Upland Opener

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by andrew, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. andrew

    andrew Active Member

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    Arrived at our hunting spot at o'dark thirty and was pleasantly surprised to find nobody! Walked for 30 minutes or so and busted what we thought was a covey of chukars, took a desparation shot only to watch them sail down hill and 400 yards away. Decided we'd try for them on our way back and continued to push north. About a few hours later we were making our way back, but much lower in the draw. Was walking through some pretty thick sage, mixed with crabapple, and tall grasses when I bumped a covey of 15 or so quail. Managed to drop one on my second shot, and a moment later a half dozen or so launched, and I dropped a second. Marked the general area where number one went with my hat since number two was a hard hit and feathers were everywhere. Libby found #2 and we proceeded to look for #1...spent better a half hour searching through the sage and brush and couldn't find squat. I absolutely hate losing birds! Needless to say I vowed that I wouldn't shoot beyond one if given a second chance. We continued to work back south and bumped our covey of 'chukars', but to far out for a shot. Watched them fly back up and into the rocks 400 or so yards out. One look at my buddy Jon and I could tell he was not going up! I swaped out my #8's for 6's and dashed off to find this covey with Libby who if she wasn't my dog she'd probably would have not come along! My panting partner and myself reached the top only to hear Jon yell "they flushed again further to the right!"...we pushed over the edge and started working the grass on the bench when I started hearing this "chuuuuk chuuuk" in front and to my right, just as I pushed the safety off 6 or so birds flushed in front just out of range, however, the birds to my right flushed and swung right in front of me...pulled the trigger and watched one tumble! Libby retrieved 'our' first Hun! Made our way back down to the draw and circled back to where we left off. A few steps further and we busted another covey of quail; which I managed to bag one...kept my earlier oath.

    Numbers in my bag would suggest a 'alright' day, however, it was awesome...I finally bagged a quail and to boot a hun...been trying for three years! Just awesome when your dog you've trained does thier job, and the shells you reload actually work.

    BTW - #8 can do a number on quail too...my first bird had no head. I think I'll drop and 1/8 of an ounce next time :clown:
     
  2. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    Congrats on a fun hunt and your first Hun. Save those feathers.
     
  3. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    Sounds like a grand day to me . . . congrats!
     
  4. Roper

    Roper Idiot Savant

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    Andrew, good hunting!

    If I remember, you're shooting a 16...right? Not bad for quail, chokes are the real determining factor. What choke are you using?

    If I'm targeting quail I usually take my 28ga. It's a delight to carry and the modified choke throws a nice pattern from 20 to 30 yards.
     
  5. andrew

    andrew Active Member

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    Roper - I had Briley thread my 11-48 since it was originally intended to be a duck gun (fixed full barrel), and ordered it with C, IC, and IM. I had the IC screwed in since the C choke was poor - fair at 30 yard trap. I might have done well if I put the C in since both quail were taken well under 30, however, I'd never have gotten the hun.

    My load was: 15 grains of 700X, 16 ga sporting wad, 1 ounce of #8, and overshot card (2.5 DRAM 1165 fps). I probably could drop and 1/8 of an ounce? I'm wondering if it would be worth it to mix up a batch of #8 with a spreader wad?
     
  6. Gary Thompson

    Gary Thompson dirty dog

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    Good shooting Andrew
    My opening morning was beautiful with the sun rise over the river.
    We flushed one covey and I only took one bird.
    Fishing at Black lake later that morning was a bigger hit.
    Many fat bows to hand.
     
  7. ganglyangler

    ganglyangler Bird Dogs and Fly Rods

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    Nice report! Sounds like a lotta fun! Can't wait to get out... damn house projects!
     
  8. Roper

    Roper Idiot Savant

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    Andrew, that sounds like a nice load, not to hot, not too much shot, you must have hit that quail just right. Don't change anything unless you just want to stretch the Niceshot a little farther.
     
