area they were found previously. Coveys living below snow line, which includes most of those in the coast range, generally do not migrate.

Mountain quail usually come to water after their morning feeding. They spend the mid-day hours loafing under thick brush. They come out again in the late afternoon to feed until twilight, before going to roost in heavy cover. They probably will visit water in the late afternoon during hot weather.

Unlike the Gambel's and California quail, the fall/winter mountain quail coveys usually consist of one or two single families and a few unsuccessful breeders, and generally are not larger than about 10-20 birds. When hunting you will hear their alarm call more often than you will see them. 'However, because of their very secretive nature, they use alarm calls sparingly. It is not uncommon to get very close to them before they show any signs of alarm.

A trait that makes finding them very difficult is their intense dislike for open space. They very rarely get more than 20 feet from cover. They also will go to great lengths to avoid having to cross open spaces, such as dirt roads.

Gambel's quail: (Callipepla gambelfl) Also known as the desert quail.

The Gambel's quail, which is 9 to 11 inches long and weighs 5 to 7 ounces, is somewhat smaller than the California quail. The male is again more colorful than the female, and has a rust-red cap with black plume, black throat with a white border, gray upper breast, black stomach patch without scaling, and chestnut sides streaked with white. The female looks like the male, but without the black throat and stomach patch, and has a shorter plume. The most commonly heard call during the hunting season is their assembly call, a nasal "Chi-ca-go-go".

Click here to hear the Gambel's quail assembly "Chi-ca-go" call.

Gambel's quail prefer desert valleys and uplands of the Mojave desert where mesquite, cat's-claw, saltbush, tamarisk, creosote bush, desert thorn, skunkbush, yuccas, burroweed, or prickly pear are found in the vicinity of water. They are most abundant in valley bottoms of decomposed granite or transported soils of river bottoms, and areas where January temperatures rarely drop to freezing. To see a picture of the range of California Valley quail, click on the following link. 

Range of Gambel's Quail

The diet of Gambel's quail is heavily dependent upon the foliage and seeds of annual plants and legumes. Their most important foods art the greens and seeds of annuals such as deervetch, filaree, and legumes of the locoweed and lupine families. These annuals and legumes are in turn very dependent upon annual rainfall. Good rainfall produces good annual growth which usually results in large Gambel's quail populations.

Cover requirements are similar to those of the California quail, but Gambel's quail are able to cope with cover that is both less dense and more sparse than that favored by the California quail.

The availability of water is important, but apparently not to the extent it is for California quail and mountain quail. Gambel's quail are able to get by with less water and are apparently able to travel greater distances to get it. However, the best populations exist where there is a good supply of water, food, and cover together.

Coveys of Gambel's quail, like California quail, are often made up of several family groups. The average size of a covey is between 20 and 40 birds. In some parts of their range coveys of several hundred quail can be found around watering holes during the late summer.

During the early fall, coveys of Gambel's quail keep their activities centered around a water source. Later, when the desert greens a little, the coveys will range over a much larger area. They prefer to keep their activities centered, around good cover. Throughout most of their range in California this usually means the vegetation found in most desert washes. This vegetation and water is usually most abundant where the washes begin, at the base of some hills or mountains.

As with the other quail, Gambel's quail are most active during the early morning and late afternoon hours. While feeding, they commonly move across the desert floor in a wide arc, rarely standing still, always on the move. This and their willingness to cross large open spaces gives the hunter an advantage in finding them or their tracks. During the mid-day hours they will siesta in a good stand of cover.

Quail Hunting Safety and Ethics

Source: CA DFG "Guide to Hunting the Quail of California".

Quail hunting is a relatively safe sport. However, it is imperative that to remain a safe sport that certain safety rules be adhered to without exception. When you take a newcomer, especially children, into the hunting experience, part of your responsibility as a hunter is to teach that person proper safety. The following rules are good ones to LIVE by:


1) Always treat the gun as loaded.
2) Never have a loaded gun except when hunting.
3) Always make sure that the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
4) Always carry your gun so you can control the direction of the muzzle, even if you stumble.
5) Always keep the safety on until the gun is brought to your shoulder.
6) Always make sure your target is a dove and your backstop is not a hunter or a dog.
7) Never point a gun at anything you do not want to shoot.
8) Never leave guns or ammunition within reach of children or careless adults.
9) Never climb trees or fences with a loaded gun.
10) Never shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
11) Never drink alcohol or take other mood-altering drugs before or during a hunt.
12) Always wear eye and ear protection.

Always know where all members of your hunting party are. The more members in your party the more difficult this will be. It is recommended to keep hunting parties as small as possible, preferably two, but no more than three. If you are with a large party, try to spread out or split into several groups of two.

If your party has found some quail, determine in which directions it would be unsafe to shoot. Each person should wear some safety orange, a little is better than none. Camouflage clothing is not necessary for quail hunting, they know where you are regardless of what you wear. Take extra precautions during deer season. This is most important when hunting mountain quail. Most of their range is also popular deer hunting country. Wear plenty of safety orange and talk with your buddy while hunting.

If you have to chase down a crippled bird, make sure your gun is on safety. Almost all good quail country is -good rattlesnake country. Be careful around brush and water. When hunting in the deserts of California, always be sure to carry plenty of water. If you are hunting with a dog, make sure to carry additional water for your dog. It also pays to avoid hunting during the mid-day hours when it can be quite hot. Be prepared for cold temperatures at night.

There are several remote areas of the state where marijuana cultivation can pose a serious hazard. A recent Campaign Against Marijuana Planting report lists counties with significant levels of cultivation that include, but are not limited to, Humboldt, Mendocino, Shasta, Trinity, Santa Cruz, Butte, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Siskiyou, and Tehama It is recommended that you contact the local sheriffs department or Department of Fish and Game before hunting in unfamiliar  remote areas of these counties.


Hunting in this state and country is not a right, but a privilege. In order to preserve this privilege, it is essential that each quail hunter, as a representative of all quail hunters, conduct him or herself in an ethical manner. Without the public's support even if this support is in the form of indifference, we could lose our cherished privilege. The following are some suggestions:

1) Respect other's property: don't trespass without permission; don't litter, leave gates as you find them; if driving on someone's property, drive slowly, and don't drive off the roads; don't harass livestock; and do offer to repair or compensate for damage you may have caused.

2) Be kind and courteous: don't interfere with other hunters, campers or bird watchers; and always be helpful - whether it be telling a landowner about a hole in his fence, or offering to help fix the fence.

3) Conduct oneself as a sportsman: always hunt safely! always follow the regulations - nobody likes a game hog and don't shoot birds of prey (this includes Cooper's hawks).

Quail Hunting and Scouting Tips

Source: CA DFG "Guide to Hunting the Quail of California".



The most important piece of clothing is foot wear. They must protect and support your feet, provide sure footing, and be light and comfortable enough to walk all day in them. Lightweight hiking boots are a good choice. However, the running-shoe type of lightweight hiking boots do not provide much protection against rocks for the sides of your feet and ankles. In the northern parts of the state, boots that are also waterproof are desirable.

Pants should be rugged enough to withstand wading through brush. Many hunters choose to wear "brush pants" or chaps. Brush pants are pants with an extra layer of canvas or nylon across the lower legs to protect them from the thorny brush that quail seem to love to hide in Chaps are similar material that are worn separately.

Using the "layering method" of dressing is preferred as it is often cold starting out in e morning and becomes progressively warmer as the morning wears on and you have done sot hiking. Be sure you have some way of carrying the clothing you shed. Tossing them in the game bag is not a good idea. Not only will it get your clothes stained with blood, but also will it prevent the quail from cooling off quickly.

While hunting, game should be carried in a manner that allows air to circulate around them and at the same time minimize exposure to dirt. A game bag made with vents or at least partially made with a mesh material would be helpful Snake boots, leggings, or chaps can be worn for protection from rattlesnakes, but are generally not comfortable enough for long hunts.

