Darin and I got out for an upland hunt on Sunday and it turned out to be the best one of the year so far. I had planned to focus on Hungarian partridge in Garfield Co. after finding several coveys on my last visit to this area. As we got closer to our destination, the sun was coming up on the horizon and I just had to stop and take some pictures. I was pretty happy with how the one turned out that I have attached.
Sometimes, the sun even shines on a dog’s backside and we hit the jackpot by finding a spot loaded with valley quail. As we were nearing the area to hunt huns, I noticed an enormous amount of quail on a side road and slowed down to check them out. At least a 100 quail got up and flew up to a brushy draw while another 50 or so took off running for the closer cover near the road. I told Darin we had to find out who owned that and get permission. After a knock on a nearby door and a couple of phone calls later, I was provided with the location of the landowner so I knocked on their door at about 8:00 a.m. and feared waking them up. My fears came true as the farmer’s wife opened the door with the look that screamed “what do you want”? I apologized profusely and went with my request and she somehow granted it. I temporarily felt bad but those feelings quickly went away when we arrived at the spot and the rest of the quail got up and flew to the same location as the previous 100 or so. I knew they had made a fatal decision for some of them as I quickly unloaded the dogs and collared them up. We headed up the hill to where they flew and the dogs instantly locked up. When I walked in to the side of my dogs, an eruption of quail got up like I’ve never experienced before and I don’t know how I managed to pick just 2 birds out and shoot them, but I did. From that point on, it was a continuous 45 minutes of point, shoot, retrieve for Darin, the dogs and me. At the end of that time span, Darin and I had our limits of 10 quail a piece. Darin took a bit longer than I did and in fact he missed 4 shots in a row after he had 9 birds. At that point, Junior pointed a quail that would not flush so he reached down and grabbed the bird and let Darin take it as if to say, here you go, I’ll get that last one for you. It was a funny moment for sure. We snapped some photos of the quail and the dogs were all on point on more quail as we took the pictures. Attached are photos of dogs on point and the quail taken. I didn’t keep exact count of the number of points, but it had to be over 40 different points by the dogs.
After the exciting quail hunt, we moved on in pursuit of huns. When we arrived at the spot, I let Rose and Jock out and left Junior to rest as he is not holding up well these days to the physical demands of hunting for long periods of time. As I was putting shells in my vest, I kind of half-jokingly commented to Darin that Rose had been gone for a few minutes so she must have a covey of huns nailed nearby. Sure enough as we crested the hill in the direction we wanted to hunt, Rose was a statue in the short grass and rocky terrain that huns call home. The huns had moved ahead as they typically do this time of year and I released Rose and she and Jock went to work on pinning them down. Once they were both staunch, Darin and I moved ahead of them and a covey of huns exploded in front of us. I thought I saw 3 huns come down with our first shots, but it was just 2 and then I was able to take another one as the covey almost got out of range. So we were off to a good start right out of the truck. We proceeded to move 5 more coveys over the next 3 hours and I was able to shoot 6 huns on the walk while Darin picked up one. We didn’t have as much success at nailing all the coveys as I did on my last trip, but it was still cool to watch Rose and Jock work the 10 mph breeze to their advantage to find our quarry. We intended to hunt another spot in the last hour of the day, but when we arrived at that location fog had moved in heavily and it was too risky to run dogs and chance losing them. I snapped a photo of my first ever combined limit of huns and quail and we headed to Dayton for a hearty meal at Ray’s Drive-in to cap off the best WA upland day of the season for me. This hunt actually rivaled ones I’ve had in Montana. The weather couldn’t have been more ideal and the birds were a plenty. The dogs more than did their job on this day and we all got enough walking in that made it easy to fall asleep that night. I’m looking forward to a return trip soon to say the least.