bird hunting 4.56

It had been awhile since I’d been able to break away from the home and kids to join Charles in the hunting fields, but Saturday, January 28th was on the calendar as a hunting date, in observance of the last weekend of the season. We left town around 5 AM with our sights set on the Kansas border in hopes of pheasants, quail and prairie chicken.

We hit a 200+ acre field around 8 AM on a sunny but chilly morning and walked from east to west through a nice blend of big bluestem and indiangrass. Within 15 minutes Charles and the dogs put up a hen pheasant, a good sign! About 5 minutes later, Mae made a direct approach to a clump of grass to the south of me, next to the road, and locked up on point. Sue and BB followed to the clump, all honoring Mae and pointing to back. It was all girls on this clump of grass and I gave it a swift kick. The clump of grass growled at me and I screamed! I called the dogs off in fear of a skunk, but a big raccoon crept out of the grass and went over the road onto property that we didn’t have permission to hunt.

The southwest corner of the piece we were walking looked promising and we turned towards the north to continue our quest for game. BB locked up on point right in front of Charles. Another raccoon! Charles called all the dogs in to work on their raccoon fighting.

The four dogs take on the raccoon

BB faces off with the raccoon

Our inspiration for getting involved with furred game comes from a few different directions. Charles has always been drawn to using the dogs to their full versatility, but has been egged on by his participation in the forum on I’ve made friends online with griffoniers in Germany and Finland who also use their dogs for furred game. Here is a picture from my friend Jenni in Finland of her dog holding a supikoira, also known as a “raccoon dog”:

A griffon from Finland holding a supikoira. Photo by Jenni Ruotimo

I have to admit that watching the dogs fight the raccoon was scary as they each took turns chewing on the snarling, biting, scratching beast. Once I saw that our side had taken some injuries, I told Charles to call the dogs off and shoot the coon. BB took a bite to the ear and Mae to the nose. They are all healing fine now, but the chaos of the fight was a little unnerving at the time.

We continued north along the western border with a scraggly treeline: perfect quail habitat. I never even heard the flush, but it couldn’t have been 10 minutes after the raccoon fight that Charles had a single quail flush and it was quickly placed in the bag. The treeline border was thoroughly searched with no quail covey found so we turned back east once we reached the northwest corner. The dogs were all acting gamey, so we retraced our steps a few times in that corner and spooked up a rabbit that Charles bagged. Sue didn’t hesitate in retrieving it at all, game is game!

The field eastward had a slightly sloping hill with some treelined waterways, so we scoured those for the quail covey, with no luck. The northwest corner of the property was wooded over, so we inspected it, then crossed to the eastern side of the woods. Right on the property boundry at an intersection between field and wood and cropland laid a pile of deadfall trees. One of those places that always has something in it, so we approached it very aware. Covey flush! Around 15 quail jumped up and flew back behind me toward the woods, I lined up a shot as best I could following the excitement and surprise, but failed to connect.

The area was searched thoroughly for a good hour, but we never found the covey again. We expect that they must have slipped on to the other property. There were a couple of more lockups by the dogs and resulting hen flushes, but no other legal game to be bagged.

We had some lunch and hit a few more fields with no results. Charles was out the entire Sunday and saw absolutely nothing. We took it as a sign that game and hunter alike were ready for some time off from each other.

The final day’s bag: raccoon, quail and rabbit

The Nebraska Sandhills

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Charles, Charity and the dogs started opening day at the usual opening day spot, which is a half-mile wide, flat valley with a set of high dunes to the north, running east to west, and a set of shorter dunes to the south, also running east to west. Charles was assigned the higher northern dune set and Charity the southern set. This is the first year that they split up in 13 years of hunting together and will probably continue to hunt this way. Charity’s pace is about half that of Charles’s, so the ability to determine their own speeds was the first reason. The second reason is that running four dogs puts too much pressure on these skittish birds at once. So, Charity took the older females, Mae and Sue, and Charles worked four year old male, Sam, and eighteen month old female, BB.

There are various ways to pattern a dunefield when hunting grouse, but Charity selected a straight up an ambling criss-cross pattern for opening day, starting on the southern, low dunes walking west to east, then turning back, walking a bit higher going east to west, then back again in the high chop going west to east. It was in the high chop an hour after starting out that she flushed her first single sharptail just barely out of range, firing shots that didn’t connect. A few steps later, a group of four got up at seventy five yards, flying off of the highest dune in the southern set, disappearing out of view to who knows where. Despite being a bit ragged from each having a litter of pups this summer, Sue and Mae sprang into action once bird activity began. They covered the highest dune to check for stragglers with no success and the descent down the eastern slope began at a frantic pace. So frantic that both dogs and hunter marched right past the sharptail that cackled up behind Charity, so that she had to take the 200 degree shotgun swing for the double-barrel attempt. She saw it wobble and descend, sending the dogs after a retrieve. Sue happily retrieved the first grouse of the season for team Versatile Hunter and it was captured on her new head-mounted video camera.

Meanwhile, Charles was working the taller northern dunefield, also starting from the west and working his way east in a meandering zig-zag pattern, making sure that either he or the dogs were covering any possible grouse territory in the complex. As he ascended into the target area, a random group of doves flushed off of a high dune and he couldn’t help himself but to harvest one. Not long after he heard the reports of Charity’s missed shot and her success following shortly thereafter, he descended from a dune peak and looked down onto a small flat amongst the choppy hills. Three grouse busted at seventy-five yards, as if they sensed something, but not necessarily imminent danger as they merely popped up and over the next slope. As soon as he entered the marked zone of potential landing, one got up and he shot it at close range straight on, with BB nearby for a quick retrieve.

After Charity and the older females watched the cattle hustle off of the pond on the eastern end of the dunefield and head for the windmill a couple of miles to the northwest, they stopped for a water break before continuing their criss-cross pattern, back to the west on some of the lower dunes, then finally crossing back eastward on the flat right next to the dunes. Charity has taken prairie chickens out of there in years past, but there was nothing to be seen this year. Once she finishing fully covering her assigned area, she and the dogs crossed the valley to meet up with Charles to get the update of his one grouse and one dove in the bag, but he had more ground to cover and an idea where birds were in the high chop. Charity followed the low dunes towards the west and stopped again at a windmill for a break, noting the lack of doves at the spot.

Charles headed northwest from the windmill into an extension of the same northern dunefield that he had been working all morning. He marched his way to the extreme northwest corner and worked his way back and not soon after he reached the endpoint and began hiking back, the dogs got birdy and three grouse flushed within fifty yards, which is in range for Charles even with a twenty gauge. He took one out of that group and while BB was on retrieve, another flushed even closer. His shot merely clipped the wing and the bird began to run. Luckily, catching running wounded birds is one of Sam’s specialties, so while BB was delivering the first bird, Sam put the lockdown on the attempted escapee to round out Charles’s limit for the day.

The sun was arcing higher into the azure sky and getting uncomfortably warm to continue trekking. It was time to return to the truck, which Charity couldn’t see from the windmill but knew it was to the south. She wandered a bit off track, farther east into the valley than she needed to go, but eventually caught sight of the vehicle and made it back just in time to meet up there with Charles.

At first they had it in their mind to sit for doves, but after scoping their two best spots and seeing nothing, they opted to sit out doves this trip and wait until their return to the Missouri River Valley, where they are plentiful this year.

Charles shows off his opening day limit back in town, with BB and Sam, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Charity is back in town with her first sharptail grouse of the year, assisted by Sue and Mae, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day two started early again this year, at the “big hill”, the one over by the “hard road”. As there aren’t many landmarks to speak of in the sea of grass, they are forced to come up with their own for navigational purposes. The valley between the two dunefields was much narrower than the previous day’s, only a few hundred yards, but it was a similar approach with Charles covering the northern side of the valley and Charity the southern. Charity decided to use a figure eight pattern on this area, starting at the south and working eastward towards the middle of the dunes, using the highest peak as the centerpoint of the figure eight, then covering the north side of the dunes. It took her an hour to cover the first curve of the figure eight, stopping at a windmill for a brief break, taking a couple of sips of water. She then continued south, then turning westward to continue her figure eight pattern, back to the high dune as the centerpoint, then covering the north side, completing her figure eight. In two hours of hiking, she didn’t even see a flush in the distance.

Charles took his normal approach into his assigned area and not long after starting to work it, he watched BB run over a dune out of sight and she didn’t check back in quickly like she normally would, so he headed in that direction. Three or four grouse came sky charging away from where BB was last seen, straight towards Charles, with BB in hot pursuit. In order to work on steadiness, Charles elected not to reward bad behavior and chose not to shoot. He marked their likely landing zone back to the west and pursued. Not five minutes later, the dogs started acting birdy and were tracking hard, but once again charged the flushing birds, so he opted out of shooting once again. He did finally get a point out of BB, which is an anomaly in the dry Sandhills, as scenting conditions are basically nonexistent. Charles “whoaed” Sam into honoring BB’s point, then began to kick around the hill trying to flush the birds. But the wind was playing tricks and blowing the scent of a flock from the top of one dune a hundred yards away over to the top of the dune where the dogs were pointing, so the birds saw the motion and activity of Charles trying to find them and flushed way out of range. As he stood at the top of the ridge, he heard the chortling of a large group of grouse over in a dune range that they had never hunted before.

Charity and Charles met up and headed back to the truck for a bit of a break. Charles reported that he heard distant cackling coming from a north/south running set of dunes that they had never worked before, a half-mile across the valley, off to the west. They decided to each take one end of the field, Charity to the south and Charles to the north, zig-zagging to meet in the middle. Charity made it up and into the dunefield and her dogs found a group of three in a pocket of knee-high sumac. She fired off a downhill shot, but the birds were just out of range. As she headed off to take chase, she all of a sudden lost all energy, felt dizzy and her heart was racing. All she could think was, “There is no way that Charles could find me, let alone drag me out of here and I’m not sure the truck could get up here. I’ve got to get back down to the valley so that at least if I passed out he would be able to see me”.

Charles ascended the northern end of the new hunting grounds, just making the climb when seven or eight birds broke unexpectedly soon. Most of them headed deep into the high chop, but others oddly enough headed for some trees on the edge of the dunes. He made his way toward the trees, not usual sharptail grouse habitat, and sent the dogs in to run them out. Sure enough the grouse came running scared out from the trees, then flushed as they came to the prairie edge at about fifty yards out. A pellet found its way to a bird on the shot, but it wasn’t down for the count and sailed into the distance. The bird knew it was in trouble and flushed again at fifty yards, but was hit hard this time and Sam had no problem bringing it in.

They marched higher into the chop, bumping a mule deer buck and a jackrabbit, but BB and Sam knew better than to chase those. Not long after, three grouse got up, then a fourth was a bit slower on the jump that Charles put his bead on and harvested, with Sam once again delivered to hand.

Charity stumbled a few steps at a time back towards the east, sitting down frequently and feeling lucky when she heard Charles shooting just to the west of her, then him finally seeing her stumbling away from the hunt. Her pride wouldn’t allow her to tell him that she was having trouble and was hoping that she would be able to shake off the spell and resume hunting. But after a good 20 minutes of cramping and stumbling and feeling like Gumby, she accepted defeat and just wanted to get back to the truck. Of course, that was when birds got up within her range, but even though she took shots, there was no way that she was focused enough to hit anything.

The birds that she missed raced right past Charles, well within range, but he too was feeling the effects of dehydration and was unable to focus on the task at hand. With two in the bag and the day getting warmer, it was time to go.

They were both coming out of the dunefield at the same time, he with two in the bag and she just happy to have made it out without a medical incident.

Monday, September 3, 2012

As normal for day three, the alarm rang forty-five minutes later than the first two days. Everyone dragged to the truck, sore and tired. But luckily the fresh spot is full of birds and everyone loosened up with the excitement of immediate action. This is a very wide dunefield and they elect to both travel east to west, with Charles to the south and Charity to the north. Charity takes her first and only bird of the day within 10 minutes of leaving the truck. The bird got up front and center, but she failed to disengage the safety at the first shot attempt, but then recovered in time to get a shot off as it veered over to her left. She wasn’t sure if it connected, but swore she saw the bird waver as it topped the dune, so they headed back in the direction of the truck. Mae found the bird and licked the blood and feathers, hesitating a bit on the retrieve. She was called off of the bird and Sue was sent in. The strong natural retrieve is Sue’s greatest gift.