Many hunters carry a small pair of "mini" binoculars. These 6 or 7 power binoculars with usually 20mm objective lenses are made to fold up and can be carried in a shirt pocket. They can be very handy in scouting the terrain ahead, to assist you in finding guzzlers, your hunting partners when you get separated or even your truck at the end of a long day.

The best gun and ammo for quail hunting is a popular subject of debate among hunters. Many of the reasons for choosing a particular set-up are based on personal preference. Here are several things to keep in mind when making a selection:

1) You will have to carry the gun and shells up and down hills. The lighter the gun and smaller the gauge, the less weight you will have to carry. Quail are relatively easy to kill, and all the gauges - .410 bore, 28, 20, 16, and 12 - are successfully used to hunt them. However, the smallest gauges, 28 and .410 bore, generally require more skill to be used effectively. Because of their reduced shot capacity and longer shot strings, tighter chokes (full) must be used to achieve sufficient pattern densities, making it harder to hit quail.

2) The gun should be responsive. It should shoulder and swing quickly. Quail move out like missiles and rarely fly straight.

3) In heavy cover, use an open choke: the shots are closer, it makes it easier to hit the birds, and it does less damage to the bird. Long shots in heavy cover usually result in lost birds

4) In open cover you can use either a tight or open choke. If the quail flush close, and you are using a tight choke, let them get a short distance away before shooting to avoid excessive damage to the bird.

#8 or #7-1/2 shot gives you plenty of killing power while still providing good pattern density.

Coveys and scattered birds will sometimes answer a call simulating the "Chi-ca-go" call. There are several quail calls being manufactured that can be used on California quail and Gambel's quail. Mountain quail calls are effective as well. Instructional tapes are available to help you master the calls of the various species.

It is very important to cool bagged quail as soon as possible and keep them cool. You should use a container that will keep the quail cool and dry. Do not let them get wet or sit in water because it promotes bacterial growth, which increases the chances of spoilage. Keeping quail cool is even more important during the warmer, earlier part of the season.


For mountain quail equipment should include rugged pants and shirts for some brush wading. An open choke is almost always preferred because most of the shots will be close and quick. Trying to hit them before they get behind a tree or bush requires using every advantage at your disposal. Without a dog it is better to shoot only at close birds with an open choke. The reason is that long shots in mountain quail habitat without a dog usually result in lost birds.

A body in good shape with good stamina is almost always required. In most cases, the country you will be hunting mountain quail is rugged.

A good dog can be a great asset when hunting mountain quail. The dog is equally, if not more, important for finding coveys as for retrieving downed birds.


For Gambel's quail you need the same basic equipment as for California quail, but with some differences:

1) a pair of shoes or boots that resists spines because much of their range is also cactus country,

2) a pair of pliers to pull out spines,

3) barrels commonly in the modified to full choke range, and

4) more water. It can be very hot during the early part of the season. If you bring a dog, you need to carry water for it too. Many hunters carry the two liter bota bags for themselves as well as their dog. The bota, is a soft easy to carry method that allows you both to share the canteen without sharing saliva.


Hitting flying quail is one of the most challenging shooting feats around. They can be difficult to hit for both the beginner and the expert. There are several things that can increase your success at hitting these elusive targets.

The most important is pre-season practice. Hand-thrown clay birds or visits to your local trap and skeet facility are a must. Both games should be tried if available, as each provides opportunities to work on angles and leads commonly encountered when quail hunting. One of the best practice games to come around in a long time is the new "Sporting Clays". This can come the closest to mimicking quail hunting. A recommendation when at the course is to try starting with the gun off the shoulder, down where you would have it when a covey of quail flushes on you by surprise. Learning to bring the gun to shoulder smoothly and still hit moving targets is the name of the game. This is also a good time to get familiar with your safety. Leave the safety on until the gun is being brought to your shoulder. Don't forget to put it back on again once you have brought the gun down off your shoulder.

The second factor important for consistently hitting quail is developing the ability to select targets. Quail flush as a group for a reason, to present the predator (you) a confusing whirlwind of targets. Ibis reduces the predator's ability to focus on one target, and increases the odds the predator will be indecisive long enough to allow escape by all. This system works equally well on Cooper's hawks and hunters alike. The secret to overcoming this defense system is to pick out a single target and stick with it. This sounds easy, but it is not. Many hunters have avoided this problem by not even shooting at the quail until they have flushed and scattered them to allow hunting of singles and doubles. This system works well in country where they can be reliably followed, but for many areas the first covey flush is all you're going to get.

There are several tricks to help focus on a single target. One is to try and pick out the odd bird, that is the one that's going in a different direction. Another is to focus on a bird to the periphery of the flushing covey. Something that also helps is that the members of a covey rarely flush all at once. There are almost always a few stragglers. The trick here is to let the first burst go and gather your senses back together and prepare for the stragglers. They usually come out as singles and pairs. Although it is hard to pass up shots, keep in mind that you will probably have exclusive shots at these because your buddy just emptied his gun on the main covey flush and is not prepared for the stragglers.

Before you try for that second or third bird on a rise, make sure that the first bird you hit is dead. Keep shooting at that first bird until you are sure that it is dead, Mark its fall before taking on another bird. Before moving, reload. You will feel mighty foolish if after a few steps, a straggler gets up and you have nothing to offer but the snap of an empty gun.


There are several factors that will influence your ability to find quail when you arrive at your spot. Weather, time of day, and presence of human and other predators will affect the quails' normal behavior. When the weather is wet, cold, heavily overcast, or windy, the quail tend to leave the roost much later in the morning. They also tend not to call as often and in many cases not at all. When it is wet they stay close to cover, and will feed intermittently all day long. Heavy overcast also makes it harder to spot them. The time of day you arrive should influence the areas you hunt. As discussed in the section on behavior, they will be near roosting cover around sunrise. Later in the morning they will be near water and feeding cover. Midday hunting should focus on dense loafing cover. In the afternoon, efforts should again be centered around good feeding cover.

In many areas the presence or recent presence of other hunters and predators will be an important influence on your decision of where to hunt. This influence can last from a few hours to several days depending upon the extent of the presence. A Cooper's hawk flying through an area can cause the quail to hide and remain silent for up to an hour or more, making the quail very difficult to find. Coveys recently hunted will tend not to hold, and will flush far out in front of you. The areas you hunt will obviously be affected if there are hunters already there when you arrive. The best thing to do is to ask them where they are going to hunt and tell them you will hunt those areas they don't plan on immediately hunting. This usually works well on areas that are large and have more than enough habitat for all. However, if the area is small, or good quail- habitat is limited, it would be wisest to go to another spot. Sometimes it is possible to join the first party if they find that acceptable.

Another approach to this situation is to place yourself on a hill or some other vantage point and watch them hunt. You want to watch for coveys that slip away from them undetected into another canyon or hill top. Then, if it is obvious they are not going to hunt that area, or are leaving, you can pursue them. This information is also useful for future hunts because it reveals to you one of the covey's escape routes.

After the first weekend of the season, and even more so after the second, hunted coveys will behave differently than during the first weekend. You will notice that they will flush further out, fly and run further, head to the thickest cover much more readily, and call much less than before. This is their response to hunting pressure. So if you are going to work an area that has recently been hunted, you should be prepared for long shots and carefully work all the good escape cover.

Similar behavior occurs in the presence of a Cooper's hawk. If you happen to notice one of these highly skilled predators in the area, you will likely not see or hear any quail. You will most likely find them in the thickest cover in the area. If there is a Cooper's hawk in the immediate area they may not leave the cover, even with you standing on it! The best thing to do in this situation is to move on to the next covey or wait for the Cooper's hawk to leave. They are known to take advantage of hunters flushing hidden quail and then snatching one up as they flee. One should never shoot a Cooper's hawk, this will not "make" more game, and it is illegal. Instead, the hunting skills of this hawk should be admired because they truly are amazing.

Calling can be used in some circumstances to locate coveys or individuals of all three quail species. Undisturbed coveys are more likely to answer calling during the early morning and evening hours. However, just because quail don't respond to your calling does not mean there are no quail in the area. Quail commonly don't answer calls of other quail in the area. During the midday hours they will usually fail to answer calls. Quail of a disturbed (scattered) covey will readily respond to calling after a short (10-20 minute) quite period. In this circumstance, with patience and stillness, one can often call some of them right to you!


