Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jacks and Maggot Infested Quail

With the weather finally starting to cool off, Lou called me to see if I wanted to hunt with him on a day hunt.  I said sure but I was not going to drive all the way out to the Sierras just for a day.  I told him I'd hunt a day and a half.  So with the old man, we set off the day before to hunt by ourselves.

Kaiser still not in optimum hunting shape, I decided that we'd just hunt the evening.  We arrived at our location around 2pm.  There was plenty of sign with tracks everywhere.  We sweeped the area for a couple hours and discovered no birds .  While hiking back to the car, Kaiser began working the other side of the field and he began to get birdy.  Hiking in more, a covey of ten flushed wild about 40 yards from me.  Generally I will not take a shot at this distance but in my boredom I fired.  Of course I missed.  The covey flew over another hill.  Debating whether to give chase or stay and work this part of the field to see it f there were any stragglers.  Since I beat I was in no hurry climbing another hill so we continued to work this area.  No other birds remained but Kaiser began to get birdy again.  This time a jackrabbit flushed and I took him at about 35 yards.
 Jacks are normally considered trash by most people I know and I normally don't shoot them.  But I've been reading lately about a chef that actually prepares and eats them.  Jacks are North America's hare.  So they are big and their meat is dark and tough.  I have several European cookbooks that have hare recipes so I decided that if one flushes on me I'd take him and give it a try.  If it tastes like garbage like many American hunters claim it will just become dog food for Kaiser.

After searching this area I decided to see if I could refind that covey of ten.  I climbed the hill and sweeped back.  This proved only a waste of time.  These birds split.  This season no birds are holding for a point and they are flushing wild and at distance.
We moved up the road to try anther section that I've always bypassed.  I climbed this hill and found more track.  We sweeped the area and found nothing so we headed back to the car.  I continued to search the area and a lone male valley quail flushed wild at about 35 yards.  I took a shot with the mod barrel of my Merkel and missed.  Last week I could miss, this week I sucked.  We worked this area some more when Kaiser began to get birdy.  He flash pointed a bush and charged in before  I scream WHOA!  but it was too late he emerged out of that bush with a dead male valley quail.  Mostly likely a bird shot that a hunter could not find.  It must have been a few days old, although the feathers still bright, he was missing his eyes and as I plucked some feathers, I found a maggot so I dropped it and left it for the coyotes.
 After that,the sun beginning to set, it was time to head into town for a meal, shower and a bed.


  1. The back straps from our hares are very tasty indeed. One nice way of making them less gamey is to soak the straps in milk for 24 hours which removes the blood. Yummmmm. Enjoy!

  2. Thanks for the advise! I've also read that buttermilk is good since it has a higher acid content and helps tendorize the meat. I'll have to try it and if it tastes like garbage, Kaiser will enjoy it. Afterall his palate is not as refined, considering he use to eat his own crap.