Simultaneously, Charles enters his area, pushing another nice mule deer buck out of his resting place and hits the jackpot not long after, putting up a flock of 12 grouse, which was the only large group of the whole trip. The birds head east, the opposite direction of our intended march, but birds don’t follow our puny human plans, now do they? As he comes into the marked area where he thought they landed, the dogs loop to the west of the dune and he elects to go east, hoping to pin the wily critters down. Out of nowhere, Sam starts barking, which is never a response to birds. While Sam is barking his head off (which Charity could hear in the distance and was hoping everything was okay), a lone grouse flushes behind Charles that he quickly swings behind and kills, marking the bird down and leaving it lay to figure out the source of Sam’s anxiety. Just as he turns back from the bird to look at Sam and his yucca problem, BB emerges from behind the plant with a face full of porcupine quills. Charles pinned BB down and pulled out quills from her face and paw, while Sam continued his barking but learning the porky lesson long ago, Charles was confident Sam wouldn’t tangle with it. Once he released BB from her operation, she immediately went and found the bird for the retrieve while Charles called Sam off of the barking spasm.

Charity continued west through the dunes, having a few groups of 3-4 get up both in and out of range within a span of a half hour, but the shots didn’t come together. She spent another hour heading west towards a couple of windmills and a lone tree, but saw nothing.

The team of Charles, Sam and BB eased along the southern ridgeline that Charity had covered to the north and pushed birds into. One got up that he missed, but a second bird jumped that he put a pellet into. It soared a hundred yards away, but it was obviously hit because one leg was hanging limp despite its efforts to escape. They worked over to where it was down and BB found and pointed it, but the bird hadn’t given up the fight. It flushed again and with a close range going away shot, Charles had no problem bagging it. They worked their way further into the area that Charity had busted up and a grouse charged them out of nowhere, flying up over a dune straight at them. Needless to say, Charles’s limit was taken care of in that salvo.

Despite the remote location, they were within cell phone range and Charles texted that he had his limit and was coming to get her. She made her way to the windmill by the lone tree and he drove the truck to pick her up, just in time to head back to town to fix the kids some lunch.

Charles shows the neighborhood boys, along with son, Conrad, on left, how to breast out a sharptail grouse

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

As Charity’s family babysitting time had expired, plus there was make-up homework to help the kids with and laundry to do, Charles headed out to “Prairie Chicken Paradise” on his own. He was making his way out to the paradise, in an area that used to surprise us when birds got up, but we’ve been surprised enough years to now know that a flock resides in these very low, almost nonexistent dunes on the way to our usual hunting grounds a mile and a half away from the road. It was there that he took his only bird of the day, with unknown numbers jumping right into the sun, he instinctively fired at the sound of the wingbeats since he couldn’t see and was able to put one on the ground between him and Sam.

They made their way back to the deep dunefield that has consistently produced for us throughout the years, but not a flush was to be had. BB began tracking hard, so since there seemed to be nothing else going on, Charles and Sam followed along. BB was tracking a coyote, who jumped up and ran, but Charles was in no mood for fur and called the dogs off to head for home. It was time to enjoy the company of our family and good friends in the Nebraska Sandhills.

Despite the long summer drought and unseasonably hot conditions, Charles, Charity and the dogs were able to have success on their traditional sharptail grouse and prairie chicken opener by relying on proven approaches to covering ground and relocating known coveys that they’ve hunted for over a decade.

Preparing the trip’s harvest for the freezer, minus 2 grouse that were already consumed.

On the opening Saturday of early teal season, Charles and Charity hustled the kids to the babysitter as soon as she would take them and headed to a friend’s pond to make their first attempt at sitting over decoys for the little ducks. Sporting their hip boots and limited camouflage, they hauled their “dove buckets” (the camo-covered insulated 5 gallon buckets with the butt pad on the lid) over into a patch of sunflowers.

Charles and Sam sit in the sunflowers waiting for teal

The pond sits on the south shore of the Platte River, just a couple of miles west of the confluence with the mighty Missouri. Their spot was on the southern end of the pond, with a little peninsula jutting northward out into the water, where Charles set up about five decoys on the point. They sat on the western side of the peninsula, with their backs to the rising sun and another 5-10 decoys out in front of them.

They watched the big ducks and geese move along the Platte as the air grew warmer. Canadian geese flew overhead. Shots rang out along the river to the west of them, but they didn’t see any teal flush away from the sound of the reports. A couple of mature bald eagles flew from the river and an immature perched in the tree above their heads, eyeing the decoys for awhile before moving on. Charles worked his teal call every now and again, while his trusty retriever Sam laid next to the bucket, as still as he could be but nervous with excitement and attentive to his master’s every move.

The doves teased them, moving around in nearby trees and shrubs, but they sat patiently for the ducks. A flock of turkeys came out of the woods on the north side of the pond to pick grit off of the beach, while a pair of wood ducks sat lazily in the pond nearby. Herons and cormorants took their time moving from shore to shore, picking at little fish.

Then, like the Air Force Thunderbirds working an air show, a flock of 15 blue-winged teal flew fast and high over their heads. “There they are,” whispered Charles, “don’t look at them!” But it was too late, as Charity’s face and glasses were already pointed at the sky, watching the teal zoom out of range. Charles worked the teal call a little as they watched the flock disappear into the distance, paying no mind to their feeble attempts at fooling them to land. And as fast as it had begun, it had ended. That was the action for the day, without a shot being fired.

They tried changing spots, moving into a tall patch of ragweed that made them both sneeze their heads off, but nothing made the little ducks appear again.

Charles has been back nearly every weekend day since, with no luck. He was able to bring home a handful of doves and get Sam to tree a couple of coons, but no little ducks. Recently, he’s been spending some time scouting the southern bank of the Platte river for an easy access point to get on to the sandbars, but it is a bit challenging since the southern side of the river typically has the main channel. Pack up the canoe with layout blinds and head into the river to set up on some well established sandbars?

Sam’s double coon treeing

With snipe to be chased and big duck season coming on in a few weeks, time is running out on solving the early teal problem this fall, but you can bet it is something that they’ll think about and study for the next year and try some new tactics in 2013.


HB5029 was passed by the Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 4th by a vote of 64-44 with two members not voting. It made its way over to the Senate, and on Wednesday, November 5th, Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema assigned HB5029 to Senator Shirley Johnson’s Appropriations Committee. During the Sportsmen’s Rally on November 4th, Senator Shirley Johnson introduced the resolution making the mourning dove the “Michigan Bird of Peace”.
This is the resolution that Senators Johnson, Jacobs, Brater, Clark Coleman, Clarke, Jelinek, Leland, Scott and Toy introduced:

Senate Resolution No. 192.

A resolution recognizing the mourning dove, Zenaida macroura, as the Michigan Bird of Peace.

Whereas, The mourning dove is an American bird known for its sad, cooing call. Its grayish-brown feathers and long tapering tail are widely recognized in Michigan, as is its soft and mournful sound. The mourning dove, or Zenaida macroura, as it is known in the scientific realm, is a peaceful songbird; and

Whereas, The day of the mourning dove begins early in the morning when it begins to look for food and water. The doves then rest during part of the afternoon, seek more food and water, and before nightfall, return to their nests built loosely of twigs in a tree or bush or on the ground. Many scientists believe that a male and female mourning dove mate with each other for life. Bird watchers will note that mourning doves are often found in pairs and, as parents, the doves are both responsible for feeding the young, called squabs, which are born blind and almost featherless; and

Whereas, The dove has traditionally symbolized peace. It is often depicted with an olive branch in its beak. Mourning doves do not eat olive branches, but do, however, feed on weed seeds and insects. It is a peaceful bird which will swiftly fly from conflict on strong wings that make a whistling sound as they move through the air. The mourning dove plays a quiet but vital role in the fragile and beautiful ecosystem that is the Michigan water wonderland; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate, That the mourning dove, Zenaida macroura, be known throughout the state as the Michigan Bird of Peace.

Pending the order that, under rule 3.204, the resolution be referred to the Committee on Government Operations, Senator Hammerstrom moved that the rule be suspended.

The motion prevailed, a majority of the members serving voting therefor.

The question being on the adoption of the resolution, Senator Hammerstrom moved that the resolution be referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.

The motion prevailed.

I would encourage you to have all those interested in seeing HB5029 become law contact their senators and the members of this committee and also Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema and tell the Senators that you want this bill passed out of committee and passed by the Senate and given to Governor Granholm to sign into law.

Remember, the best way to communicate with the legislators is by scheduling and attending a “Face to Face meeting” with your legislator. These meetings can be done in Lansing, but many of the legislators will meet with you in their home districts. The next best way is to write a personal letter and mail it. A less efffective way is to fax that letter. The least effective way is e-mail.


The best defense is a
united offense.


bird hunting 3.24

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From Outdoor Wire:

To a waterfowl hunter, a duck band is a treasured find. Affixed to a duck call lanyard, these rare small metal rings become testaments of the hunter’s skill or luck and reinforce the conservation success story they represent. Not all bird bands are viewed as prizes, however. In fact, the ones affixed to the migratory game bird that gets the lion’s share of hunting attention in Texas are not being viewed at all. This summer, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. has been trapping mourning doves and attaching tiny metal leg bands to them as part of a larger national effort coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. White-winged doves are also being banded across the state and TPWD will be banding approximately 3,000 whitewings. Banding began June 1 and concludes Aug. 15.

As whitewings continue to expand across the state, keeping tabs on these dove populations is becoming increasingly important. Only three states are consistently banding white-winged dove, with the Texas banding program being the most comprehensive. Dove band recoveries are revealing extensive travel records and offer interesting insight into the ecology of this prominent migrant. For instance:

Most banded mourning doves in Texas do not survive to see a second year and extremely few live past three years of age. The oldest mourning dove ever recovered in Texas was 9 years old and the oldest mourner ever recovered was banded in Georgia and was a whopping 31 years old!
Mourning dove shot in Texas come from 21 states including Texas, with the most out-of-state banded birds coming from Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. A few banded birds traveled all the way from Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The oldest white-winged dove ever recorded in Texas was 17 years old and the oldest whitewing ever recovered was banded in Arizona and was 21 years old!
White-winged doves banded in Texas have been recovered in four states including Texas, four countries, and one in international waters (oil rig). The farthest recovered white-winged dove banded in Texas originated in Hidalgo County and was recovered in Nicaragua, 1,242 miles from the original band site. For Texas, the implications of dove management are significant considering the Lone Star State boasts fall dove populations in excess of 40 million birds and its 300,000 dove hunters harvest about 6 million birds annually or roughly 30 percent of all doves taken in the United States. Dove hunting also has a major economic impact, contributing more than $300 million to the state economy. But, despite having more dove hunters than any other state and harvesting more birds than any other state, Texas has the lowest dove band recovery rate in the nation.

“I think most dove hunters aren’t aware of the banding effort,” said Corey Mason, TPWD’s dove program leader. “Unlike with ducks, hunters aren’t looking for bands and because dove bands are only about the size of a bead they don’t stand out.”

Size does not diminish the importance of these bands and the information they provide wildlife biologists. Data obtained from banding are used to estimate survival and harvest rates and population abundance. These estimates are then used in population and harvest models to determine hunting regulations. The complete 2003-2010 Dove Banding Summary is available for review online.


If you keep your handgun clean it will operate at its best and won’t have any of the malfunctions associated with poor maintenance. A good rule to follow is to clean your handgun every time you use it. If you plan to clean it after every five hundred rounds, for example, you probably won’t keep track of how many rounds you shoot and won’t clean it according to your planned schedule. The result will be lack of cleaning and a lot of residue buildup in your handgun.

This can be a good opportunity to teach gun safety to children and other family members. You can teach the parts of the gun and demonstrate safety rules such as keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and always keeping your finger off the trigger.

Cleaning kit

Make your own cleaning kit. You will need to supplement any kit you buy by adding some additional items. You will want to combine all the items you get into a basic cleaning kit special kits for each caliber handgun you have.

A basic cleaning kit should include:

(1) nylon bristle and stainless steel brushes

(2) a rod in segments

(3) patch holders that screw into the rod

(4) a dental pick

(5) nitro solvent

(6) gun oil.

The special kit for each caliber should include:

(1) bore brushes in the correct caliber. For a semi-automatic pistol you need two bore brushes, one brass and one stainless steel. For a revolver you need two sets. A long one to use on the chambers and a short one to use on the bore, one set in brass and one set in stainless steel.

(2) patches of a size that will fit through the bore.

(3) Keep the special kit for each caliber in a zip lock plastic bag. You could put a card in each bag with the caliber written on it for easy reference.

Keep your cleaning kit in a box or container that you can carry with you to the range if you want to clean your gun there before bringing it home.

Gun cleaning safety

Follow all the rules of safe gun handling while you are cleaning your gun.

Before you start to clean your handgun, unload it and put all live ammunition in another room. Re-check to make sure it is unloaded. Clean your handgun in a place where you are alone and won’t be pointing the muzzle at someone else. Don’t have the television on or any other distraction that may take your attention away from the task of cleaning your gun.

Cleaning a revolver

Most of the problems with revolvers come from poor maintenance that allows lead shavings and gunpowder residue to build up around the forcing cone, under the star, in the chambers, and in the bore. Cleaning your revolver every time you shoot, no matter how many or few rounds you shoot, will eliminate these problems.