  9. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    You guys are killing me with these hunting reports, since my pup is in "Live Bird Finals Week" at the trainer's, then he gets his dates cancelled upon his return. I had to console myself on last weekend's opening day with a bright hen Chinook on the Yakima (but it was fun!). For Quail, I too use a modified tube on my 20 & 28 single barrels, improved & modified on double guns. I tend to favor 7-1/2 shot where I can use lead, #6 steel in the single 20 with an improved choke when I'm hunting non-tox locations.
     
  10. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

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    I was hunting the same general area as Andrew. I was with a fairly large group of 8 hunter and we were kind of treating this as a tune up for our Montana cast and blast leaving this Friday. I was very encouraged with the quail numbers and also the number of huns seen. Also, on one strip of land there were 20 pheasants flushing along about a 1 mile strip of cover near a river. I certainly could have had my limit of pheasants if they were in season! We all got 2 to 4 birds of a mixed bag, shooting about the same number of quail and huns. I was using my new 28 GA I bought from Red's Fly Shop and is is a magic wand for me! Hit the first 5 birds I shot at. I was using 7 1/2 in the first barrel and a 6 in the second. For non toxic I swallowed hard and bought some bismuth 7 1/2 and some Hevishot 6. Needles to say, I don't take "hail mary" shots with these shell. It was definitely a great start to the season and the first time we have had a group of hunters at my almost done cabin. Except for a couple snorers it was a great weekend! Rick
     
  11. Noah Pefaur

    Noah Pefaur New Member

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    This seems like the right group to ask this question too. I had my first day hunting last weekend, looking for Quail but covering ground that looked likely for Chukar. I have a 20g shotgun, which I have been told is perfect for just about every upland bird except for pheasant. Because of the rule changes regarding toxic shot I decided to buy all non-toxic ammunition before I went out. Holy crap. All I could find is #6 Hevi-shot at $30 a box, and i'm not that good a shot from what I could tell so I bought a crap load of it. Lucky for me we hiked for 6 hours and the only birds we saw were a covey of quail that ran in front of our car as we drove into the parking area, otherwise I could have spent a fortune. So, my questions are: Can I shoot a #6 at a Quail, Chukar, Hun from a 20g? At what distance do they normally flush? (So I can get the right choke in there). And does anyone know of a public area with Quail that doesn't look like a Ranger ropes course? Any thoughts are helpful. By the end of the day I had to throw sticks into bushes to get my dog to flush she was so tired.
     
  12. andrew

    andrew Active Member

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    Noah,

    Rather than invest money on non-toxic, read the regs on where it is required. Granted going the non-toxic route is playing it safe and you shouldn't have to ever worry if you're in the right or wrong. Good quail areas can be also associated with chukar/hun. For instance Swakane area to the North of Wenatchee has chukar up high in the rim rock, however, in the brush draws below the rims hold quail. I'm finding that if the cover is thick...you'll find quail. Also, if you can find pockets of russian olives hunt around them...quail use them to roost. Lastly, look for sentries...quail always have one or two birds that watch over the covey as they feed...you see them (they probably see you), get ready! Lastly, once bounced, circle around the area they flushed to...they will have broken up and you can then focus on picking up the individuals, as well listen for their tell tale call "where are you." I'd use #8 or 7.5, but keep some larger #6 if you're in chukar area.
     
  13. D3Smartie

    D3Smartie Active Member

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    Noah,

    You can shoot anything with a 20ga. I shoot a 28ga for upland and have taken just about every upland bird we have in the state with it. It is simply a matter of being a good shot.
    I certainly would not start out shooting hevishot for upland birds. get some cheap steel or lead if you can use it in that area you are hunting. The hevishot is great but I would use #6 hevi for ducks if i had any.
     
  14. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    Ditto what D3 stated. I use a 12 for geese & turkey (and bear insurance) and a 20 or 28 for everything else (28 is my fav). I use 6 & 7 shot in lead & 6 in Kent Faststeel in my 20's when required. I clean-kill as many birds as my 12-totin' partner, but don't get as tired packing the gun and the shells all day. I also shoot a lot of clays during the summer.