Look over the terrain and find those areas that meet the quail's habitat needs. With a good pair of binoculars or spotting scope, scan the first 50 feet around cover for feeding quail. If you spot something that looks like it might be quail, watch it for a few seconds to see if it moves. California quail never sit still for more than a few seconds at most when feeding away from cover. Also scan the tops of shrubs, brushpiles and rocks for a perched sentinel male. He will usually be motionless for at least a few minutes. During their morning and afternoon feeding periods, you should also keep an ear open for their assembly calls ("Chi-ca-go"). This assembly call is usually given by this perched sentinel quail. So if you hear one calling, look for him on the tops of shrubs, brushpiles, and rocks.

It is worth spending a few minutes when you first arrive quietly listening for their calls. Often a quiet group can be induced into revealing their location by imitating their assembly call by mouth or with a call. Give a group of two or three calls every few minutes and listen for any responses. If you do not hear anything, it does not necessarily mean there are no quail nearby.

It is not uncommon for coveys to let assembly calls go unanswered, even from other quail. If you arrive around sunrise, you should note where you hear the assembly calls coming from. The first calls in the morning, around sunrise, are usually given from their roost or nearby. Knowing where these roosts are will help you find them during future trips, since they tend to use the same roost for a while, if not year-round.

However, you should never hunt quail after sunset, especially near their roost. Birds scattered out of the roost will not make back to the roost after dark. This leaves them unprotected from night time predators.

If listening did not produce the location of any coveys, the only thing to do besides trying another area is to walk through the, area. Try the following:

1)  Work cover around water, especially in the morning. Keep a lookout for tracks in sand and mud. Watch for rattlesnakes.

2)  Along edges of cover listen for their alarm call - the metallic "pit-pit-pit".

3)  Check dirt roads for tracks that may reveal travel routes.

4)  Walk gully or valley bottoms first. The reasons for this are:

 a) it's easier to walk,
 b) it is easier to scan the slopes of both sides from the middle,
 c) they appear to be more willing to give assembly calls if you are below them than above them, and
 d) they may be hiding in the gully bottom, where water and escape cover is usually

5) If they are spotted on a hill  you have three choices:

a) Chase them up the hill. Unless you are an Olympic class runner you won't catch them. They will, however, usually hang up in some good cover up the hill, or just over the summit in some rocks or brush. When you do make it up to the top, be prepared for them to flush and fly either down and around the hill, or across the canyon to the next hill to start the whole process over again. However, if the canyon is much more than several hundred yards across, they probably won't fly across.

b) Try to maneuver so you can hunt them from above. They do not like to run downhill, which makes it easier to get them into the air from above. Again, when they flush they will fly down and along the slope. They then usually try to go back up the hill.

c) Go back to the car and have lunch. Coveys of quail that have been well hunted tend to flush quickly, well out of range, and head for the thickest cover around. If the cover is very good they will stay here, often even if you or your dog dive in after them.


These quail are often very difficult to find because of the dense nature of their habitat. An effective way of locating them is to set yourself in a likely looking place (see "Habitat" section) and try calling them. If you sit still and there are quail in the area, they will often answer your calls. In some cases they may even come right to you! Make sure you are on high ground, because they seem to prefer moving uphill rather than downhill. It is also easier to hunt them from above because they will often fly downhill and very few hunters are capable of keeping up with them uphill.


The same methods for California and mountain quail work with the Gambel's quail. In the desert valleys it is popular to drive the dirt roads looking for quail and their tracks crossing the road. This method can be very productive if there is not too much vehicle traffic in the area.

Something you will quickly learn about these quail is their disappearing act. They prefer to run which means running after them. As you pursue them, the covey appears to get smaller and smaller with each step you take until finally you are chasing only a bird or two.



The key to any dog being of value to you, whether it is a pointer, flusher, or retriever, depends upon control. A dog under poor control is more likely to cause you trouble than be of any enjoyment or service to you. The greatest asset that a dog can be to a California quail hunter, besides companionship, is as a retriever. Coveys are not too hard to find without a dog, but finding and retrieving downed quail can be very difficult.

The strategy is to start by letting the dog range freely and find fresh scent. Dogs of the pointing breeds are useful here. Once the dog has found some quail and come to point, the hunters must quickly decide on a strategy and maneuver into position. How well the quail hold depends largely on how good the cover is they are hiding in and whether they have been shot at recently. If the cover is poor or the covey has been hunted recently, they will most likely not hold for very long, if at all. In most cases, it is therefore a good idea to move quickly to where the dog is on point.

Anticipate that the quail always seem to be aware of the location of every member of the hunting party, and will flush in a manner and direction to put the greatest amount of distance and obstacles between the hunters and themselves in the least amount of time. They will also try to head toward the thickest, most impenetrable cover nearby. If this is your situation, try to position yourselves either to prevent them from getting to this cover, or to at least get a shot before they bury themselves in it. Once everyone is in position and the quail are still holding, they can then be flushed

If your plan is laid to waste by some unforeseen maneuver by the quail there is still hope. If you can see where they have flown, you now have the opportunity to put them at a disadvantage. By keeping close to them after the first or second flush, you force them to scatter and hide individually. This is because many of the quail will be separated from the main body of the covey each time they are flushed. Finding themselves alone or in pairs they will hold much more tightly. However, if they are not pursued quickly they will regroup and slip away. They are sometimes called "gray ghosts" for a reason. Having successfully scattered them, a dog can locate and point them for some very exciting shooting.

"It is this type of hunting, where the birds burst from cover and are taken over a pointing dog in clean wing shooting, that the maximum in sport and recreation is realized with a minimum of loss and damage to the game population. Aldo Starker Leopold.


A dog with a good nose can greatly increase success in finding mountain quail. The dog can be used most effectively by working canyon bottoms in the morning near water and when air currents are still coming down slopes. Then later in the morning, when the quail are usually feeding up the slopes and the warming ground causes updrafts, the ridges can be efficiently used. This puts you and the dog in the general area the quail should be and allows the dog's nose to "cover" the greatest amount of territory.


Are you sure you want to do this to your dog? The greatest advantage of a dog when hunting Gambel's quail is the retrieval of downed game. Gambel's quail generally do not hold for dogs. They prefer to outrun them, and if that does not work, they fly away. Only after the covey has been well broken up can a dog be effectively worked on singles. Even here the quail will start running again, especially if the cover is not thick enough.

If you still choose to use your dog, bring along a pair of needle nose pliers and some antiseptic for the inevitable cactus spines he will encounter. Consider fitting him with dog boots, the kind available through various dog supply houses. Make sure that you know how to properly put the boots on the dog to prevent loss of circulation in his feet and loss of hair on his legs.

When a covey is spotted out ahead, the dog can be sent after them to break them up. The' hunter should watch where they fly and work that area carefully. If the covey is heading for dense cover or hills, you should attempt to head them off or you may lose them. If a covey has pulled a disappearing act on you, work back along the way you chased them. What probably happened was that singles and pairs split off from the main covey as you were chasing them and hid. As you work back there is a good chance you will come across some of these quail still hiding. This is where a dog with a good nose will pay off.



There is no question, hunting the California quail with a good dog is the best way to go. However, there are a good many of us that for one reason or another must get by without a canine companion. For those of us in this situation, there is still hope, although there are several things that generally cause problems when hunting quail without a dog. One is finding the quail initially and then after they have flushed. Another is finding the quail once you have finally managed to knock one down. The solution to the first is to know something about the behavior of this quail. The solution to the second involves concentration and discipline.

The first step is to locate a covey of quail, this goes for persons both with and without a dog. There are two keys to this puzzle: one is cover, the other is water. In most parts of California, water is a limiting resource for quail, the only exception being the northwest comer of the state. Therefore, the search must begin by first locating water. Once water has been located, search the surrounding terrain and locate some good cover, the thicker the better. If there is no good cover within 1/4 mile try another spot. Head toward the cover, keeping an eye open for quail scurrying along the ground out the "back door". Also keep an ear open for their "pit-pit" alarm call. If they spot you and they are a good distance away, you may hear their assembly call.