The bore and cylinder will have residue and blow-back from the discharge. There will also be residue inside the bottom of the frame and the front of the cylinder. If you shoot lead bullets there will also be lead shavings on the forcing cone and in the bore.

Start by cleaning the bore.

(1) Look inside. If it is a mirrored surface it won’t need the heavy stainless brush, as double passes with the brass bore brush will do. Use the short brush so it will pass all the way through the bore into the cylinder opening.

(2) Dip the bore brush into the solvent, then push it all the way through the bore.

(3) Be careful that you don’t strike the rod against the edge of the muzzle. This can cause scratches that will affect the accuracy of the gun. Also be careful not to push the end of the bore brush against the firing pin on the inside back of the frame. Place a folded patch or small piece of leather over this area to help protect it.

(4) Push the brush all the way through the bore so the bristles all leave the bore. If you do this you won’t be trying to pull the bore brush out with the bristles bent backwards inside the bore.

Where ever you put solvent, it has to come off. Don’t let solvent run down inside the revolver; it won’t come out by itself. Hold the revolver so solvent doesn’t run down inside the hole around the firing pin.

Clean around the forcing cone. Dip a brush into solvent and brush this area. Then clean it using a dental pick to remove small lead shavings. Then brush it again.

Next, use the patch holder on the rod and the proper size patch. Run it through the bore a few times. It will come out dirty. Keep changing the patch until one comes out clean. Then use clean patches around the forcing cone and wipe this area until the patches come off clean.

Use the long bore brush in the chambers. There are two reasons for this. First, after cleaning the bore the brush you used will be compressed and it won’t clean as well. Second, the chambers are much dirtier than the bore since this is where the cartridge detonates. The brush will get very dirty and you shouldn’t use it on the bore next time you clean the revolver. If you use a long bore brush in the chambers you will easily tell it apart from the short bore brush.

It doesn’t matter which direction you clean the chambers from, front or back. Dip the brush into the solvent and run the brush all the way through and back a couple of times in each chamber.

Clean any residue from under the star. Use a dental pick around each space under the star and follow this with the nylon brush.

Then run clean, dry patches through each chamber, changing them until they come out clean from each one. Wipe off the whole cylinder including the ejector rod and under the star with clean patches.

Clean off the frame with solvent on a bristle brush. Wipe it clean with patches. Brush around the trigger with a nylon brush.

Put a few drops of oil on a patch and push it through the bore then wipe it on the frame and cylinder. Don’t leave excess oil on the gun because it will attract dust and lint. Take it off with a clean patch. Put a drop of oil on the shaft under the star and one drop on the front of the extractor rod. Work the rod a few times then wipe off any excess oil.

Wipe off all the cleaning equipment and put it away.

Cleaning a semi-automatic pistol

You need to disassemble a semi-automatic pistol to clean it. Follow the instructions in the gun’s manual manual. You generally only need to remove the slide, barrel, guide rod, and guide rod spring.

Clean the barrel first. Look inside the bore. If it is a mirrored surface it won’t need the heavy stainless brush, double passes with the brass bore brush will do. Dip the bore brush into the solvent, then push it all the way through the bore. Push the brush all the way through the bore so the bristles all leave the bore. If you do this you won’t be trying to pull the bore brush out with the bristles bent backwards.

Next, use the patch holder on the rod and the proper size patch. Run it through the bore a few times. It will come out dirty. Keep changing the patch until one comes out clean. Wipe off the outside of the barrel with a clean patch.

Next clean the slide using a bristle brush dipped into solvent. Clean all along the guide rails. Use a dental pick on the area around the firing pin; there will be a lot of residue build-up. Use a bristle brush in this area. Finally clean off the solvent with clean patches.

Wipe the guide rod and guide rod spring with patches wiping off any residue and oil. Wipe clean any other parts that you need to disassemble for your pistol.

Using a brush dipped into solvent clean the frame, around the hammer, along the rails, and other exposed parts. Be careful that solvent doesn’t run into parts where it will be difficult to remove it. Use the dental pick to remove residue build-up. Remove the solvent with patches until the patches lift off clean. Brush around the trigger with a nylon brush. Wipe inside the magazine well with patches.

Put a few drops of oil on a patch and push it through the bore then wipe it on the barrel, guide rod, slide, and frame. Don’t leave excess oil on the gun because it will attract dust and lint. Take it off with a clean patch. Reassemble the barrel into the slide. Put a drop of oil on each rail then reassemble the slide onto the frame. Rack the slide back and forth a few times to disperse the oil. Wipe off all excess oil.

Wipe off all the cleaning equipment and put it away.

1911 History

The following information was provided by

The Colt Model 1911 was the product of John Moses Browning, father of several modern firearms.

The pistol was designed to comply with the requirements of the U.S. Army, which, during its campaign against the Moros in Philippines, had seen its trusty .38 revolver to be incapable of stopping attackers. An Ordnance Board headed by Col. John T. Thomson (inventor of the Thomson sub-machine-gun) and Col. Louis A. La Garde, had reached the conclusion that the army needed a .45″ caliber cartridge, to provide adequate stopping power. In the mean time, J. Browning who was working for Colt, had already designed an auto loading pistol, around a cartridge similar to contemporary .38 Super (dimension-wise). When the Army announced its interest in a new handgun, Browning re-engineered this handgun to accommodate a .45″ diameter cartridge of his own design (with a 230 gr. FMJ bullet), and submitted the pistol to the Army for evaluation.

In the selection process, which started at 1906 with firearms submitted by Colt, Luger, Savage, Knoble, Bergmann, White-Merrill and Smith & Wesson, Browning’s design was selected, together with the Savage design in 1907. However, the U.S. Army pressed for some service tests, which revealed that neither pistol (Colt’s or Savage’s) had reached the desired perfection. The Ordnance Department instituted a series of further tests and experiments, which eventually resulted in the appointment of a selection committee, in 1911.

Browning was determined to prove the superiority of its handgun, so he went to Hartford to personally supervise the production of the gun. There he met Fred Moore, a young Colt employee with whom he worked in close cooperation trying to make sure that each part that was produced for the test guns was simply the best possible. The guns produced were submitted again for evaluation, to the committee. A torture test was conducted, on March 3rd, 1911. The test consisted of having each gun fire 6000 rounds. One hundred shots would be fired and the pistol would be allowed to cool for 5 minutes. After every 1000 rounds, the pistol would be cleaned and oiled. After firing those 6000 rounds, the pistol would be tested with deformed cartridges, some seated too deeply, some not seated enough, etc. The gun would then be rusted in acid or submerged in sand and mud and some more tests would then be conducted.

Browning’s pistols passed the whole test series with flying colors. It was the first firearm to undergo such a test, firing continuously 6000 cartridges, a record broken only in 1917 when Browning’s recoil-operated machine gun fired a 40000 rounds test.

The report of the evaluation committee (taken from ‘The .45 Automatic, An American Rifleman Reprint’, published by the National Rifle Association of America) released on the 20th of March 1911 stated :

“Of the two pistols, the board was of the opinion
that the Colt is superior, because it is more
reliable, more enduring, more easily disassembled
when there are broken parts to be replaced, and
more accurate.”

On March 29th, 1911, the Browning-designed,Colt Produced 1911 Pistol, was selected as the official sidearm of the Armed Forces of U.S.A., and named Model 1911.

Again a special thanks toJohn Caradimas of for the pictures and information.

Disassembly of the 1911 Auto

The following information was provided by

Disassembling the M-1911 type of pistols is a straight forward and simple process. It requires a minimum of tools (actually before Colt’s Series 80 pistols, it was possible to completely disassemble and re-assemble the pistol without ANY tools), like a pair of tweezers, a punch, etc, althought you can improvise!

Before starting to take the pistols apart, follow one simple safety rule. Make sure the gun is empty. Remove the magazine and pull the slide back and lock it in the open position. Check that the barrel’s chamber is empty. Always think safety first.

Before you proceed any further, please remember that at some time, you will have to reassemble the pistol. So please, for your own sanity, before you start taking things apart, study how things look when the gun is still intact. You might also want to read some Reassembling Notices, I ‘ve put together. OK, here we go!

Taking it apart
After making sure that the pistol is empty, release the slide manually and let it slide slowly forward. You can release the slide, using the slide release lever, but some authorities recommend against doing it with an empty gun. With the slide forward, and facing the muzzle of the pistol, press the recoil spring plug inwards until the barrel bushing is free to be twisted clockwise, until it uncovers completely the recoil spring plug. BE CAREFUL, the recoil spring plug is under pressure from the recoil spring, so if you do not keep it pressed when twisting the bushing, it can fly away (I learned that the hard way!).

Remove the recoil spring plug and the recoil spring. Cock the pistol’s hammer to the full-cock position (NEVER EVER cock the hammer to the half-cock position. It is an unsafe condition and should be avoided at all cost). Now pull the slide to the rear, until the slide release lever end is aligned with the small circular notch, on the left side of the slide.

Push the axis of the slide release lever from the right side of the gun, towards the left side. The slide release lever will pop out. Pull it completely off the frame of the gun.

Hold the gun upside down and push the slide forward and remove it from the frame. You can remove the recoil spring guide now.

Facing the muzzle of the barrel again, twist the barrel bushing anticlockwise and pull it out. Move the barrel link forward towards the muzzle and remove the barrel from the front opening of the slide.

This completes the every-day field stripping procedure. It is normally not recommended to proceed any further, unless you are sure of what you are doing, in which case you wouldn’t be reading this anyway, but let’s go on.

We shall continue, by removing whatever is left on the slide. If your gun has a Colt Series 80 safety, push the Firing Pin Lock Plunger up and using a punch push the Firing pin inwards. Release the Firing Pin Lock Plunger so that it keeps the Firing Pin inside its opening. If your gun does not have a Firing Pin Locking mechanism, simply push the firing pin inside its opening, using a punch (or other pointing tool).

Using the punch, pull down the Firing Pin Stop and remove it. Cover the Firing Pin opening with your thumb, and press the Firing Pin Lock Plunger again, to release the Firing Pin. This action will allow the Firing Pin to move back against the pressure of the Firing Pin Spring. Remove the Firing Pin together with its Spring. Pushing the Firing Pin Lock Plunger inwards, pull the extractor slightly backwards. You must pull it enough, so that the Firing Pin Lock Plunger can be freely removed from the bottom of the slide.

Remove it and then remove the extractor completely.

This completes the stripping of the slide.

You are now ready to continue. Grasp the hammer with the fingers of your left hand and release the trigger, while holding the hammer. Do not simply release the trigger, allowing the hammer to fall forward. This practice can destroy your gun.

The next step will require that you remove the Mainspring Housing. To do so, use a punch and a hammer (or any relatively heavy object you can find, like a shoe) and punch the Mainspring Housing Pin out, towards the right side of the pistol. Be careful not to punch to forcefully and have the pin fly to the next room. The removal of the pin will be helped if you exercise a slight pressure at the bottom of the Mainspring Housing, towards the upper of the gun.

After removing the Mainspring Housing Pin, pull the Mainspring Housing down and remove it from the frame. I would not suggest that you disassemble the Mainspring Housing.

However, if you do want to do it, use a thin puch to push the Mainspring Cap Pin out, by pushing it from the outside of the Mainspring Housing to the inner side. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL, as the mainspring is under considerable tension and it can fly away, hitting you on the face.

After removing the pin, you can remove the Mainspring, its cap and the Mainspring Retainer.

Cock the hammer again and move the Safety Lock upwards, while in the same time pulling it out of the frame. NOTE that the Safety Lock cannot be removed with the hammer uncocked.

When you remove the Safety Lock, the Grip safety can also be removed.

You may now remove the 3-prong Sear Spring at the rear of the grip. To do that lift the hammer strut first.

Push the Hammer Pin from the right side of the gun, towards the left. This will allow you to remove the hammer. Simply push the pin out, do not punch it. BE CAREFUL as the removal of the Hammer Pin, will also allow the removal of the Upper Sear Lever (if your gun is a Series 80 one), so make sure you don’t drop it and loose it.

Before proceeding any further, take some time to familiarize yourself with the arrangement of the Lower Sear Lever and the Upper Sear Lever, which form the Colt Series 80 firing pin safety mechanism (if, of course your gun is so equipped). You may now remove the Sear Pin. Slowly push it out from the right side of the frame to the left.

When removed, the Lower Sear Lever (for Series 80 guns), the Sear and the Disconnector can be removed. Turn the pistol upside down and let the parts drop into your palm.

Using one of the prongs of the Sear Spring you can unscrew the Magazine Catch Assembly. To do so, push the Mag Catch Assembly in, as if you were releasing a magazine, while in the same time unscrewing the small screw on the right side of the Magazine Release Assembly. Push the Assembly to the right side of the gun and remove it.

Push the Trigger to the rear and remove it from the rear of the gun.

