If you’ve been looking to hunt in Georgia, then you’ve most likely been told many times about the practice of quail hunting. Quail hunting in Georgia is a southern tradition that dates back more than 150 years. It initially took place with hunters riding horses and mule-drawn wagons across fields and plantations. While the cultural aspect of horseback riding and wagons is mainly a symbol of past heritage, modern quail hunting remains a popular hunt across Georgia and the Southern states.
Why Do People Hunt Quail?
Contemporary quail hunting is a great way for hunters of all levels to hone their skills and spend a day outdoors practicing their favorite sports. Amateur hunters learn about essential hunting practices, what distances they should take, and basic hunting safety practices. The more seasoned hunters can enjoy a great day of hunting with smaller prey that is easier to process after the hunt.
Quail hunting works best with hunting dogs, which is why it is so popular. Hunters can train their dogs to chase, flush and retrieve their prey without destroying it. Quail are small enough to be easy to carry but also delicate, so the dog will have to learn not to bite too hard to keep the prey intact for use after the hunt.
People hunt quail for the food that they provide. There are many classic Southern recipes, such as Georgia quail in gravy’, Georgia-style grilled quail, and many more. Quail are smaller than other birds like ducks, geese, and chicken, but the meat they produce is delicious. Quail also mature more quickly at around seven weeks, meaning that you can hunt them more regularly.
Georgia Bobwhite Quail
Georgia’s most common and popular quail species, what they look like, how to spot them, what sort of terrain they congregate
Georgia’s most common and popular quail species is the Bobwhite quail. It can be considered a small bird, ranging from 9.5 to 11 inches long. Its head is smaller compared to its more prominent and rounded body. It still has a reasonably large wingspan spreading at 13 to 15 inches. You can recognize Bobwhite quail by their brownish body color and the distinctive white streak on their head. Their tail is grey, and their feet and legs are of a pale color.
Bobwhite Quail tend to congregate in open fields and woody areas. They will often favor the protection of high grasses, and in fact, they are cautious by nature, preferring to feel protected as often as they can. It is why you won’t see them much in bare areas. Bobwhite quail also enjoy moving around, so they favor thin grass over thick grass, making it easier for them to move fast should they need to.
When Is The Ideal Time To Hunt Quail?
The Georgia quail hunting season mostly takes place yearly between mid-November to the end of February. It is a hunt that works best throughout the autumn and winter seasons. Quail can find sustenance from worms and bugs in damp areas, so timing your hunt during the quail hunting season after the rains have stopped is the best way to go about it.
Seasons for quail may change, so be sure to look at the current season regulations on the Georgia Wildlife site.
Good visibility is essential, both for the hunter and the hunting dogs, especially with such small prey. Therefore, hunting quail is recommended during calm weather, avoiding rainy, foggy, and windy conditions. Most quail hunters will start their hunt in the early mornings to maximize their chances of finding quail while out and about.
Quail Hunting Gear
When it comes to dressing up, you will want to be comfortable. Quail hunting is different from hunting larger prey such as deer; you won’t always need to be too sneaky. It is essential to wear an orange vest so that the other hunters can see you. Ideally, you will want a vest with large pockets to put in all your supplies and equipment. A warm plaid shirt can also work. Having a game pouch to transport your game is also very handy.
As far as pants go, you can go in camo, but a pair of quality jeans will work perfectly. You can take a hunting cap to keep your ears warm during the cold morning, preferably orange so that others can see you. As far as your feet go, you will be walking in potentially wet terrain, so take some suitable lightweight and waterproof boots and a good quality pair of socks.
Regarding hunting essentials, you can take a bag with extra gear and clothing, along with your hunting essentials. Your bag should include the following: food & snacks, water, rain gear, a first aid kit, a survival blanket, a knife, headlamp, flashlight, rangefinder, fire starters, lighter, game call, baby wipes, rubber gloves, and your hunting license. It might sound like a lot, but if you can buy most of these items quickly and make up a bag, you’ll be prepared for the great outdoors.
As far as weapons go, shotguns are the preferred weapons. The key is finding a gun that you are comfortable with, with both range and accuracy. The most popular shotguns for quail hunters are 20-gauge and 12-gauge, with a long barrel for enough range, preferably no shorter than 26 inches.
Essential Quail Hunting Tips
Quail are very weary and will fly away as soon as they feel they are in danger. It is why hunting dogs are essential. Let your hunting dog do the pointing, and get prepared and in position. When your dog goes for the flushing, you will be in place and ready to shoot when the quail fly away.
You should always be aware of your position and the other hunter’s position so that you never shoot in the other hunter’s direction. The best way to avoid accidents is never to shoot a low-flying quail. Always aim high and wait until your prey is further up high to take your shot.
If you are new to quail hunting or hunting, make the most of your hunting guide. Listen, ask questions, and take time to ingest all that information. Professional hunting guides know how to take you through an enjoyable and successful hunt, so trust them and follow their lead.
Another tip for beginner hunters is to get ready for a long outdoor day. You will be walking a lot, which can be tiring. Take the proper sleep the night before, eat well, hydrate, and prepare yourself in the weeks ahead by taking shorter walks into nature. Being less tired during your hunt will allow you to focus better on your prey and safety.
If you happen to travel to Georgia, whether you are new to hunting or an expert, Georgia Quail Hunting is an excellent way to hone your hunting skills or enjoy a good day out hunting. You will discover the countryside in all its beauty and enjoy one of the best parts of southern hospitality. Quail hunting is a great way to get into hunting, and it might just be your thing.
Wayne Gilbert is the owner of Quail Hunting Georgia. He carries the quail hunting tradition to his family and other hunters, amateurs, and veterans alike. Wayne’s mission is to make people discover the joys of hunting across his plantation. There is nothing else he loves more than to share his Southern hospitality with others and create the best memories of the perfect quail hunting adventure.