When given the space and time, California quail prefer to run away rather than fly. So if you spot a covey running on the ground ahead of you, you have to keep up with them. Otherwise they will disappear like ghosts, But before you head out after them at a frenzied pace, it is wise to take a moment or two to think out a strategy.

If they are heading up a valley draw, odds are they will continue to travel along the cover in front of you. Place one person on each side of the draw and follow them. If you have a third person, put one down in the draw. This will help prevent you from moving past them. If they are heading up the side of a hill (especially a steep one) it is best to try and out maneuver them than to out climb them (unless you are quite an athlete). In most cases they will go right over the top or hang up in some cover on the hill. Send one person around the other side while the other one stays at the bottom of the hill. At some predetermined time both of you head up the hill from opposite sides. Be prepared for some fast action at the top of the hill, but also be sure of where the other hunter is before shooting.

One of the most frustrating things about hunting without a dog is finding downed quail. With a little concentration and discipline, this can largely be avoided. There are a pair of rules that must be followed to avoid losing birds.

The first rule is to ask yourself  WHERE WILL THAT BIRD LAND WHEN I ROLL IT? This question should be asked as you are raising your shotgun and picking out that first bird; the question has to be answered before you smack that trigger. It does your body and the resource no good if you land a bird in the middle of a blackberry patch. A dog might be able to retrieve it, you won't! This question is especially important if you are having one of those all-to-common days where you are not quite on and are knocking down cripples. If you shoot only when they cross open areas, you are much more likely to follow and find cripples. The thing to remember about cripples is that they will fly or run to the nearest, nastiest cover, and the further they are from it when hit the less likely they are to get to it. Trying to answer this question while the little gray missiles are flying all about is not easy, but it will help improve your recovery rate and leave you much more satisfied. Mistakes will be made, but with practice you will improve and you won't come home with a body that looks like it's been through a shredder.

The second rule is MARK YOUR BIRD. The instant you pull the trigger on that first bird, your mind should be focused on the following series of questions:

Is the bird dead? If not, shoot it again. Live quail will hit the ground running if they can and disappear quickly. If the bird is still alive when it hits the ground, DO NOT take your eyes off of it. Do not even think about taking a shot at another bird. Immediately head over there and get that bird. Do not shoot the bird on the ground if you are within 15 yards of it, this is unsafe and will only destroy the bird. Humanely dispatch the bird upon retrieval.

  If it is dead, where is it falling? Don't take your eyes off of it until it hits the ground, and don't move. Note the landmark nearest to where you think it landed. Next note where you are standing. This will come in handy if you can't find the bird initially and need to replay the shot in your mind, which only works well from the original location.

Are you positive the bird is dead and you have it well marked? If you can answer yes to both of these questions, you now have the choice of going for another shot or retrieving the downed bird. It is always wisest to retrieve each quail first before shooting another. You will be amazed at how often a "stone dead" quail that landed on bare ground 50 feet from the nearest clump of grass disappears on you. The same set of questions should be answered for every quail you shoot at. If you do shoot a second or third quail before retrieving any of them, start with the most recent one shot because it is usually the easiest to find. Finding at least one of them is better than none, and gives you confidence that they can be found.

Once you have worked a covey and you are not able to find them anymore, calling can sometimes produce a little more action. Find a spot where you can sit down and see some openings around cover. Give a few assembly calls every few minutes. This can be done by mouth or with a call. It may take as long as 30 minutes or more to get any responses, so patience is necessary. You will first see them creeping along or through nearby cover. When you get them close enough, stand up quickly and they will usually take to the air. If they start running, rush toward them to get them into the air. It is tempting to "ground sluice" them, but this is not sporting and usually results in badly shot-up quail.


Hunting mountain quail without a dog is tough. This is hunting for those who don't mind doing a lot of walking and having a light game bag at the end of the day. Because of the quail's secretive nature, they are hard to find. The most successful way to find them is by searching the edges around cover and dirt roads for tracks. Cover with tracks all around usually indicates a favorite hang out. If, there are good populations in the area, they will eventually cross roads, even though they don't like to. Once tracks have been found, look for suitable cover and work the area thoroughly. Watch for coveys running out the far side. Any coveys spotted doing this should be run down quickly without hesitation.

Your first good sight of mountain quail probably will be flushing from behind some shrubs or trees. Watch carefully where they fly, then dash over there. If the area they flew to has trees, be alert for quail flushing from them, as they do land in them for escape. Once they have been flushed and scattered, they are much more likely to hold. It is time well spent to carefully work the area you last saw them land. You will often find singles scattered all over the area. If you flush a covey more than once, it may pay to go check the area of the previous flush and search for tightly holding singles you ran by the first time. Always be alert - it almost seems as though they can tell when you have let down your guard, No sooner have you decided that there are no holders left, one will flush from somewhere nearby, often from behind you.

Calling can be very effective once the covey has been busted. Mountain quail can often be called right to you by imitating their assembly call by mouth or with a call. This is because once they have been scattered they will try to regroup as soon as possible. The way to call them is to sit down where you have a good view of as much open ground as possible. You do not necessarily have to be well hidden, but you do have to sit still. Now try giving a few assembly calls. Sit, listen, and watch. Patience is a must, it may take as long as 30 minutes or more before you see any results. Sometimes they will call back, but more often they will just start walking toward you. Keep giving a few assembly calls every few minutes. Keep your eyes focused on the edges of the clearings. You will first spot them slowly creeping along the edges toward you. The closer you get them the better. When they get as close to you as possible, stand and rush, if necessary, toward them to got them in the air. Again, it may be very tempting to "ground sluice" them, but as stated above, this is not sporting and usually results in badly shot-up birds and lost cripples.


Most of the things that work for hunting California quail without a dog work for Gambel's quail. There are, however, a few differences. Because of the generally more open habitat of this quail, it does not have as many opportunities to hold in cover. 'Me result is that they run and run and run. If you and a buddy were walking across the desert at a couple miles per hour, a covey could run away from you without your ever knowing it was there. It always pays to keep an eye Out for small gray objects scurrying about 100 yards or more in front of you.

If a covey is spotted running in front of you, start running (but make sure the safety is on)! As you run after them you will notice several things: they will try to outrun you, and may succeed; the covey will appear to shrink with each step you take; the cactus you failed to negotiate begins to cause pain; and the heat gets worse. Usually they will eventually hit some good cover and hold, If you manage to get within 40 yards before they do, they will usually flush and fly there. Often when you finally manage to bust the covey, only a small fraction of the quail you started chasing are still in front of you. What happened is that singles and pairs broke away from the covey and took cover along the way. You can take advantage of this by slowly zigzagging back through the route you chased them. One can often flush a good number of these ghosts if not too much time has passed. If you wait too long, they will start moving around to escape and regroup.

If the covey was still relatively intact when you flushed it, carefully note where it landed as you head over there. The more pressure you can put on them, the more likely they will hold and try to hide. If they are not pursued aggressively, they will hit the ground running and leave you nothing but the cacti and the heal.

Once you have managed to get them to hold, you must work the area carefully, stopping often. At this point they are known to hold so tight as to allow you to practically step on them. As an example, one time the author and a buddy sat down about three feet apart for a breather after working a covey. They were discussing the action they had just experienced when, after about five minutes, the conversation was interrupted by the whir of a quail flushing from directly between them!

If you are still on your feet after chasing a covey all over the desert, take a seat. If not, stay there, because you will soon get your second (third, or fourth) chance at them. After things have been quite for a while, the quail will start calling to regroup. It is at this point where some calling on your part can bring the birds back into you.