Slowly pull the Safety Lock Plunger, the Plunger Spring and the Slide Release Plunger off the Plunger tube.

Finally, find a screwdriver, which exactly matches the slots of the stock screws on your gun and unscrew the four stock screws. It is important that the screwdriver is of the proper size, as if it is not, it might slip and you could end up with scratched screws. Sometimes, when you remove the stock screws, a stock screw burshing might get unscrewed, instead of the screw. In that case, get a pair of plyers, hold the bushing with them tight and unscrew the stock screw from the bushing.

That completes the disassembly of the pistol. The ejector and the plunger tube should not be normally removed from the frame. If you do want them removed, use a small punch to push out the corresponding pin, which holds them in place. The pin is located in the slide rails, right under the ejector. Push it out and then lift the ejector. Now the plunger tube can be removed.

If you want to disassemble an M-1911 magazine, press the follower down, with a small stick (I usually use the full-length guide rod) and insert a pin (possibly the hammer strut) thru one of the magazine hole’s, in order to keep the mag spring down. Turn the mag upside down and shake it until the follower falls off. Remove the pin that holds the mag and remove it.

Not difficult, was it?

Reversing the above procedure, you can put the gun together.

Again a special thanks toJohn Caradimas of for the pictures and information.



Safety is the most important issue regarding gun ownership, possession and use. A gun accident can happen in a fraction of a second, and may result in a tragic injury or death. Safe handling of guns can reduce gun accidents. Safe gun handling can be learned and incorporated into gun handling and shooting procedures. Gun safety rules must always be practiced, there is never an exception.

Adults who own a gun should learn and practice gun safety every time you handle a gun: in your home to store it, clean it, or put it into a case to take to the range, in a vehicle to transport a gun to the range or hunting area, and when shooting at a range or when hunting.

a. Learn gun safety rules

There are many rules for safe gun handling. Two very important gun safety rules are:

(1) Always control the direction of the muzzle and point it in a safe direction.

(2) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Always control the direction of the muzzle means that whenever you pick up, put down, shoot, clean, store, transport, or touch a gun in any way, make sure the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. A safe direction is any direction away from people and animals and away from any object you don’t want to shoot. At a range it is down range or towards the berm or backstop. At home it means away from walls, ceilings, or floors that are between you and other people. A safe direction always depends on where you are and where other people are. If you don’t know, or aren’t sure, where other people are, assume people will be in places that people normally are or might be. For example, if there is a building in sight, assume people are in it; if there is a wooded area, assume people are hiking in it. You need to check safe directions before handling a gun. The reason for this rule is, if the gun goes off accidentally it is less likely to hurt anyone if it is pointed in a safe direction.

Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot means just that. Don’t put your finger on the trigger, or even into the trigger guard, as you pick up a gun. Keep your finger out straight along the frame of the gun. When you are on the firing line at a shooting range, in your shooting stance and have the gun up pointed at the target, then you can put your finger on the trigger. If you aren’t ready to shoot a target at a shooting range or ready to shoot while hunting, you have no reason to have your finger on the trigger. The reason for this rule is, if you don’t have your finger on the trigger, the gun is not likely to go off accidentally.

There are many other rules for safe gun handling and they can be found in hunter safety, gun and shooting books and pamphlets. They are all important and should be followed. The range where you practice will also have some of its own safety rules. You must read and observe all of these. Gun safety saves lives and accidental shootings. Gun safety is the responsibility of every person who owns, possesses or uses a gun.

Gun Safety Rules

These are not all the rules that should be followed to be safe with a gun. They are, however, many of the basic rules. Add to this list when you find new rules in other books and material. Keep incorporating into your safe gun handling practice new gun safety rules as you learn them.

Always control the direction of the muzzle, and keep it pointed in a safe direction away from any person, animal, thing or direction you don’t want to shoot.

Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Treat all gun as though they are loaded.

Keep the gun’s safety on until you are ready to shoot.

Keep guns unloaded when you aren’t using them.

Lock guns and ammunition away from children and careless adults.

Never point a gun at anything that you do not intend to shoot.

Never treat guns as toys.

Don’t use alcohol or drugs (including non-prescription drugs) when you are using a gun.

Never pull a gun toward you by the muzzle.

Range safety rules

Always keep the muzzle pointed down range.

Always wear eye and ear protection.

Obey all posted range rules.

Leave the action open when you put your gun down for any reason.

Don’t handle your gun or any of your equipment when the range is cold or when anyone is downrange changing targets.

If you need to clear a malfunction, turn your body, not your gun, so you can keep the muzzle downrange at all times.

Immediately follow all commands of the range officer.

Avoid talking on the firing line, so everyone can hear the range officer.

Carry guns to and from the range in a carrying case.

Only take ammunition for the gun you are using.

Know how to safely decock your gun.

Practice with an experienced and knowledgeable shooter for safety and coaching.

Never step or reach in front of the firing line to pick up your empty cases if the line is hot (people are still shooting).

Make sure the barrel and action of your gun are clean and free from any obstructions.

b. Read the gun’s manual

New guns come with a manual. Thoroughly read the manual for each gun you own or are going to shoot. They contain safety information about the particular gun you have. There usually is some information about the safety features and mechanisms on the particular gun the manual is describing. Pay particular attention to this because some models have special safety features that you will need to know about. Knowing, and using, the safety features of the gun you have is as important as the general safety rules.

c. Take courses

Take as many shooting courses as you can. Each course you take will reinforce the general safety rules and will give you an opportunity to practice them under supervision. Courses will also let you practice different shooting techniques and styles and let you see how the safety rules are integrated into each. The more you shoot, the safer you should become.

Consider taking a hunter safety class, even if you aren’t a hunter. These classes generally provide good information about gun safety, gun handling, gun laws and how guns work. In addition you will likely learn interesting things about the environment, ecology, wildlife and other topics.

d. Practice

Practice shooting whenever you can. The more you handle your gun, load and unload it, and shoot it, the more comfortable you will be with it and the safer you will become. If you leave your gun in a case from one year to the next, you won’t be familiar with it and its safety devices the next time you take it out of the case. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about handling the gun, you won’t be as safe with it. If it has been a long time since you handled your gun, take it in its case to a course or gun club and get some more instruction and help with handling it.

e. Join a gun club

Gun clubs generally stress safety. They are a great place for you to practice shooting in a safe place with people who appreciate your gun-safety attitude. Before you join a gun club attend one or more meetings, visit their gun range and notice how they practice and enforce gun safety and talk to members of the club to learn their attitudes about gun safety. If the club practices good gun safety, join it.

Joining a gun club can give you the opportunity to make shooting a hobby, let you meet other people with a common interest and can lead you to opportunities for competition if you like to compete.

f. Teach your family gun safety

Teach gun safety to everyone living in your home. The rules will be different for other adults who may use the gun from time to time and for children, who should never handle a gun without adult training and supervision.

Teach your children gun safety rules and that they should never handle a gun, no matter where or when they see one, but they should always tell a trusted adult about seeing a gun. Talk to your children about the dangers of guns and how they can be safe.
Gun Safety Rules

Gun safety can prevent gun accidents. Learning and always following gun safety rules will make everyone safer—gun owners, shooters, hunters, collectors, and the adult and child friends, family, and neighbors of gun owners.

These are basis gun safety rules. There are no magic three or ten or any number of gun safety rules. Everything you can do that contributes to gun safety is as important as any other gun safety rule. Practicing gun safety will make it a part of the way you handle a gun every time you handle one.

Teach gun safety rules to children. The first rule for children is NEVER TOUCH A GUN. Teach children to never touch a gun and to tell a trusted adult any and every time they see a gun, or what they think might be a gun. Teaching gun safety to children can involve teaching them how to load, unload, and shoot a gun under the close supervision of a competent adult (of course, with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian)l.

Here are basic Gun Safety Rules:

Always keep the muzzle of a gun pointed in a safe direction.

Don’t touch the trigger until you have the gun pointed at a safe target and you are ready to fire.

Treat every gun as if it is loaded.

Use the safety, but never rely on it.

Never load a gun until you are in a safe place where you can use it.

Unload a gun immediately after you use it.

Only use ammunition which exactly matches the markings on your gun.

Always read a gun’s manual and follow the manual’s instructions exactly.

At a shooting range, always keep a gun pointed downrange.

Always obey a range officer’s commands immediately.

Always wear adequate eye and ear protection when shooting.

Be certain of your target and what is beyond it before you pull the trigger.

If a gun doesn’t shoot when you pull the trigger: keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and take your finger off the trigger; wait thirty seconds in case of a delayed firing; unload the gun carefully, hold up your free arm while facing down range to ask the range officer for help if you need it.

Keep the barrel and action clear of obstructions.

Store guns with the action open.

Store ammunition and guns separately out of reach of children and careless adults.

Never horseplay with a gun or use it as a toy.

Never handle a gun belonging to anyone else or before you have read the gun’s manual.

Practice operating a gun empty before you attempt to load and shoot it.

When you transport a gun in a vehicle, make sure it is unloaded and safely contained in a gun case.

Never lean a firearm where it may slip and fall.

Do not use alcohol or mood-altering drugs, including medication, when you are handling guns.

When loading or unloading a gun, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

When you are cleaning a gun, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

When unloading semi-automatic guns by removing the magazine a live round, ready to fire, may still be in the chamber. Always rack the slide after removing the magazine and look for an empty chamber.

If you need corrective lenses, always wearing them when handling a gun.

Know the effective range and the maximum range of a firearm and the ammunition you have.

When cleaning a gun, make sure it is unloaded and all ammunition is in a different room or in a closed container away from the cleaning area.

Clean firearms every time they have been used.

Teaching Young Children Gun Safety

This article sets out one way to teach gun safety rules to children. However, this is not the only way to teach gun safety rules. Every parent and adult knows his or her child’s abilities, propensities, personality, and characteristics that make this or any other learning technique suitable for each child. Each parent and adult who uses this article must interpret and apply the information to suit the training needs of his or her child and assume the responsibility for so doing.

Safety rules for children

Gun safety for young children should include the basic gun safety rules:

If you find a gun don’t touch it.

Go and tell an adult you trust that you found a gun.

These rules, if followed, can keep a child from picking up a gun, get them away from the gun (in case a playmate picks it up), and will alert an adult to the situation.

Rules for teaching children gun safety

Follow basic rules for teaching children gun safety:





Teaching gun safety

Role playing can be used to teach gun safety rules to children. Here is one way to do this.

1. Cut out photos of guns from magazines to use as props. If you don’t have gun magazines in your home, ask a friend for an old issue or buy a gun magazine at the news stand. (It’s a small investment to help keep your child safe.) Choose photos of different looking handguns that are approximately the size of real guns. Cut around the outline of the gun removing the background from the photo.

2. Set a time to talk to your child about guns and gun safety. If you are a gun owner: Explain your views on guns (you are a hunter and enjoy a sport that provides food for the family, you have a gun for protection, you have a gun as a tool required for your law enforcement job, you are a gun collector, gun dealer, or gunsmith, or whatever). Also explain that other people have different views about guns and that some people don’t like guns and feel they are bad things.

If you don’t own a gun: Explain why you don’t have a gun in your home (you don’t like guns and think they are dangerous items, you don’t think guns should be in homes with children, or what ever your reason is). Also explain that other people have different views about guns than you have and that they may have guns for some lawful reason (even if you don’t agree with it) and that your child may be in a friend’s home where the parents do own guns.

Explain that guns are not toys and that they can cause very serious injury and can kill people and that children should never touch or play with guns. (Each parent must decide if they want their child to learn how to shoot a BB gun or air gun under appropriate training and supervision, but this is a different topic.) Explain that gun accidents can happen very quickly and easily.

Explain that what they see on television isn’t real and that violence isn’t glamorous or fun.

Ask your child what he or she knows about guns. If your child has questions about guns, that you can’t answer, find a hunter safety class or gun safety class that is appropriate for the age of your child and attend it together, even if you don’t own guns the more you know about them the safer you and your child can be if you encounter a gun at a friend’s home.

3. Explain the gun safety rules to your child. Get your child to repeat the rule back to you. Ask if he or she has any questions about the rule.

Prepare ahead of time how you will address issues such as:

Will your child get into trouble for “snooping” in your home or that of a friend or neighbor? Will this fear prevent your child from reporting finding a gun? Will you punish your child for snooping or reward him or her for reporting finding a gun?

If your child is at a friend’s home and find a gun, should your child tell his or her friend’s parents or come home and tell you?

If your child finds a gun outside, on the street, in a park, or any place at all, should your child tell you, a teacher, a police officer, or someone else? What situations will help your child make the decision who to go to and tell about finding the gun?

If your child is with friends who want to play with a gun, how can your child leave and tell on their friends without being viewed as a tattle-tale or afraid?

If your child can’t find an adult, or an adult they trust, what should she or he do?

