HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 10 - WILDLIFE
The quail hunting tradition is a great one, and it calls for a great bird dog.
The bobwhite quail is the most common species of quail—it’s the one you’ll be after if you go quail hunting. These little, round birds are camouflage experts. They have intricate coloring with coppery brown and black feathers. Their bodies blend into their grassland habitats seamlessly but their faces stand out with bold black and white-colored markings. Both male and female quails have small heads, short tails and rounded wings. The females will be smaller in size and will have a yellowish-colored throat.
Quail primarily eat seeds and leaves but will supplement their diet with insects. They tend to forage as a group, scratching up and pecking away at low plants and leaf litter. Additionally, quail can be found rummaging in agricultural crops. It’s easy pickin’s for them… and for you if you have permission to hunt on the farm property.
Quail stick around all year and can be found in a variety of habitats in south-eastern North America. You’ll find them in open fields, grasslands, forested areas, and on farmland. Here’s a habitat location tip: They seem to avoid mature forests and prefer fresh, new growth. If an area has been burned to allow regrowth, or the land is being farmed, that will be a hotspot for quail. They nest on the ground, scraping out a small hole that’s usually about 6 inches wide and 2 inches deep… but good luck finding one. They’re really well hidden. Quail have figured out that if they industriously weave grasses and twigs together, their nest will blend right into the background.
Firearms, Ammo & Your Target
Like with most game birds, a shotgun is the best firearm option for hunting quail. Most quail hunters will use a 20-gauge shotgun with an improved choke cylinder, but a .410 and 12-gauge can also be used. For your ammo, a 7½ – 8 load shotshell will do the trick.
Hunting Tip: Quail feed in the morning and late afternoon. Know the feeding cycles of these birds and you can forecast when you should be sitting and waiting for them to come to breakfast.