You are standing in the area where you know the dead quail fell, but you don't see it. Now what? First, keep in mind that they blend in very well with just about anything you might see on the ground. Look for loose feathers on the ground. Feathers are almost always left where they hit the ground. However, there often is another group of feathers dropped by a quail when shot that can be misleading. The reason they can be misleading is that the bird often travels a considerable distance beyond where it was hit, and if there is even the slightest breeze the feathers can drift a considerable distance from where it might be. The two groups can usually be told apart by where the feathers are found and how tightly the feathers are grouped. The feathers left on the ground where the bird lands are usually tightly bunched. Feathers from the in-air hit are usually found widely scattered and on top of shrubbery. Don't expect to find the quail sitting right there among the feathers. Most often they bounce or roll a few feet from the point of impact with the ground. When you find these feathers remember the direction it was heading when you rolled it. Search the area beyond the feathers in the same direction. If you have searched this area with no success, double the distance beyond the feathers and search again. They usually travel further than you think they did. It is not unusual to spend 30 minutes searching for a single downed bird. You owe it to the bird to keep trying.


When you knock down a crippled quail it is your moral and ethical obligation to retrieve and humanely dispatch the bird as quickly as possible. The problem is that finding crippled quail is commonly difficult, and this is the single most frustrating aspect of hunting without a good dog. The key to successfully finding a cripple is to get to where you knocked it down as quickly as you safely can.

The first thing you do before taking a step is to reload your gun and put the safety on. Flying cripples should always be shot again, as your chances of finding one of these if you don't knock it down near you is next to nothing. Assuming you have lost visual contact with the cripple and you are standing where you thought it should be, the first thing you should do is to listen for any sounds that might reveal its location. If you are met only with the sound of your pounding heart, look around for feathers. These will often give you the area and direction in which to look.

There are several things to keep in mind when looking for a cripple. One is that if the bird landed on sloping terrain, look downhill from where you think it landed. They almost always tumble or run down slope. Two, look for the nearest cover around where the bird landed. They may crawl into it and tuck themselves underneath whatever they can. Three, look down any holes in the area, such as ground squirrel holes, as quail will often try to hide in these holes. Don't forget to look under the edges of rocks or other debris.

CAUTION: All of the places you should be looking at to find a crippled quail are also good  places to find rattlesnakes! Do be careful and never stick your hand into places you cannot see into.

When you do get close or find it, the quail often try to run or fly away. There is a great temptation to shoot it as it runs away, but don't unless it is at least 15 yards away or going to dive into cover that you will not be able to retrieve it from. The reason for this is that at close range there is danger of a ricochet and destroying the bird beyond use. If it is flying away, do shoot it again, but let it get a least 15 yards away before shooting. Again, shooting at it any closer will just make the bird inedible.

CAUTION: Your gun should always be on safety when looking for downed birds. Always keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction when trying to catch a cripple. If the bird cannot fly it is best to unload the gun and put it down so that you can use two hands.  

Source: CA DFG "Guide to Hunting the Quail of California".


Quail Hunting Gear List

You'll need Acrobat Reader to read and print this .pdf file gear checklist, you can get Acrobat at

Please click the link below for a gear checklist you can print out.

Maps of Legal Shooting Areas In California - Being a hunter and living in Southern California has its challenges. The biggest problem is knowing where you can legally discharge a firearm. Each county in California has its own firearms ordinance, so Netcomp creates its maps starting with the County Ordinance. There are also many other agencies involved such as Federal, State, County, City, BLM, Private, Fish and Game, OHV, Forestry, University, Indian and Preserves. The average hunter has no way of knowing which jurisdiction prevails. The collection of data we use tries to account for all these factors and agencies. With land ownership constantly changing, it requires us all to verify that one can discharge a firearm in that area before going hunting. JHO Sponsor.

San Bernardino County Shooting Map. - The county revised their shooting in the summer of 2010 and the maps are online now. The printed version is available for sale at Bass Pro in Rancho Cucamonga. Other vendors will be carrying the maps in the future. Right now you can use a cellphone to pull up the online maps but the color coding is not working.

Some tips on printing the new San Bernardino County shooting map.

Zoom in to where you want your view of the map, usually 150% to 300% depending on how big an area you want and how much detail.

1. Click on "print", then on "Print Range" click on "Current View" and that will print the area you're looking at.

2. In the "Page Scaling" section choose, "Fit To Printable Area". That will enlarge the print to whatever size paper your printer is using.

3. Then in "Page Scaling" choose, "Fit to paper". That will enlarge the print to whatever size paper your printer is using.

4. Select "Advanced" and check "Print As Image". This will just print the screen image (what you see) and not all the layers you don't see or need.

Then print.

Mammoth Lakes No Shoot Area Map


Public Quail Hunting Areas In California

Camp Roberts

CIBOLA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE is just south of Blythe. Cibola National Wildlife Refuge hunters are reminded that both an Arizona license and non-toxic shot are required on the island unit, but many of the local shops in Blythe carry steel dove loads just for hunting at Cibola. For information, Route 2, Box 138 Cibola, AZ, 85328 Phone: 520/857-3253 Fax: 520/387-3420, email

The Colorado River Indian Tribes, (CRIT), own the 330,000 acres of property between Parker, Arizona to just north of Interstate 10 near Blythe. No state license is required, but hunters must have a seasonal permit from CRIT, which is $45. The permit allows hunters to hunt quail, ducks, and small game in season. CRIT hunting permits are available at Woody's Gas and Snack Parker, AZ (520) 669-8792 1001 Fiesta Ave. Woody's II Poston, AZ (520) 662-4801 Mohave Rd. June's Unique Parker, AZ (520) 669-8883 813 Kofa Ave. Hidden Valley Resort Blythe, CA (760) 922-6745 100 Colorado River Rd. Lost Lake Resort Lost Lake, CA (760) 664-4413 U.S. Highway 95. Mc's Market Parker Dam, AZ (520) 667-2231 58565 Riverside Dr. River Lagoon Resort. 50078 Parker Poston Rd. Ehrenberg, AZ (520) 923-7942. Yellow Mart Blythe, CA (760) 922-4215 228 Hobson Way Water Wheel Resort Blythe, CA (760) 922-3863 29900 Hwy. 95. CRIT Fish & Game Office Parker, AZ (520) 669-9285 2100 Mutahar.

Eastern Sierra.

BLM Bishop Field Office 785 N. Main St., Ste. E , Bishop, CA 93514. Telephone: (760) 872-4881, Fax: (760) 872-2894.

Fort Hunter Liggett

Fort Mojave Indian Reservation, above the Colorado River Indian Tribes, extending from Needles north to the Arizona-Nevada border. This reservation has land on both sides of the river and you can obtain a hunting permit to hunt there. Ph# 520-330-3000.

High Desert - Barstow, Victorville. The outlook for hunters in the high desert areas from Victorville to Barstow are less rosy, especially for sportsmen who like to hunt desert springs, guzzlers, and stock tanks in relative solitude. Camp Cady Wildlife Area is one area to check out.

Lake Havasu NWR. There is quail hunting on the weekends in September only. Non toxic shot is required on the refuge. For more information, call (760) 326-3853.

Lake Perris State Recreation Area. This can be a pretty good place to shoot with a lot of singles and doubles. You won't see the big flights of birds, but the action can be fairly steady. Day use fee for access. Be aware that the season for doves and upland game here is from 1st Saturday following Labor Day, through January 31st.

Niland-Calipatria.The Imperial Valley south of the Salton Sea is holding an exceptional number of birds. Many hunters and biologists, like Mulcahy, are saying that it's one of the best years they can remember in a long time. The addition of 27 planted fields, done in a cooperative effort with Leon Lesicka with Desert Wildlife Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the Imperial County Fish and Game Commission, Safari Club-San Diego, and the Department of Fish and Game, have increased public hunting opportunities by more than three times in the area.

DWU Field Map

You'll need Acrobat Reader to read and print this .pdf files, you can get Acrobat at


San Bernardino National Forest (San Bernardino County) 1824 South Commercenter Circle San Bernardino, CA 92408-3430 1-909-383-5588.