4. Set a time to role play. Show your child the photos of the guns you cut from the magazine. Don’t let the child hold the photos, treat the photos like guns, keeping them pointed away from yourself and the child. Explain that you are going to put these “guns” in places that people may keep guns and when the child sees one, he or she must not touch it and immediately come and tell you or another adult in your home.

For young children you can start the practice by putting the “gun” in an obvious place in the room you are in and let them practice seeing it and coming to tell you. Then place it in a different room and let them go and discover it and come and tell you. Make sure the child never touches the gun. You can do this by having him or her say aloud “Don’t touch” when they see the gun. Repeat the role play two or three times a day, a couple days a week, for a month or so. Repeat it every few weeks for a few more months. Then monthly thereafter.

If your child picks up the gun during the game, immediately, calmly say “Stop, gently put the gun on the floor, come here to me.” Then talk about the danger of touching guns and repeat the gun safety rule. Have your child repeat the rule and answer any questions about the rule. Do the role play again.

When you think your child has learned the safety rule, put the gun photo in a place the child will likely come across it at a time when you haven’t set up a role playing session. If your child comes and tells you he or she found a gun, congratulate him or her. If he or she comes to you carrying the gun, you need to start over from the guns-are-dangerous lesson.


You can use toy guns instead of cut-out magazine photos of guns. If you do this, whenever you handle the gun you must follow basic gun safety rules of:

Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction when you pick up, hold, and set down the gun.

Keep your finger off the trigger.

Treat it like a real gun.

Store it in a safe place when it isn’t being used for learning the gun safety rules.

Never let your child play with the gun as a toy.

Your child will see how you handle the gun. If you are careless and let the muzzle hang down and point at your leg as you walk, put your finger on the trigger, point it at the dog and say “bang,” or some other un-safe behavior, that is what your child will learn.

Robert Ruark knew what he was talking about when wrote the seminal piece on big-game hunting in Africa, Use Enough Gun. Sure, you can kill tough game with light rounds, but if you want to consistently be successful in difficult situations, you need to use enough gun in order to get the job done.

While late season birdhunting in pheasant country isn’t the same as stalking the plains of Tanzania, it is a demanding business. Roosters are well educated and aren’t going to wait around to see if quartering dogs and approaching humans are out for stroll, they are going to run and break long. These birds are up early and rarely relax on the roost 30 minutes after sunrise unless the weather is foul. And by foul, I mean bone chilling cold with snow piled around them . I know this, but for some reason I thought I would be clever on my January 16th outing and carry a 20 gauge. The allure of carrying a gun that is light, some decent shooting during the season on my part and the fact that we were heading into country where we were more likely to see quail than pheasant convinced me that I could get by without my trusty SKB 12 gauge. That decision might have also been influenced by 2 days of heavy labor digging out a terrace for a new dog kennel . Sore shoulders can certainly sing a siren song.

Whatever my motivations might have been, the decision was made and I headed out early with 2 griffs and a great birdhunting partner. As we approached the area we were going to push first, a covey of quail scurried across the ditch. I patted myself on the back for having the foresight to save my sore arms the trouble of carrying the 12 gauge.

We started in a CRP field bordering a cut corn field. Definitely a promising spot for birds. The dogs went to work, but it was obvious early on that they were on a pheasant. They moved quickly and pushed hard through a patch of sunflower that had to be 10 feet tall. No covey on the planet moves like a rooster looking to see what is happening on the other side of the county. My partner and I kept pace and as we approached the end of the field a big gaudy ditch chicken broke out past the 40 yard mark. It is amazing how such a big bird can blast out of heavy cover and move when he has a reason. Needless to say, this crossing shot was not to be had. By the time I gathered myself for the shot, he was moving at top speed and 50 yards away. Undergunned for that one. With that defeat under our belts, Matt and I headed to the next field.

The next field was considerable larger and we worked the edges where the CRP met the corn. While the dogs covered ground and indicated that birds had been there, nothing was seen. As we came to the end of the field we made the determination that this place was vacated. This was public land and there was every reason to believe that we were too late. Well, you know what they say about assumptions. With no birds and no birdy dogs, I decided to add to the soil’s moisture profile. About the time I was ready to commence relief, my partner’s shotgun barked and a lone quail sailed onto the bordering private ground. Quickly I collected myself and walked over to him. “Did you see any others?” I asked.

“Nope,” he responded. We stood there a few minutes scratching our heads. I call the dogs over but they didn’t really hit on anything. Now the wind was against us and it was a dry morning, so I’ll give them a pass. But as I stepped into the brush and resumed my efforts at irrigation, that lone quail’s covey mates boiled up around me just when I was really getting going. Guess I need to be more careful where I aim that thing.

With the shotgun broken over my shoulder and the fact that I was a bit exposed, my chance at a shot was handicapped to say the least. Missed again and this time my red face had less to do with my shooting than it did with my particular position for the shot. We moved on to the next field. These birds had been traumatized enough.

The following spot we hit was less promising, but there was a brushy creek weaving through corn, so it couldn’t be passed up. As we shuffled along, I noticed a little finger of cover weaving up an old waterway in the middle of the corn. Matt and I changed course and the dogs closed in on it. Immediately Sam locked up on the one spot of brush in this patch. BB came up behind him and locked up as well. Matt and I closed in quickly. As if out of a hunting show, we walked in on the point and a nice covey broke. This time everything worked out and I made a nice shot on a bobwhite. The covey headed for thick cover and we followed. We put up a few more, but they were in thick enough stuff that neither of us a shot.

My lone quail, with Sam and BB

The day progressed and after a late lunch, we hit one last field where we had a score to settle with a particularly wily rooster. This 80 acre piece was all CRP, with brush along the borders. We worked the entire piece and had some nice dog work on a hen. As we approached the last clump of plum brush, the dogs put up another hen. After Matt and I watched her sail away, we took about 4 more steps….now you know what happened next. Our wily adversary broke cover at 50 yards flying faster than any bird should naturally move. Undergunned again. I might have had a chance with a fast moving 1 ¼ ounce load of 4’s out of an improved modified choke, but my fateful decision at the beginning of this trip sealed my fate.

What did I learn from this trip? Always trust the advice Robert Ruark when it comes to hunting tough game and don’t take a leak in the spot where a lone quail flushes.


hunting – quail – dove 1.23

P-Arrow Plantation has been extensively managed for game and fish for 30 years. Its owners offer hunting and fishing for individuals or for corporate retreats. The P-Arrow is located in Livingston, Alabama, east of I-59 and I-20 halfway between Birmingham, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi.

Located on the P-Arrow is over 100 acres of lakes for largemouth bass, crappie, and bream fishing. The P-Arrow is a prime location for exciting whitetail deer hunting from shooting houses overlooking green fields or tree stands.

Hunters can ride on a Belgian Mule drawn wagon carrying English Pointers and English Setters, or ride Tennessee Walking Horses to experience covey rises of fast flying bobwhites from sedge grass covered pine hills or stream side fields of partridge peas, Egyptian wheat, and corn. We have opening day dove hunts. Private dove hunts and turkey hunts are also available.

For those who simply want an outdoor experience in the old South, nature trails and historic tours are available.

Quail Hunts
There are three types of Quail Hunts which are available. They are:

The most authentic southern style quail hunt is by Belgian Mule drawn wagon. Dixon and Luke are our 1600 pound mules that pull the dog wagon. A hunt master and Hunt scout on a horse will direct each hunt. Lunch will be provided in the field by a cook.
The other type of quail hunt we provide is a full or half day hunt using the John Deere Gator with a customized box to carry the dogs and seats on top to carry the hunters. A scout on a horse will direct the hunt along with a hunt Master.
We also provide customized quail hunts to fit your desired experience.

All of the birds are either native or early released birds. There is NO LIMIT!!!

Dove Hunts
Opening Day Hunts are available. Hunters are served an excellent BBQ Lunch!!

Turkey Hunts
You will enjoy our Spring Hunts over chufa fields and wild game sorghum. We provide our turkey hunters with a personal guide.

Deer Hunts
Guided whitetail deer hunts are available. You may hunt the wary Whitetail Buck on green fields from comfortable shooting houses or tree stands. Bow hunting is encouraged!! We also offer customized hunts.

3 bed rooms /3 baths (1) king (1) queen (1) twin and a loft with a king and a full bed and a full bathroom. Every bedroom comes with its own private bathroom.

P Arrow consists of eight lakes that comprise 110 acres stocked heavily with Northern, Florida and Hybrid large mouth bass. Additionally, different lakes have coppernose, bluegills, shellcrackers, and crappie. The largest lake on P-Arrow is horseshoe lake, which contains about 33 acres of water and has quite a bit of grass in it. For the angler who enjoys fishing rubber rats, rubber frogs, swimming worms and grass type baits, this lake can be very exciting. Another honey hole at P-Arrow, the brewer pond, is more than 65 years old and contains a native strain of large mouth bass. It is also home to shellcrackers blue gills. If a fly-fisherman likes to catch bass and bream this is the place for him to do that. Pruitt built coyote lake with the structure fisherman in mind. After seeing Ray Scott’s video on how to build a pond to produce big bass he adopted many of the ideas for Scott’s tape.

Available are guided largemouth bass and bream fishing trips in over 110 acres of lakes. Bass as large as 14 pounds have been caught. And, catches of as many as 50-75 fish a day are the norm for the P Arrow fishing experience.

A guide will accompany the fishing party. We will provide you with a boat and a guide for the length of your trip. Fishing for Bass are catch and release.

Clayton Batts – Fishing with the New Bio-Bait!

P-ARROW Plantation is truly a heaven on earth. The staff is some of the best people you will ever meet and the food is worth coming in early for. It is truly an outdoorsman’s paradise whether you come to fish or hunt; I promise that you will leave with a smile on your face. The cover is abundant from fishing trees in open water, to simply beating the banks you are guaranteed to catch fish. The fish are strong and healthy and willing to bite anything in your box. The question is not when am I going to get a bite, but how big is the fish going to be. Thanks for a great trip and hope to see yall very soon.

Clayton Batts


Nothing says Memorial Day Weekend like a family picnic. And this past May 26th, the Team (Debra, Diana, and Chris) was invited to attend a “family picnic” of sorts for the Texas Big Game Awards Edwards Plateau Region. As we arrived in Burnet, Texas and entered the Galloway Hammond Center you couldn’t help but feel right at home. We were greeted with rows of tables lined with red and white checkered tablecloths, BBQ Brisket and sausage, cobbler, and good old-fashioned iced tea. Kids of all ages were running around having a great time. Sounds like a picnic to me.

As we made our way around the room, we met Lee Loeffler with Texas Land Bank and asked if he could use some TexasHuntFish stickers for his table. He obliged and asked us if Allen Shannon put us up to this. Turns out that Lee and Allen are friends and he just spent the weekend with him on one of their famous family camp outs. Click Here to read Kamping For Kids II by Allen Shannon.

Next we found the hosts of the evening, David Brimager, Assistant Vice President of the Texas Wildlife Association and Dr. Dan McBride, President of the Texas Taxidermy Association and big supporter of TWA. These guys are tireless supporters of TWA, TBGA, the TPWD and the Texas Youth Hunting Program, and not to mention two of the nicest guys on the planet. The room was buzzing with excitement as the awards ceremony neared and the room was filled with the smoky smell of country BBQ.

As the food was being set up, we were fortunate enough to talk with two custom knife makers, Charles Miller and Mike Morgan, about their passion for knife making. They both work out of the Burnet, Texas area using the best materials available. Knife making is a true art that takes time to master. While Mike’s craftsmanship is of a high quality, he still considers himself an apprentice and explained that it takes years to master the craft. Charles Miller is highly knowledgeable and had some very interesting things to say about his journey into knife making.

Find out more about Charles Miller Custom Knives and Mike Morgan Custom Knives.

Coming Soon Diana’s interview with Charles Miller

The cowbell sounded and dinner was on! We enjoyed fine country BBQ and I have to admit that this was one of the best “banquet” meals I’ve had in a long time. What a relaxing build-up to the night’s big event. After dinner, we settled in to watch the awards being handed out to young and old.

The backdrop for the awards ceremony was a very impressive wall of mounted trophies, including the 202 2/8 (net score) first harvest for 10 year old girl, yes 10, Mariah Gary shot on the Six Gun Ranch. Her father told that Mariah had been asleep in the stand and he had to wake her up to take the shot, to which she replied, “Is it the big one?”

Both her parents and younger sister were very proud of her and some of the older men were asking if they could switch their smaller bucks out for hers. Many of them also said that they’ve never harvested a buck that big and have been hunting for 20 plus years. Mariah just smiled and looked at her dad. She was one of many winners that night.

Cami Carrosco won the first harvest essay contest, which Dr. McBride pointed out that there is not an age limit on the contest. Whether you are 10 or 100, you can win. Cami’s buck scored 133 2/8 (net score) and was shot on the Nelms Ranch.

