A lot of recent Mearns Quail Hunting Reports would make for good Country and Western Songs.Other reports are a lot more up beat.The reality is the Sonoran Desert is not an easy place to Bird Hunt,Conditions are tough on both Hunters and Dogs yet some folks dont get that.Most will admit that Opening day was tough,I was going into previously scouted Canyons only to have unproductive points… a humbling experience.then on the last loop of the day “Patch”had 3 covey finds in 45 minutes. . .go figure.
So what was going on ? How about hot dry weather coupled with lack of rain = piss poor scenting conditions.Some Say lack of Birds is to play but both realistically and biologically the birds are there,afterall the Monsoon rains came and went with normal to above normal amounts of percip.Maybe a bumper year never happened because the rains ended early ? who knows,the Jury is still out.Covey sizes generally seem healthy averaging 10 birds ,yet some folks feel they are light in numbers ?We are not dealing with tight holding Mearns Quail as stated in the brochure, instead they have traded in their Loafers for Running Shoes and are moving away from the threat via running,so perhaps hunters are getting up bits and pieces of coveys.
The recent rain helped out a lot with all the Mearns finding problems,which of course means dogs could now point then track or relocate to the running birds.The Hunting Pressure has also diminished as a lot of info out on the Interweb states that the hunting is tough.We like that.It keeps the Instant Gratification Hunters away leaving more space for the true “all about the experience”Hunters.Over the last few seasons Mearns Hunters have been spoiled,expectations have been set way to high and anyone that has hunted Mearns Quail long enough will tell that a 6-8 covey day is the norm,anything above that is a bonus.The lack of rain in future forecasts also means scenting conditions will return to tough.Steve Hopkins a long time Arizona Quail Hunting Guide stated that “if there is not frost on your windshield in the AM you are going to be working for them”, he’s right as the frost is an indicator of how much humidity is in the air.
Without going to off track a myth that is also floating out there in Cyber Land is that somehow “that hunting is an additive to negative Mearns Quail Reproduction” this myth is blown away by any Biologist.Better than that Born and Raised Patagonia Resident Bob Morrietta put it to me this way “If it rains we have birds,If it doesn’t we don’t know matter how many birds are harvested ” I’ll take Bob’s wisdom over anyone else’s any day of the week. Unlike some of the Mearns Experts that live elsewhere Bob is engaged in all things happening in Mearns Land via stringing fences,working cows and following his Shorthairs.He knows.Bob’s thoughts on this season are “the Mearns are out there,but maybe not as good as the last couple of years but its still pretty good.He’s Right.
So there you have it my bird hunting friends,the skinny on whats going on.Keep your fingers crossed for rain and cooler temps and in the meantime tighten up your boots, put on your big boy or girl underwear, enjoy yourself and savor the moment.