I know quite a few folks who head up into Rattlesnake Canyon just outside of the Lucerne Valley. There are two nice guzzlers and one HUGE seep. The birds usually come in rather late (8:30 - 9:00). Be careful - there's a home and a working ranch back there. I'm not sure a 2 wheel drive would make it to the seep - you run in a soft river bed. Stay clear of the owners and shoot straight! - qalhntr.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area.

Click here for Map of San Jacinto WA

Santa Rosa Wildlife Area. Click here for map.

Water For Wildlife .... This is the group led by Cliff McDonald that rehabs all the guzzlers in the Mojave NP. Working to keep access to ALL wildlife drinkers/guzzlers,springs, tinajas, wells and tanks.  Support the Junior upland game bird hunt in East Mojave.


Desert Wildlife Unlimited

DWU's work in the southern California desert has stretched over nearly three decades and includes major guzzler and water source work that has helped maintain desert wildlife populations, including mule deer, dove, quail, pheasant and bighorn sheep.

DWU Field Map


Desert Wildlife Unlimited
Imperial Valley Chapter
4780 Highway 111
Brawley, California 92227
Leon Lesicka 760-344-2793

$10.00 1 year
$100.00 Lifetime

Include: Name, Mailing Address and Phone#

Quail Hunting Links


Active Ammo .... is no longer in business. Kent Cartridges bought the company in 1997 and Kent does not make the nickel plated shells anymore, sorry.
Alliant Powder (formerly Hercules) .... check out the online reloading data.
Cheaper Than Dirt .... Shooting supplies and hunting gear.
Dillon Precision Products .... One of the best reloading companies.
Federal Ammo ....
Graf and Sons Inc. .... The reloading authority.
.... Revolutionary, non-toxic lead shot alternative. With HEVI-SHOT™ shells, you can shoot a smaller shot size with more lethality. More pellets at a higher energy means more knock-down power. This new shotshell pellet is actually heavier than lead with the hardness similar to standard steel shot. It is made from a tungsten alloy and the hardness and density allow hunters to use smaller shot sizes to get equivalent energy as in larger lead or steel pellets. Because the pellet is smaller, this allows for more pellet to be in a shotshell cartridge which makes for a denser pattern, increasing the likelihood of multiple hits on the target. Both penetration and retained velocity are also greater with these pellets. Darryl Amick, who holds the patent on the tungsten-nickel alloy used to make this new shot, said he set out to offer something heavier than lead that would be even more effective for hunters. "My passion for this product is that I hate the fact that we wound these birds, that we have to shoot steel. I'm also absolutely committed to making this product as inexpensive as possible, and we'd like to be significantly under the other non-toxic alternatives to steel," said Amick. "It's going to perform better. I don't think anyone can argue that. It's just a matter of keeping costs down so guys can afford it," said Amick. You will be hearing more about Hevi-Shot in the near future as it becomes available for both reloaders and in loaded offerings.
Hodgdon Powder Company .... Reloading powder.
Hornady .... Bullets and reloading equipment.
Kent Cartridge ..... IMPACT™ shot shells are specifically designed to deliver the pattern density and down range lethality required by dedicated turkey hunters. These loads may be used in any Nitro-proofed shotgun without fear of barrel or choke damage. Standard choke restrictions and lead shot size recommendations apply, including X-full Turkey.
Lapua .... Makers of match grade ammo and Vihtavuori powders.
Lee Precision Inc. .... The Lee family has been providing affordable reloading products since 1958.
MEC .... Reloading equipment.
Midsouth Shooters Supply Co. .... Your complete source for shooting accessories and supplies.
Midway USA .... The world's largest mail order shooting and reloading superstore.
Powder Valley .... Offering the finest in reloading components at the best possible price.
Precision Reloading Inc. .... Unique and hard to find reloading products.
RCBS .... If you're into reloading, bookmark this page now. All the info you need to be a top-notch re-loader is right here:
Redding Reloading Equipment ....
Remington .... Guns and ammo.
Western Powders .... Western Powders is the largest Master Distributor of reloading powders in North America. We carry a full line of smokeless and black powders, and have also released our own line of high-performance, smokeless powders called RAMSHOT.
Widener's .... Here you will find great deals on all your hunting needs. From Ammunition to Powder. Featuring all the top name products such as Hornady, Nosler, Remington, RCBS, REDDING, SPEER, Winchester and much more.
Winchester Ammo .... Makers of great ammo.


Haydel's Calls .... They have valley and mountain quail calls.
Homemade Quail Call .... Bob Gillis neat little quail call you can make yourself.
Jim Matthews Custom Quail Calls ....  PH# 909-887-3444. P.O. Box 9007, San Bernardino, CA 92427-0007. Email: Jim makes a fine CA Valley Quail call from wood that has a large sound chamber. This chamber allows this call to really reach out there in the windy west. He has a production version and a custom signature version made from selected woods.
Lohman Calls .... They used to make a wooden and plastic California Valley quail call.
Primos .... Valley and mountain quail calls.


Ballistic Specialties .... Angle Porting chokes.
Briley Chokes ....
Carlson's ....
Gun Docc
.... Custom turkey gun work.
Hastings Chokes .... PH# 913-632-3169
Johnny's Shotgun Chokes and Forcing Cones
Kick's .... They make the famous "Gobblin' Thunder" choke
Patternmaster ....
Seminole Gunworks
.... Seminole specializes in the making of precision choke tubes for most makes and model of shotguns.
Trulock Chokes .... Manufacturers of superior shotgun chokes.



Bryce Mann's Gundogs & Guide Service .... Gundog training near Visalia CA.
Foothill Brittanys .... Very Birdy, Natural Pointers and Retrievers (Land and Water).
Fresno Dog Training .... Realistic training and behavior solutions for dogs and their owners.
Gameland Kennels Dog Training Center ....Gameland Kennels is no longer in business.  Sadly, Patrick Callaghan passed away on September 29, 2009.  His wife, Shirley, tried to keep the business afloat, but suffered several small strokes in the months following Patrick's death.  In early January 2010, Shirley suffered a significant stroke from which she is currently recovering.
Grouse Mountain Brittanys .... John & Debbe Coyle. Redding, California. PH# 530-242-5801.
Gun Dog Supply .... Lots of gear for the upland hunter.
High Desert Brittanies .... We breed hunting dogs of the highest quality with great temperament, good looks and bird desire and provide wonderful family members to approved homes.
High Desert Kennels .... Bird dog training for 30 years. Family owned and run. Jimmy Berneathy Owner/Trainer.
High Test Retrievers. .... 1021 Lower Honcut Road, Oroville, California 95966
Hunting Dog Trainer .... Carl Porter. We are the complete hunting and field trial dog training program. We are located in the beautiful Southern California High Desert community of Lucerne Valley California. Our training grounds include our own 20 acres of real "Wild Bird" high desert habitat with quail and chukar available year round and pheasants upon request with thousands of unfenced wild acres surrounding our facility.
Lowell's Gundogs .... Gun dog training in the high desert near Victorville CA. 
Reibar Kennels .... Grady Istre's excellence in dog training. 7480 Domingos Rd. Lompoc Ca. 93436, PH# 1-805-736-5309, e-mail
Scott's Dog Supply .... Quail calls and dog gear.
Starlight Kennels .... Paul Cacciatori. We understand that hunting is more than a hobby, and that your dog is more than an animal. It's a lifestyle for which we share our clients' passion. That's why we devote so much to providing a complete array of hunting dog services so you can rely on Starlight as the single source for all your hunting dog needs. .... Bill West. Information for bird dog and hunting enthusiasts.

If you know of any other trainers, dog links or info please e-mail us at Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors webmaster email and we will update the listing.