She said it was an unforgettable experience and one that she will always treasure. Whether it’s hunting with your dad or an official Huntmaster, passing on the hunting heritage for present and future generations is essential to the goals of the Youth Hunting Program put together by the Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

The awards ceremony also honored many Texas Landowners for their pursuit in passing on the hunting heritage. Among them were the Six Gun Ranch, Nelms Ranch, Apache Springs Ranch, Kerr WMA, West Kerr Ranch, and many others. They were honored for participating in land and wildlife management, conservation efforts, as well as for supporting the Youth Hunting Program. A couple of landowners brought a very large display of native Texas plants with information cards showing their effects on different animal species like Quail, Deer, and Turkey. I asked them how long it took to gather up all these plants and they very proudly stated it took them all of 20 minutes or so. Check out the pictures.

We had a great time and hope that next year’s banquet will be filled with more members and their families. Our thanks go to David Brimager, Dr. Dan McBride, and everyone at the TBGA, TWA and TPWD for allowing us to support your conservation and education efforts. See you next year.

Hunt Hard. Fish Smart. Explore Texas.

~Debra Heater

Find out more about these organizations by visiting their websites:

Texas Wildlife Association

Texas Big Game Awards

Texas Youth Hunting Program
4,100 acre year round lease in Zavala County approximately 7 miles south of LaPryor and 8 miles north of Crystal City. Classic South Texas mesquite brush country, lots of drainage, rolling terrain. There are lots of good roads cut throughout the property which provide better access to the brush and an increased amount of terrain for “joy riding”. The property has about 3.5 miles of Nueces River frontage. There is a dam about 4 miles downstream that creates a small lake (reservoir). We are on the top end of this reservoir and it makes our entire river frontage approximately 60 yards wide and 20 feet deep (even in drought conditions). The water is a clear/blue/green color, not muddy like most rivers that you find in South Texas. It is perfect for taking the kids swimming in the summer, launching a small boat/canoe/kayak, or tying out limb lines if you like big catfish. The river bottom supports an entirely different ecosystem than the brush and has huge live oak trees, some of which are over 5’ in diameter at the trunk.

There are 4 tanks and the fishing is great. Several black bass approaching 8 lbs have been caught, 4 kids with night crawlers and bobbers will land about a dozen 2 lb. channel cats in about 45 minutes.

There is a 160 acre field by the river that can be irrigated (irrigation is unusual in South Texas). We currently have 40 acres of oats planted in the river field and another 25 acre plot in the center of the ranch.

I have hunted this ranch for the last 4 seasons. I am now looking for 3 seasoned hunters to enjoy and steward this ranch with me. The owners and their family could not be nicer people and their desire is to establish long term relationships with quality hunters who are respectful to them and to their property. Any hunters who can fit that mold will have the opportunity to hunt on their ranch for a long, long time. The opportunity for longevity is invaluable to anyone who is looking for a new lease.

The base lease cost is $7,950 per gun. There are additional camp expenses that are split by the group (electric bill, insurance, all feeder corn, protein, biologist fees, maintenance, etc.). If you sign up for this lease, you will be required to pay $2,500 to our camp account for your portion of the expenses for the year. This amount should cover all of your camp expenses for the rest of the lease term which runs through February of 2010. If there are any surplus funds in the camp expense account at the end of the year then those funds are redistributed to the group. I take care of keeping all feeders full and batteries charged. You will be required to contribute 2 corn feeders and 2 protein feeders (protein feeders must be at least 700 lb. capacity). You may be required to contribute a blind at some point, but that isn’t required or needed at this time. All corn/protein feed pens are built and in place (17 total). All hunting locations are established. All members have equal access to all hunting locations. There are currently 18 hunting locations set up (1 without a pen for corn only). You only need to bring the feed equipment to the ranch and I will get it set for you. If you are buying new equipment I may be able to pick it up for you and deliver it to the ranch.

We operate under a MLDP Level 3 permit. This extends “rifle season” for bucks and does from Oct. 1st – Feb. 28th, doe harvest may be limited after the rut. The MLD also allows/requires hunters to use tags provided by the TPWD. Under MLDP Level 3, any one individual may harvest many more than 5 deer per season which is the traditional individual tag limit.

We are a management minded group and it is expected that any trophies taken are Post Mature (6.5 years old and older). We have harvest guidelines for management deer that will be provided to those that are interested in this lease.

Over the last 4 seasons we have harvested 79 Does, 88 Cull Bucks, & 2 Trophy Bucks. One of the Trophy Bucks taken scored 171 B&C and was a natural 13 point with a broken drop. In a typical season we see around 3 – 4 deer that score near or above 160 B&C. Most of those deer were aged on the hoof as being “4.5 – 5.5” and not post mature so they were not taken. We have shot several large 8pt. culls that were in the mid 130 – mid 140 B&C range. Antler growth was down this year like it was all over South Texas and we only identified 2 bucks over 160 this past season. The doe to buck ratio has consistently been 1.5 Does: 1 Buck. The herd density is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 deer per 18 acres.

This is a low fence ranch. The west boundary is HWY 83 and across the highway is the La Chaparosa which is a top end ranch. There is a high fence on the La Chaparosa about 600 yards in from the highway and runs parallel to our fence line. The north neighbor is a 5,000 acre pasture out of the Mac Pryor Ranch. This north neighbor is leased by a 12 gun group of 6 bow hunters and 6 rifle hunters. The north neighbor has been managed for 15 years, they shot 3-4 deer over 160 B&C this last season and the largest of those was mid-170 B&C (in a drought year). The ranch which is on the west end of our south fence line is rarely hunted and this property is wild and raw. The neighbor on the east end of the south fence line leases to hunters that corn our fence line and have corn feeders close to our fence line, we consider this neighbor a bad neighbor concerning management. The east boarder is the river which is deep & wide and is probably as good as a high fence. Overall, out of the 14 miles of fence line that boarders and surrounds the ranch, I would say that about 80% of it is occupied with “good” neighbors for a low fence situation.

This will be our 5th year feeding protein and we have 17 protein feeding locations (one per 241 acres). We have completed 4 years of herd management. When we took the lease in 2006, the ranch had been basically not hunted for decades (probably not since the 1970’s). The only hunting pressure prior to our 2006 lease came from an outfitter who purchased 6 bucks per season during the 2003 & 2004 seasons. As far as trophy management goes, in 2006 we were starting from scratch. The ranch is still a work in progress concerning herd development. The rancher to our north told me that it took them 8 years to develop their herd to the level that it is today (3-4 160 class deer taken per year). Point is, don’t consider this lease if you expect to shoot a 160 class post mature buck in your first season, while that is certainly possible, I believe that we are about 3 years away from having a top end herd where 3-4 160 class bucks (or better) are taken each year. In the last 4 years I (personally) could have killed 2 bucks at or above 160 B&C on this ranch. Neither buck was clearly post mature, and they both walked.

We have an open guest policy on this ranch and lease members do not need to sit in the blind with their guests, but lease members are responsible for their guest’s actions and for any game that is harvested by their guest. A lease member may bring more than one guest, but we are limited to 12 hunters on the ranch at one time so we just have to coordinate with each other when we are bringing people down. Kids are welcomed and encouraged. The owner likes to saddle up horses for the kids a few times each year. We have the opportunity to arrange access to horses and riding equipment by contributing something to the owners feed costs. Keeping your own horse on the property could possibly be arranged (for a fee).

Our camp consists of a well/water system, septic, a 16,000 s.f. crushed limestone pad/parking area, covered deck, cleaning area, and 2 Conex storage boxes (one for feed and one for storage). New hunters will need to bring down their own mobile home or R.V. There are spots set up on the crushed limestone pad for trailers to be parked. They have septic lines, electric, and water hook ups in place for easy set up.

The owner also has a relatively new three bedroom mobile home that sits behind their homestead (this is about 1.5 miles from our camp). We can use this trailer whenever it is needed for spill over, or if you were down there with your wife or a guest and you didn’t want to stay in an R.V. This trailer has a big screen TV with a dish so we typically watch the football games over there. The owner’s mobile home is only for spill over and is not to be used as any hunter’s primary lodging when on the property.

There are lots of turkeys. Quail have been good in wet years but not in dry years. Dove hunting on the tanks is always steady, there are some fields that have re-grown old plantings and have been full of dove. There are lots of ducks & sand hill crane. Plenty of pigs, coyote, etc. We can’t shoot bobcats.

There are a total of 8 guns on the ranch. I am one of the guns.

Thank you for your time and interest. If you are an experienced management minded hunter and easy to get along with then you will be welcomed. Anyone who is laid back will enjoy our group and this ranch.
News Release
General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406

Sept. 22, 2010

Weekly migratory bird hunting reports are posted from early September through early February.

North Zone Dove: Best hunts have been in milo, corn and sunflowers around Abilene, Lubbock and Amarillo. The absence of cool fronts have not encouraged new migrants to find Texas, though a brighter moon might prompt new birds to head south this week. Red River hunters have enjoyed afternoon shoots over soybeans, roosting trees and ponds. Hunter participation has waned since the opener. Prospects are fair to good.

Central Zone Dove: Wet conditions have hampered the flight near San Antonio. Brownwood and Stephenville hunters have seen fair afternoon shoots around grain fields. Harrison and Panola county hunters have found best shoots around goatweed and plowed ground. Sealy and Columbus hunters saw more birds this week since nearby South Zone fields were hunted. Hunts near Hankamer, Winnie and Anahuac were fair. Prospects are fair to good.

South Zone Dove: Good shoots were posted in sunflowers, plowed ground and corn around El Campo and Danevang, despite heavy rains throughout opening weekend. Rain slowed hunts around Port Lavaca. Bay City hunters were inundated with rain, which limited the flight. Rain bands coming off the Gulf of Mexico drenched Rio Grande Valley hunters. Prospects are good when the region begins to dry.

Teal Season: It has been an average teal season along the coast with plenty of rain and little cool weather. Hunting slowed as a whole on the prairies and marshes since no cool fronts have prompted new ducks to migrate. Many hunters did report better flights early this week, probably due to the upcoming full moon. Unofficial harvest reports indicate more hens have arrived, giving rise to the notion the first wave of birds (mostly adult drakes) have moved south. Typically, the majority of adult drakes migrate first, then hens that did not raise a brood, then hens with their first-year. Most bluewings are in drab plumage, but hens and drakes can be distinguished by their chevrons (wingpatches). Males will have a solid white chevron while females will have broken blotches of brown that breaks up the white on the wing. Teal season ends at sunset Sept. 26. The regular duck season open Oct. 30 in both the North and South zones. Prospects are fair to good.


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Wildlife biologists at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are cautiously optimistic about quail prospects this season, which gets under way Saturday, Oct. 30 statewide.

This past winter a two-year drought in the major quail hunting areas of the state was finally broken. Range conditions and more importantly, according to TPWD, nesting and brood rearing habitat greatly improved, setting the stage for a marked increase in production. Unfortunately, after two years of unfavorable weather, the number of quail available to breed had become quite low. In general, quail rebound fastest from the remaining pockets of survivors from last season.

“Low carryover is the biggest obstacle to recovering quail populations,” said Robert Perez, TPWD upland game bird program leader. “Quail species are hardwired to take advantage of good reproductive environmental conditions. It’s part of their survival strategy. So many are consumed each year, the species relies on a high reproductive output in order to persist on the landscape. We expect a greatly improved season over last year but a hen can only do so much in one year. Given another wet winter and spring we could expect a much stronger rebound next season.”

Perez indicated those ranches that managed habitat for quail during the extended dry spell will likely see more birds this season, which runs Oct. 30-Feb. 27.

The daily bag limit for quail is 15, with 45 in possession. Legal shooting hours for all non-migratory game birds are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The bag limit is the maximum number that may be killed during the legal shooting hours in one day.

Since 1978, TPWD has conducted annual statewide quail surveys to track population trends. This index uses randomly selected, 20-mile roadside survey lines to determine annual quail population trends by ecological region. This trend information helps determine relative quail populations among the regions of Texas. Comparisons can be made between the average number of quail observed per route this year and the long term average for quail seen within an ecological region. The quail survey was not designed to predict relative abundance for any area smaller than the ecological region.

Following are summary prospects for each region this season:

Rolling Plains
This region received timely winter, spring and summer rainfall resulting in excellent breeding conditions for bobwhite quail. The summer rains extended the window of opportunity for nesting. If a hen failed in her first attempt, there was ample time for a second attempt. The limiting factor was the number of birds available to breed. Field reports indicate that quail have made a strong comeback in areas that held birds last year. Other areas have improved as well but to a lesser extent. It’s a good idea to scout ahead to be sure the areas you plan to hunt are holding birds.

The average number of bobwhites observed per route was 8.0 compared to 6.6 last year. This is well below the Long Term Mean of 21.5. Despite low counts, enough young birds and coveys have been anecdotally reported that we suspect hunters will be able to find birds. Public hunting opportunities can be found at the Matador and the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Areas.

