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Quail Hunting: Getting Started and Finding Success

Quail Hunting
Getty Images: Obradovic

Here are some key pieces of advice to get any novice out there quail hunting.

The first time any prospective upland bird hunter ever gets to see a covey of quail flush, with birds flying in every direction, the only thing they want to do is to have a chance to test their shooting skill and try to knock one down.

For the veteran quail hunter to get a kid quail hunting, (or any novice) it is a great way to go back in time to the day they tried to pick out a bird from the bunch and try to focus a shotgun bead on it. We'll be the first to tell you: it's not easy!

Since that time we've learned what choke tubes are all about, the differences in weight and handling between over/under and side-by-side, and why a good pair of shooting glasses can make all the difference.

Quail hunting is as fun as it looks, and it's also a very learned skill. We're here to let you know that anyone can do it!

Quail Hunting Locations

Let's take just a quick look at the places best suited to pursue these diminutive and tasty little game birds this hunting season, since not every state has the best possibilities to bag one. We'll go ahead and say that the northeastern states mostly have viable populations of quail, but it is the southern states such as Georgia, Florida, and Alabama that have some great go-to quail hunting.

Honestly, it is the mid-western states such as Missouri, Kentucky, and Kansas that have some of the best quail hunting in the nation with Arizona, Texas, and particularly Idaho that routinely have the best quail hunting across the country. Mostly because they have some of the best quail habitat around. 

Sure, not everyone can have access to a great wild quail hunting area but it has to be said that some states are better than others when it come to a quail hunting trip. 

Gun Dogs

quail hunting
Craig Raleigh

So you've gotten yourself to an area that holds quail, but you still have to find them and nothing does that better than a finished gun dog. Again, not everyone has access to a fine hunting dog and the fact remains that you can still hunt quail without one, but when a solid pointing dog locks on point you'll get a much better opportunity to score at the moment of truth.

This leads us to another obvious choice for a novice quail hunter.

Guided Quail Hunt

Quail plantations in places like Georgia and Texas offer up more than just the chance to finally get some great wingshooting done. There are other great amenities such as food, lodging, and sometimes even the chance to get some great fishing in on an off day!

Some ranches even offer hunters self-guided hunts over finished wild bird dogs or hunts with veteran guides that can handle the dogs for you. It's helpful because the guides know exactly where the birds are hiding.

Proper Gear

Quail Hunting
Getty Images: Obradovic

Depending on where you will be hunting and taking into consideration the weather conditions, you will generally need a good pair of walking pants that can stand up to the briars and wet conditions all in the same day. Lightweight, long sleeved shirts are the order of the day to protect you from bugs as well as thorns.

A shooting vest with plenty of storage pockets and some amount of safety colors to keep you visible to your hunting party is a must as well. Other considerations include hats, gloves, and protective eyewear depending on the terrain you will be hunting.


While most upland bird hunters prefer their trusty 12 gauge, it may be a great idea to consider the inimitable and sporting 20 gauge shotgun for simplicity and lightness in the hands. Some even prefer a .410 as there can be plenty of time in the field carrying your firearm through differing types of cover.

Since most scatterguns come complete with choke tube systems, it should be said that a choke in the improved cylinder to skeet to the diffusion type will give a new quail hunter the best chance to hit the target when a covey launches and scatters.

Other Considerations

Understanding the different quail species is a part of the learning process as well. There are scaled quail in Texas, Gambel's quail in the desert Southwest, and bobwhite quail populations in many other areas, which are one of the most popular species we hunt.

Bird hunting whether it is for California quail or ringneck pheasant or chukar is some of our favorite upland hunting. Shooting some clays or other forms of practice is the best way to get ready for any bird hunt, but once that first covey flushes, you'll be hooked for life.

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Quail Hunting: Getting Started and Finding Success