2nd Amendment Sports .... Stores in Bakersfield CA. and Tucson AZ.
Bass Pro Shop .... One of the biggest hunting and fishing gear suppliers. Stop by one of their 'Outdoor World' stores, you'll be amazed. They have calls, decoys, shells, sights, blinds camo and tons more.
Badger John's Huntin' Stuff .... 5400 Date Ave. , Sacramento CA. PH# 916-489-1022.
Bass Pro Shop .... One of the biggest hunting and fishing gear suppliers. Stop by one of their 'Outdoor World' stores, you'll be amazed. They have calls, decoys, shells, sights, blinds camo and tons more.
B&B Bait .... 10380 8th Ave. Blythe Ca. 92225. Between 7th and Lovekin. PH# 760-921-2248.
Brigade Quartermasters .... Outdoor gear, military issue gear, GPS, everything you need.
Cabela's .... One of the biggest retailers of outdoor and hunting gear. They have calls, decoys, shells, sights, blinds camo and tons more.
E.A.R. Hearing Protection and Hearing Aids .... Protect your precious hearing with these fine quality ear plugs.
Field Time Sports & Guns .... 14542 Beach Blvd. Suite A, Westminster, CA  92683. Ph  714-891-3131.

Being a hunter and living in Southern California has its challenges. The biggest problem is knowing where you can legally discharge a firearm. Each county in California has its own firearms ordinance, so Netcomp creates its maps starting with the County Ordinance. There are also many other agencies involved such as Federal, State, County, City, BLM, Private, Fish and Game, OHV, Forestry, University, Indian and Preserves. The average hunter has no way of knowing which jurisdiction prevails. The collection of data we use tries to account for all these factors and agencies. With land ownership constantly changing, it requires us all to verify that one can discharge a firearm in that area before going hunting. JHO Sponsor.
Lacrosse .... Excellent boots and waders.
Mack's Prairie Wings ....
Midwest Turkey Call Supply .... Everything you need for turkey and quail hunting.
Ranger Joe's .... Military, Law enforcement and outdoor gear.
REI ....The biggest outdoor store on the net.
Schnee's Boot's ....These guys make the best cold weather elk boots I've ever owned. I like the 'air bob' soles.
Schumachers Waterfowl Supply .... 1122 W. Struck Ave., Orange, Ca. 92867. PH# 714-288-0465.
Shomer-tec .... Law enforcement and military equipment. Box 28070, Bellingham, WA. 98228 ph# 360-733-6214. Call for free catalog.
Sprague's .... 345 W. 32nd Street, Yuma, Arizona, phone # 800-440-3892.
Turner's Outdoorsman .... Southern California's best hunting and fishing store.
Uncle Lee's Wing Supply .... PH# 1-800-388-9464 for your free catalog. They have GPS, clothing, and turkey and duck hunting equipment.
U.S. Cavalry .... World's finest military and adventure equipment.
Yellow Mart .... 82740 Miles Ave., Indio, CA 92201 Ph# 760-347-1107
Yellow Mart .... 228 W Hobsonway, Blythe, CA 92225. PH# 760-922-4215.


Blue Ridge Guide Service .... Call Bill Sweetser for quail, turkey, bear, bobcat, and deer in the southern Sierra Mountains of California. 2 hours north of Los Angeles. PH# 559-789-1954. bill'

If you know of any other quail hunting guides please e-mail us at Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors webmaster email and we will update the listing.


Beretta ....
Brownells .... Everything you need for your guns.
Browning ....
E.A.R. Hearing Protection and Hearing Aids .... Protect your precious hearing with these fine quality ear plugs. JHO sponsor.
Ithaca ....
Knight Muzzleloaders ....
Mossberg .... Shotguns and rifles.
Remington ....
Ruger ....
Weatherby ....
Winchester ....


Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) .... Offers weekend skills clinics to women throughout North America. Explore our pages and discover  what's waiting in the great outdoors! .... All gunowners in CA need to help support Calguns.
California Dept. of Fish and Game
California Rifle And Pistol Association (CRPA)
.... Founded way back in 1875, the California Rifle and Pistol Association is an organization of sportsmen dedicated to the preservation of our American heritage. In this age of constant political attacks on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms for legitimate purposes, the California Rifle and Pistol Association is the state organization dedicated to protecting firearm freedoms and promoting shooting sports.
COHA .... The California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA) is a partnership of wildlife conservation organizations, outdoor industry, other related interests, and individuals who support science-based wildlife management and the promotion of our hunting rights in California. COHA serves to effectively counter the growing threats and challenges to our outdoor traditions by working all levels of government.
Hunter Education Instructor Association of Southern California, Inc. .... is a non profit corporation, operated for charitable and educational purposes, which operates under the guidelines of the California Department of Fish & Game to provide and improve upon the state mandated certificate training program for safe, responsible and knowledgeable hunters. Secondly, to recruit quality hunter education instructors; provide initial, ongoing and advanced training programs for the hunter education instructors, provide training aids and resources, encourage safe and responsible archery and all shooting sports. Finally, to promote hunting opportunities and encourage hunter retention; act as liaisons with biologists and wildlife management programs; and solicit contributions in support of the Hunter Education Instructor Association of Southern California objectives.
Hunters for the Hungry .... A great nationwide effort for sportsmen to donate extra game meat to help those in need.
Hunt Of A Lifetime .... is a nonprofit organization that grants hunting and fishing adventures to children who have been diagnosed with terminal or life threatening illnesses. We are making a difference. We need your help.
International Hunter Education Association
.... Hunter Education classes explore a variety of topics, including wildlife identification, landowner relations, outdoor survival skills, wildlife management, field care of game, and more. Volunteers teach all types of hunter safety, including the use of various modern firearms, black powder, and bow and arrow.
National Rifle Association .... If you're a gun owner, you really need to join, to maintain your 2nd amendment right to bear arms.
Quail Unlimited .... Quail Unlimited was established in 1981 to battle the problem of dwindling quail and wildlife habitat. Quail Unlimited, Inc. is the only national, non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the wise management of America's wild quail as a valuable and renewable resource.
Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation
.... Formed in 2009, the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, Inc™ (QUWF), based in Buffalo, Missouri, a rural community whose agricultural roots and moral compass reflect the core of QUWF, was organized to better focus efforts, donated dollars and partnerships on immediate and positive habitat projects to “Turn-The- Dirt“©™ for upland wildlife.
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Alliance
.... The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Alliance is a huge grassroots effort to give hunters and anglers a stronger collective voice. It's an alliance of individual sportsmen and women, plus national conservation groups, as well as local and regional clubs and organizations who care about the future of wildlife and outdoor activities on the 192 million acres of National Forests and grasslands.
Safari Club International .... Advocate for 45 million hunters and wildlife conservation worldwide.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service .... Conserving the Nature of America.
Water For Wildlife .... This is the group led by Cliff McDonald that rehabs all the guzzlers in the Mojave NP. Working to keep access to ALL wildlife drinkers/guzzlers,springs, tinajas, wells and tanks.  Support the Junior upland game bird hunt in East Mojave.
Wildlife Legislative Fund of America .... The Wildlife Legislative Fund of America (WLFA) provides direct lobbying and grassroots coalition support to protect and advance the rights of hunters, fishermen, trappers and scientific wildlife management professionals. This is accomplished through coalition building, ballot issue campaigning and legislative and government relations.

If you know of any other quail organizations please e-mail us at Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors webmaster email and we will update the listing.


California Game And Fish ....
California Sportsman ... Some of the staff from the old Fishing and Hunting News are here.
Western Outdoor News .... Fine weekly newspaper with maps and tons of timely reports. $36.95 for 52 issues. Ph# 1-714-546-4370. Call the 'Hunter's Hotline' to give your story for publishing. Ph # 1-714-546-4370 ext. 48 or fax: 1-714-662-3486 or e-mail:

Quail Hunting Websites, Talk Forums

Jesse's Hunting Hunting & Outdoors (JHO) Upland Bird Forum .... Great place to ask and read about hunting quail.

If you know of any other quail hunting websites please e-mail us at Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors webmaster email and we will update the listing.


Quail Meat Care and Recipes

Source: CA DFG "Guide to Hunting the Quail of California".


Most hunters have developed some method to humanely kill a crippled bird. For those that are not sure, here is an easy-to- learn method that is quick and humane.

1) Place right or left thumb on base of neck where it hits the skull. Wrap the index finger underneath and grasp firmly.