South Texas Plains
Although considered one of the last strongholds for quail, South Texas is not immune to drought impacts on quail populations. The 2009 season was no exception and quail numbers were down. Consequently, it will effect the 2010 season.

There should be greater nesting success and production of bobwhite quail this year on those properties that have an adequate number of carryover birds from last year. On many properties that did not implement the proper management techniques or limit grazing pressure, there will be fewer birds available for production. In these areas it could possibly take a few above average years to regain those populations to normal levels.

This region also experienced a wet winter, spring and summer. South Texas also had very few days 100 degrees or greater. Cool-wet summers are ideal for quail reproduction but similar to the Rolling Plains, carryover was a limiting factor. Overall, our surveys indicate an increase in population compared to last year but still below average across the region. The best opportunities will be on well managed sites that held over birds from last year.

The average number of bobwhites observed per route was 8.61 compared to 5.2 last year. This is well below the Long Term Mean of 18.6 and is predictive of a below average hunting season. The Chaparral and the Daughtrey Wildlife Management Areas provide public quail hunting opportunities.

Portions of the Trans-Pecos ecological region received timely rainfall while other areas either missed the rains completely or received it at times less beneficial to scaled quail. As a result, reproduction varied across the region. Field reports indicate that birds can be found in areas with good range condition. Reports from the western edge of the Edwards Plateau (the Stockton Plateau) indicate an improvement over last year but still below average.

The average number of scaled quail observed per route was 7.2 compared to 16.9 last year. This is below the Long Term Mean of 17.5. Public hunter opportunities can be found at Elephant Mountain and Black Gap Wildlife Management Areas.

Other Areas
TPWD surveys indicate that bobwhite numbers in Gulf Prairies are similar to last season. Hunters should focus on the central and lower coast in native prairie habitats. The Cross Timbers and Edwards Plateau continue to report numbers well below their respective Long Term Means. Although there are certainly areas within each region where some quail hunting opportunity remains, this survey is not designed to detect changes in localized populations, especially in fragmented landscapes.

CLICK HERE for article on Texas Parks and Wildlife
Common Gray Fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus (Schreber), a medium-sized fox with grayish upperparts, reddish brown legs, tawny sides, and whitish throat, cheeks and mid-line of belly; sides of muzzle and lower jaw with distinct blackish patch; tail with distinct blackish stripe on upperside and black tip (no white on end of tail as in the red fox; tail roughly triangular, not round, in cross section; skull with distinct lyrate temporal ridges, which meet only at hind part of skull. Dental formula as in the red fox. External measurements average: total length, 970 mm; tail, 347 mm; hind foot, 143 mm. Weight, ordinarily 3-5 kg, occasionally as much as 9 kg.

Distribution in Texas

The gray fox is essentially an inhabitant of wooded areas, particularly mixed hardwood forests. It is common throughout the wooded sections east of the shortgrass plains and in the pinyon-juniper community above the low lying deserts.

This fox is adept at climbing trees, particularly if they are leaning or have branches within 3 m of the ground, and it is not unusual for it to use this escape device when pursued by hounds. Contrary to common belief, gray foxes are not strictly animals of the night, but they are much more active then. They have been observed on many occasions in the daytime under conditions that suggested they were foraging. When so encountered, they often move to one side behind a protecting screen of vegetation and wait for the intruder to pass.

Gray foxes usually den in crevices in the rocks, in underground burrows, under rocks, in hollow logs, or in hollow trees. In eastern Texas, one was found denning about 10 m above the ground in a large hollow oak. In central Texas, a den was found in a hollow live oak with the entrance about 1 m above the ground. Two unusual den sites which have been documented include a pile of wood and a field of sorghum into which a fox had “tunneled.”

The gray fox is omnivorous; the food varies with season and availability. Based upon the stomach contents of 42 foxes from Texas, the winter food consisted chiefly of small mammals (cottontails, cotton rats, pocket gophers, pocket mice), 56%; followed by insects, largely grasshoppers, 23%; and birds (doves, quail, sparrows, blackbirds, towhees), 21%. In the spring the diet was but slightly changed — small mammals, 68%; insects, 25%; small birds, 17%. In late summer and fall, persimmons and acorns led with 30%; insects, 26%; small mammals, 16%; birds, 14%; crayfish, 14%. In these 42 stomachs, chicken and quail occurred once each, and mourning doves twice. Consequently, as judged from these analyses, the usual food habits of the gray fox do not conflict much with man’s economy.

In Texas, the breeding season begins in December and continues on into March. Most females captured in March and April are gravid. The three to six pups are born in April or May after a gestation period of about 53 days. At first they are blind and helpless, but they grow rapidly and soon leave the home nest, possibly because of the heavy infestation of fleas characteristic of such nests. Then they seek shelter in rock piles, under rocks, in piles of brush, or in other sites that offer concealment and protection.

Of some interest is the possible relationship between gray foxes and coyotes. In sections of Texas where coyotes formerly were numerous, the gray fox was scarce; now, after elimination of the coyote, the gray fox has become abundant. Perhaps the coyote tends to hold this fox in check under conditions where they both occupy the same area.

Gray foxes are thought to live six to 10 years in the wild. Major factors causing mortality include predation, parasites, diseases, and man. The gray fox is among the most important of Texas’ fur-bearing animals.
credit to :

When to keep and when to kill the prickly pear

Like most things in life, the prickly pear cactus has it pros and its cons. For anyone who has ever had a brush with prickly pear glochids, those tiny, barbed spines that can inflict a world of hurt, it might be difficult to envision particular positives at that moment. But fans of the slightly tart, almost citrus flavor of nopalitos, made from the tender young pads of the cactus, are happy to extol the prickly pear’s culinary virtues. The brilliant magenta fruit of the prickly pear – the tuna – can also be eaten raw (once denuded of its spines and peeled) or used to make sweet jellies or syrups. In his accounts of experiences in the area now known as Texas, Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca noted the prickly pear as a staple of the native peoples’ diet. During times of drought, the prickly pear has long served as an emergency source of food for livestock. Ranchers have often initiated controlled burns or used “pear burners” to rid the cactus of its painful spines, making it easier for cattle to eat.
But while a plate of fajitas con nopalitos washed down with a prickly pear margarita is all fine and tasty, what about prickly pear and wildlife?
In moderation, prickly pear is an excellent plant for whitetail deer, javelina, and other wildlife. As a bonus non-nutritional benefit, bobwhite quail and small mammals utilize the cactus for screening and protective cover. It can also serve as a protective “nurse plant” for more desirable woody and herbaceous plants. Like many other native plants, it has its wildlife-beneficial features, as long as it is limited on a property. It also occupies an aesthetic place on the Texas landscape, particularly during the spring when its delicate pink buds blossom to showy yellow flowers. However, when landowners have too much of a good thing and prickly pear density and abundance suppress native grass, forb, and shrub diversity, then it needs to be controlled. In addition to crowding out other native plants, over-abundant prickly pear can also limit some wildlife management practices such as mowing and discing due to concerns about spreading the prickly pear.
Unlike other cacti which tend to grow slowly, the fast growing prickly pear can spread at a sometimes alarming rate. This tends to happen in pastures that have been subjected to long-term overgrazing. Once prickly pear gets established in dense stands, the only way to reduce its dominance is to kill it. Options for doing so include digging out the plants (roots included) by hand or with equipment, which is labor intensive, and the plants must be gathered to prevent creating new plants from loose pads. Prescribed fire followed by immediate grazing can reduce its dominance and has other benefits, but the most practical, long-term solution for problem prickly pear is to have it professionally treated with a herbicide.
It takes a strong herbicide to take down prickly pear and, if not carefully applied, it can kill other desirable plants. Herbicides that control prickly pear are almost all controlled use herbicides, which means you must have a license to buy and use them.
Because many landowners do not have a controlled use license for prickly pear herbicide, or the experience to assess the value of leaving some prickly pear for wildlife, Plateau offers prickly pear removal as one of its many Wildlife Management services. Plateau takes the time to thoroughly treat each plant individually to get the best possible kill without wasting expensive herbicide, and to make sure that only the target plants are treated.
The best time to treat prickly pear is when the invasion is still limited to small, but abundant, plants. Select plants should be retained for the positive benefits they provide, including cover and food. While prickly pear control can be done year round, the best seasons to do so, if a herbicide is used, are spring to early summer, and then in the fall, as post-treatment rainfall is important to move the herbicide into the soil. But, as we all know, Mother Nature doesn’t always follow the calendar, so ideal windows can shift from year to year. Summer applications can also be very effective if soil moisture levels are adequate and rainfall is expected.
Because successful herbicide application takes planning, landowners in need of prickly pear control – or those in need of an assessment of their prickly pear situation – should contact professionals like Plateau prior to the ideal treatment seasons so a treatment plan is at the ready when the time is right.

Early summer is also the only good time to do foliar herbicide applications for mesquite. Half-cutting mesquite is best done during the spring/early summer period as well.

credit to: Article From Plateau Land and Wildlife Management
A step by step guide to get you in the field!

Dove Hunting in Coppell Texas is a great sport for all ages. Whether you are 12 or 50, it can be rewarding. I started at age 17 and haven’t missed an opening day since. As the summer begins, my heart and mind always go to September 1st (opening day North and Central Zones in Texas) although it is likely very different in your area. With all that said, if you would like to try it out I have some practical things for you to do to make getting started easy.

Getting started falls into two basic categories:

What to purchase?
What to do?

What to Purchase

I know, you are thinking this is going to be expensive. It can be (if you have the money), if not, you can start out on a shoestring budget, like me. There are many items that make dove hunting more comfortable but they are not necessary to start dove hunting. I’ll begin with the bare necessities.

A Shotgun
I don’t think there is any way around this one, unless you are real good with a sling shot. There are many options when it come to a shotgun. The basic categories are; pump action, auto-matic, and over and under. All three have there advantages and disadvantages. The other things involved in purchasing a shotgun are , what gauge and what brand.

A pump action shot gun is the least expensive type of shotgun. Pumps can be purchased for around $300. Winchester and Remington have decent entry level pump shotguns. A pump simply means that the discharging and reloading of shells is done by pumping the gun backwards and then forward. Contrary to popular belief, this can be done very quickly and all have shot a lot of birds with a pump. A pump’s advantages are it is a great starter gun and the cost will keep some money in the bank if you are on a budget.

An automatic shotgun is an upgrade from a pump. An automatic shotgun ejects the spent shell and reloads the chamber automatically (hints why it’s called an automatic). Both the pump and automatic hold three shells(with the plug in). For a beginner and even for me (as I shoot an automatic), the third shot can be a life saver. Automatic shotguns can be pricey though.

Gauges: When buying a shotgun, size does matter. The smaller the number the larger the shell.

Mourning Dove

The bottom line is you have to have a gun, so decide on your budget and make a purchase that will last a life time. Let’s keep a running total….

1-pump-action gun = $300

2. A place to Dove hunt near CoppellTexas

I’d say this is a necessity. Here again, this depends on your bank account. There are several ways to hunt without paying ant outrageous amount of money. In Texas, they have public land and for around $50 one can access thousands of acres. The trick is finding a spot with birds. There are also day hunts for around $100 per day, and even some leases for around $150 per season (usually these suck). If you’ve got the money, look for some established leases in the newspapers. They can range anywhere from $300 to $1000 per gun. Again, a gun is no good if you don’t have a place to shoot it (preferably with birds on it or flying by).

1-pump shotgun @ $300, 1- public land permit @ $50

3. Hunting license

I don’t think this needs too much elaboration. Depending on your Texas, should be around $10-50. You also may need additional “stamps” on your state license.

1-pump shotgun @ $300, 1- public land permit @ $50, 1- hunting license @ $40,


You can really go crazy here if you want, but there are a few ‘must haves’.

Shells. I could write a novel on this, but to start just buy some 8 shot dove load. Buy a case (10 boxes), should be around $60.
Bird/bullet bag.Probably a three pouch camo, $15.
Chair. Get a comfortable one. They are cheap $30 max.
Camo clothing. Depending on your climate, you’ll need pants and a shirt. The more pockets the better. You might want to buy some boots too. We’ll say $100.
Other accessories you might want to get could be a water bottle (camo, of course), flashlight, hunting vest, a new cooler (to put all your birds you kill in), camo hat, and polarized sunglasses. For now i won’t figure these into cost.
1-pump shotgun @ $300, 1- public land permit @ $50, 1- hunting license @ $40, 1-set of accessories @ $205.

That’s it! The grand total to get you into business is around $600. It sounds like a lot, but if you don’t wait until the last minute you can budget it in over time.

In the next article, I’ll cover what to do to get started dove hunting in CoppellTexas.

