Friday, January 16, 2015

Edisto Island Quail Hunt - January 2015

Two quail hunters share camaraderie in the field

When sportsmen go afield with bird dogs they honor both the tradition of quail hunting and those that went hunting before them. January is always the middle section of quail season each year, bringing a time to embrace each and every day when the weather allows an upland hunt. A recent return to rural parts of Edisto Island brought three hunters together on an afternoon where one newbie, the hunt host and I walked behind a brace of bird dogs.

Mark Steedley approaches his two pointers with confidence
Mark Steedley keeps his bird dogs ready during winter for quail season, and he enjoys time spent working them for quail, the same as many of us. I joined Steedley in an effort to share a quail hunting experience with Julie Gyselinck from Explore Edisto. This newbie lady hunter was armed with a borrowed 20-gauge double-barrel shotgun for the day, and while her shots never did connect with a flushing quail, they did serve to connect her with an in-depth appreciation for seeing the dog’s work.  

Seborn Rogers served as Gamekeeper on this hunt
At the beginning of the hunt, guide Seborn Rogers demonstrated to Gyselinck how to load and handle the firearm. Firing off some test shots into the air, she quickly learned to brace against the moderate kick from the shotgun, and to insert some earplugs too. The first point of the day came from a setter named Cha-Cha and the bird flew to my side of the hunt formation. Despite Cha-cha banging into my leg when she bounded after the flushing quail, I was able to steady my base and connect on a shot at a fleeing target.

Explore Edisto magazine was on assignment
The day ended with a pointer named Trap standing over some birds, and as I approached I recalled that I had hunted over Trap three years prior and I admired that he was still working hard in the field. Going over the same ground with a good friend and his trusty canine only brings a more resolute appreciation for the sport. Three birds flushed and two of them came to my side of the hunt formation. The first shot from my twenty-gauge double barrel went through an improved cylinder choke and was on the mark, causing the bird to fall to the earth. The second shot went through a modified choke designed for longer shots, and while striking the quail, it fell a good ways away. When Trap charged over and to find that quail and then retrieve it I was grateful for his assistance to complete a rare double that ended our day on a high note.

To view this entire article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from Edisto quail hunting click here.

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