2) With other hand, place a finger under the bill and lift sharply back toward your thumb. This breaks the neck.


The quail should be dressed (gutted) as -soon as possible. It is a good idea to dress them as soon as there is a lull in the action. The basic method goes as follows:

1) Hold or place the quail belly side up and pluck the feathers from between the vent (anus) and the bottom of the breast bone. Pluck a few feathers at a time by pulling with sharp jerks toward the tail. Caution, the skin tears easily.

2) Make a small cut through the skin- across the area you just plucked. Make sure not to cut the guts.

3) With a small gutting hook or your finger reach up into the body cavity (toward the head) and gently pull out the guts. Pull or cut off the intestine and the vent.

4) Be sure to remove the lungs (the red-pink spongy stuff up in the body cavity). Also wipe or rinse out any blood. If you wash the body cavity out be sure to wipe it dry.

5) Next remove the crop. With the bird on its back, you will find a lump at the front of the breast at the base of the neck. Slit the skin and you will find a thin leathery pouch about the size of a large marble. It may be filled with seeds, grass, insects, and water, or nothing at all. Pull in out and discard.

You are done with the field dressing. This allows the bird to cool as quickly as possible, and removes as many sources of bacteria as possible. Small numbers of these bacteria promote aging, but large numbers will spoil the bird quickly. It is always important to get the birds cooled down and kept cold as soon as possible. It is especially so during the early part of the season when it can be quite hot. So get the birds on ice quickly. It is also important not to let them get wet in the ice chest. Water promotes the contamination and growth of bacteria.



When you get home, remove all internal organs that may still be in the bird. This includes the heart, kidneys, and the wind pipe. The next task is to pluck the birds. The bird can be skinned very easily, but the skin should be left on because it adds flavor and helps keep the meat moist  when cooking

There are two methods of plucking quail. The dry method involves simply pulling a pinch full of feathers at a time toward the tail of the bird (with the grain). However, it is not uncommon to tear the skin when doing this. The second method, wet plucking, makes it easier to pluck without tearing the skill

To wet pluck you need a good sized pot of hot water (about 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit) filled about half way. The water should be deep enough to allow complete immersion of the quail. Dunk one quail at a time for about one minute. Remove from the water and pluck the feathers. Wipe both the outside and inside of the bird dry. Cut off the feet at the first joint above the feet, and the head. Place in refrigerator if you are going to eat it soon, or freeze it.

If you dry Pluck, wipe the body cavity dry if internal organs were not ruptured. If they were, you should rinse Out the body cavity with water and wipe dry.


If the quail are not going to be eaten within about a week, they should be frozen using one of the following methods:

1) Freeze them in water. For example: Place 5-6 cleaned quail in a half gallon milk carton. Fill with water to within 1/2 - inch of the top crease of the flat sides. Staple the top shut and label with  contents and date frozen. They will keep this way almost until next season.

2) Ziplock bags - place cleaned birds in bag and squeeze out the air and seal. Warning: if water gets onto the seal it may fail when freezing. This will result in freezer bum. You should check to see if the seal held.

3) Tightly double wrap several quail in heavy butcher paper and label with date and contents.

If they are going to be consumed immediately or within a week the cleaned and dry quail should be placed in a scaled container in the refrigerator (plastic wrap or re-sealable plastic container).


You do not have to age quail to have a fine meal, but to get the most out of them and if you like flavorful, tender game, you should age it. It has been found through taste tests on game that well aged meat was always rated the highest for taste, texture and tenderness. The gamey taste and tenderness of meat is caused by the breakdown of muscle tissue by certain bacteria. These same bacteria will cause spoilage of the meat if they become to numerous. This is usually recognized by a strong off-odor. The French do not consider their game sufficiently aged until it is in a condition most of us would consider rotten. Another type of bacteria can cause food poisoning, but does not grow in cold places like your refrigerator. Therefore, so long as you age your quail in the refrigerator you don't have to worry very much about food poisoning.

Aging of upland game can be done nicely in your refrigerator. Place cleaned - dry quail in a sealed container into the refrigerator (plastic wrap or other air-tight container). They can be left there up to about 7 days (at 47 degrees Fahrenheit or less). The longer you leave them, the more gamey the taste. Birds left over 7 days may become too ripe. How long it takes to get to your favorite level of gaminess depends upon several factors:

1) How warm it was in the field. In hot weather they can spoil in a day.

2) How quickly you cooled them down. The faster the better.

3) How well they were cleaned and how badly they were shot up - Poorly cleaned or badly shot-up quail will age very quickly. Whenever shot has passed through the gut and into the meat aging will occur much more quickly there. These quail should not be aged more than three or four days before eating.

4) The temperature at which they were aged. The higher above freezing, the faster they age.

The aging process begins as soon as you kill them. Therefore, birds bagged, cleaned, and placed in the refrigerator all on the same day will take longer to age, or keep in the refrigerator longer than one bagged Saturday, cleaned and put in the refrigerator on Sunday night. The best way to tell when the game has reached a desired level of aging is by smell. It will take some experimentation to familiarize yourself with the smell of meat that has aged to your liking.



Ingredients: serves 2 (2 kabobs per person) 2 quail, deboned. 1 large bell pepper, 8 mushrooms, 1 small to medium onion, 1 can pineapple chunks or fresh pineapple, 8 cherry tomatoes, 1/4 lb. bacon, seasoning or marinade - your favorite, teriyaki, wine, or straight.

Debone whole quail by filleting out the breast, wing, and leg muscles. Cut meat into about 1" cubes. Wrap each piece with half a strip of bacon. Cut bell pepper, onion, and pineapple into about 1" chunks. On each skewer place 2-3 pieces of wrapped meat, 2 mushrooms, 2 pieces of onion, 2 cherry tomatoes, 2-3 pieces of bell pepper, and 2 pieces of pineapple. Alternate the pieces when you put them on the skewer and make sure that no piece of meat or tomato is an end piece (the meat will dry out, and the tomato will fall off). Season or marinade the kabobs to your liking. Place over coals and turn every few minutes until done.


2 quail per person. Sliced mushrooms - at least 2 cups, 1/4-1/2 cup chopped green onions, Wild rice, 2 tbsps. lemon juice, Salt - to liking, Ground pepper, Dry white wine - at least 1 cup, 1/2 cup butter or margarine.

Brown plucked quail in butter-, remove from pan and set aside. Sauté mushrooms and onion in pan. Place quail, mushrooms, and onion in a shallow pan and cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, remove foil and add wine, lemon juice, a little salt, and pepper. Cook for another 15 minutes or until brown, basting often. Serve hot over cooked wild rice.


2 quail per person. Sliced mushrooms, sliced bell peppers, sliced tomatoes, salsa - preferably fresh and mild temperature (hot for those craving a zinger of a meal), sliced red onion, garlic, ground pepper, butter or margarine, 1 can tomato sauce.

Split quail (with or without skin) in half (lengthwise), place in large skillet with butter, grated garlic, and tomato sauce. Bring to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes and red onion, and salsa. Simmer for 30 minutes or until done. Can be served as is or on toast or rice.


2 quail per person. 1 small to medium red onion, 2 cups sliced mushrooms, 1/4 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup white wine,  All-purpose flour, pepper salt, 1 clove garlic, 2 slices thick sourdough toast per person.

Sprinkle the quail inside and out with a mixture of flour salt and pepper. Brown quail in large skillet with butter or margarine and grated garlic., Add mushrooms, sliced onion and wine, cover and let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir and simmer for another 15 minutes uncovered. Serve quail on toast with sauce poured over quail.


1 cup plum jelly, 2 tbsps. Catsup, 2 tbsps. apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, 4 tbsps. Soy sauce, 6 quail

by Keith Sitton Arkansas Wildlife

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is heating, make plum sauce by thoroughly all condiments and spices. Place quail in a glass baking dish, and roast, uncovered, 15-20 minutes. Brush with plum sauce, and roast 10 minutes more. Serve with the remaining plum sauce, heated and presented in a gravy boat.