Dove hunting is a popular form of sport that is embraced by many people in CoppellTexas. When hunting for dove, there are numerous factors that can go into making every hunting excursion successful. Some helpful dove hunting tips would include such topics as the hunter’s armament, concealment, decoys, and a good working knowledge of a dove’s normal activity.

Armament is the easiest external factor to control while hunting for this fowl. Try to keep in mind that doves are small birds and smaller caliber ammunition will be required. The best guns to use are either repeating, pump action, or double barreled shotguns in 12, 16, or 20 gauge varieties.

Concealment and decoys are both good ways to attract and shield oneself from being spotted by potential prey. A decoy works by portraying the look of doves and attracting them into a predetermined kill zone. Doves, like many birds, are pack animals and are attracted to other doves. However, when attracting doves, one must be well camouflaged because doves have very good eyesight.

Finally, the knowledge of dove behavior and the seasons for hunting them are critical to being a good hunter. Doves are seed eating animals, so a dove hunter should place himself and his decoys in wherever there is a healthy supply of seeds. They are also easier to spot in the morning to the mid-afternoon.

Dove hunting is a popular sport because they are a plentiful animal that can be found in many locations in the United States. When going on a dove hunt, a person must use smaller caliber ammunition out of a shotgun and remain well hidden. Place decoys in heavily seeded areas and wait for them to come to you. One things is for sure, dove hunters will find that after years of hunting these fast moving birds, they will end up being a crack shot.
Have a questions about hunting in Argentina?
Los Gauchos Outfitters is based in the US and we are here to answer your questions. We have all traveled the route and know the country and the hunting – so ask! Please contact us with any other questions and have a good time bird hunting in Argentina.

How do I get to the Santa Fe Lodge in Argentina ?

Clients from the USA will fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE airport code) and then transfer to the domestic airport for a flight to Santa Fe, Argentina. Please keep in mind the costs associated with transportation from Buenos Aires interntational airport to the domestic airport. We have a great guide who can meet you – contact us for more information and fees associated with our travel service within Buenos Aires, Argentina.

What Argentina hunting is available at the Santa Fe Lodge ?

Bird hunting at the Los Gauchos Santa Fe Lodge will give you the best of bird hunting in Argentina.

Morning Duck Hunts
Afternoon Argentina Dove Hunting
Afternoon Perdiz Hunting
Do we need waders for the duck hunting in Argentina ?

Pack Your Duck Hunting Waders
Yes. Please pack some light weight waders for the morning duck hunts at the Santa Fe Lodge.

What do I need to travel to Argentina (visa or passport) ?

Currently USA citizens only need a valid current passport to enter Argentina. Please note your passport must NOT expire within 6 months of entry or exit from Argentina.

There is a new fee for North Americans entering Buenos Aires. The current rate is about $142 and is paid when you arrive at the airport.

How do I get to the Santa Fe Lodge ?

When you land at the Santa Fe Lodge, our head guide will be there to meet you and transfer you and your group to the Santa Fe Lodge. The drive time is about 1 hour 30 minutes from the Santa Fe Lodge.

What is the Santa Fe Lodge like ?

The Santa Fe lodge is able to accommodate up to 8 hunters. Rooms are designed for double occupancy. Please inquire if you would like a single room. Depending on availability we can accommodate you (there is a fee to reserve a single room at the Santa Fe Lodge).

What are the limits for the Bird Hunting at Santa Fe in Argentina ?

The limit for the morning duck hunt is 25 ducks per day per hunter. There is NO limit for dove hunting in Argentina. The limit for Perdiz is 10 Perdiz per hunter.

What does the daily rate include at the Santa Fe Lodge ?

The Argentina BIrd Hunting Trip at the Santa Fe Lodge includes:

Lodging, Beverages, Guided Hunting (Ducks, Doves, Perdiz), Guns, Tips
Ground Transfer Fee – includes the transfers in Santa Fe, Argentina and during your hunt. This fee DOES NOT include any transfer in Buenos Aires.
License – includes the bird hunting license for ducks, doves, and Perdiz.
What is the hunting season in Argentina ?

Argentina Hunting Seasons
The Argentina duck hunting season is May 1 to August 31. The Perdiz season begins May 1st and ends July 31st. Dove hunting is available year round in Argentina.

Can I bring my own shotgun to Argentina ?

Yes, you can. Our daily rates include the use of high quality Benelli m2 semiauto shotguns. You will have to pay a fee of $110 at the airport and there is a fee to have our guide meet you at the airport to assist with registering the gun. Please make sure you keep all licenses with you at all times. When you depart, the officials will have to see the license.
Duck Hunting in Uruguay has gained its notoriety through the focus on the duck hunting land and rice farms and duck hunting guides that are keen to the behavior of the Uruguay ducks and the calls that bring the Uruguay into the fields in high volume flocks each day during duck hunting season. While duck hunting in Uruguay rarely makes national news, the duck hunting Los Gauchos provides in Uruguay has every reason to make the headlines.

The duck hunting in Uruguay is the way it used to be in the US during the beloved winter duck season. Much of Uruguay is still farmland with the capital, Montevideo bare of skyscrapers and high population. Farmers in Uruguay rely on their crops including rice farms and much of Uruguay’s economy is based on the agircultural rewards of Uruguay rice farms. Ducks that migrate into Uruguay during the winter months (May to August) congregate around the rice fields and potholes and marshes. This is one reason why Uruguay is such a duck hunting paradise.

Los Gauchos is set up right on a private rice farm and the lodge is within minutes of these duck feeding spots. Thus, duck hunting in Uruguay is a satisfying occurrence for all duck hunters, young and old and everything in between. Los Gauchos operates four lodges for the Uruguay duck hunting trips. One is dedicated to pure duck hunting both morning and afternoon duck hunts with lodging about 15 minutes from the duck blind. The lodge is equipped with wireless internet, full kitchen and dining room, private baths, double occupancy and large living room with a fireplace to enjoy the Uruguay wines and food.

Los Gauchos Outfitters has two Duck Hunting Lodges that offer the best in duck hunting. Waterfowl hunting and the meals, service, guides, and experience is worth a million – but the rates we charge are NOT even close.

Duck hunting in Uruguay should be the best trip – from pre trip planning to flights to/from Uruguay to the service before, during and after your Uruguay duck hunting trip. Guess what – Los Gauchos ranks high and the bottom line – is near the bottom. Huh?

Duck hunting in Uruguay – $599 and below! So contact Los Gauchos Outfitters today to find out about the duck hunts and the packages they include. We look forward to seeing you in duck hunting paradise – Uruguay.

The Uruguay duck hunting is set apart from the other hunting trips in Uruguay. It is a seasonal affair, with the Uruguay duck hunting season starting May 1st and lasting until the end of August. The hunting lodge is a great experience for the advanced duck hunter, the beginning duck hunter, or the waterfowl hunter who just wants to experience the best duck hunting in Uruguay. While many stories have been released talking about the duck hunting population dramatically decreasing, the stories and research does detail the fact that sons are more likely to hunt if their dads or grandfathers are avid duck hunters.
Uruguay is a peaceful country without the modernization that tends to keep the young duck hunters away from the fields. Los Gauchos welcomes father and son pairs, as we usually place two hunters in a blind with a duck hunting guide. The species of ducks is vast and many are only found in South America.

See the photos for the various ducks that are abundant in Uruguay: Rosy bill pochards, Silver Teal, and White Faced Tree Duck are just a few of the many species of ducks one will experience on a Uruguay duck hunting trip.

Uruguay duck hunting provides the duck hunter a duck hunting season year round, since seasons are opposite those in North America. Access and availability is large in number. So contact Los Gauchos Outfitters today to find out more about the outstanding duck hunting in Uruguay and how the ease of getting to Uruguay and enjoying the Uruguay duck hunting lodge will bring back and create many good memories.

See the professionals taking advantage of the authentic Uruguay duck hunting outfitters, Los Gauchos. Duck hunting in Uruguay has never been this good and season after season Los Gauchos Outfitters provides.

There is a place…in the southern part of the South American continent, where wingshooting dreams are made into realities—365 days a year. In Uruguay, it is open season on doves and pigeons, and duck season is open from May until September. The dove hunting in Uruguay can only be described as out of this world! Only Argentina dove hunting can compare, and the duck hunting in Uruguay has made this little country famous throughout the world in waterfowl hunting camps, and chat rooms alike.

All the buzz has created quite a stir on outdoor television networks as well, and no one has brought more bird hunting in Uruguay to your television set than Los Gauchos Outfitters. Since 2003, we have been featured in one episode per year, and our credits include: Benelli American Safari, Benelli Dream Hunts, The Beretta Bird Hunter’s Journal, American Gun Dog, and Final Approach TV—where one can always watch the world’s best waterfowl hunting destinations live, and in color.

Many of our clients who have never been on a Uruguay hunting trip ask us what type of packages we offer with respect to our Uruguay bird hunts…our answer is this: Any and all of them. We can customize your bird hunting vacation to fit your mold, with an emphasis on the species that you wish to hunt and/or fish for. We have been doing this with our Argentina bird hunting trips since 2001, often planning overlapping trips between the two countries. A lot of our clients have been dove hunting in Argentina for years, and are ready to try something new; not just a new Argentina wingshooting trip, but an entirely new country as well. This is typically when the subject of bird hunting in Uruguay comes up, and we encourage all of our clients to give wingshooting in Uruguay a shot, because no other destination that we have more consistently pleases our clients.

Uruguay bird hunting offers the volume of shooting that our clients have come to expect from hunting in Argentina, combined with the unique class and charm that makes bird shooting in Uruguay a lot like hunting in northern Spain, or the south of France, the only difference being that instead of costing 2,000 Euros per day, the trips cost approximately $2,000 U.S. dollars for three or four days of hunting in Uruguay, depending on your quarry.

“I have never seen duck shooting like this, and I have been duck hunting in Argentina for over a decade!”

Mr. L. Haggar—Boston, MA

“Incredible Perdiz hunting! The only upland bird hunting trip that I have ever been on where I reached my limit of ten birds in less than an hour was this one. I was done in a record 37 minutes!”

“I just loved the dogs. Each day we had a different one, and all I could think about was how lucky these dogs were to have a chance to be Perdiz hunting in Uruguay almost every day during the Perdiz hunting season in Uruguay.”

Mr. and Mrs. J. Hollowell—Elko, Nevada

“Too much good food and wine. We travel on our stomachs and found the cuisine in Uruguay to be delightful. The birds were plentiful, the dog work was outstanding, and the in-the-field service was first rate. We will return for another Uruguay hunting trip sometime in the near future.”

Mr. and Mrs. L. Brennan—Elyria, OH

One of the things that might stand out from the testimonials above is the fact that two out of three of them were from couples. Bird hunting in Uruguay is our top couples shoot, because everything is close by, and our Uruguay dove hunting lodges offer plenty of recreational activities for hunters and non-hunters alike—activities such as: Spanish classes, cooking classes, horseback riding, and shopping and city tours. Day tours to Colonia are probably the most popular, followed by tours in the city of Salto, where one will find some of the only naturally occurring hot springs in all of South America.

If you would like more information about bird hunting in Uruguay, give us a call right now at 800-420-8707. We will be happy to send you a catalog featuring all of our destinations hunting in Argentina and Uruguay. Our experienced staff has been to all of these destinations many times, and our managers have worked as outfitters and guides for some of the best operations for wingshooting in Argentina.

In addition, Los Gauchos Outfitters offers fishing in Argentina and Uruguay. Try a Cast & blast on for size. If you and yours are anglers and hunters, this trip will exceed your expectations in every area: high-volume birds, and BIG fish—the Golden Dorado fishing in Uruguay is excellent.

For more PHOTOS AND VIDEOS, select the following link, and get set for some hard-hitting action:

quail hunting 2.34

Jun 2

Posted in: Quail Hunting | No Comments
Tags: florida quail hunting, Quail Hunting

Florida is a great state for quail hunting. With over 5 million acres of land for hunting all sorts of animals, quail hunting remains one of the most popular animals for sport hunting. And, because the season for hunting quail is during the months where, across most of the United States, it’s relatively cold, Florida stays warm and thus, hunting can be in a relatively calm climate.

Quail are interesting birds. They don’t migrate like other birds, meaning they’re in Florida year round. Their favorite habitat is low brush and flatlands, but they also like wooded and grassy lands, anywhere that lends itself to being able to hide. They’re not a bird that hangs in the trees, but their first response isn’t always to fly into the air to make themselves easy targets. Quail can be elusive, which makes hunting them more of a sport than duck hunting, because quail won’t respond to mating calls or any other tricks that hunters will usually employ.

Because Florida can contain many types of animals, most people will usually find a lodge of some kind that owns thousands of acres that are set aside for quail hunting. This also makes it easier for the casual hunter because there’s not only specific gear that hunters might want, but it may take having a guide and dogs specially trained in flushing out quail to not only find quail, but to be protected against dangers such as rattlesnakes, which hang out in the same kind of terrain as quail.

The strength of hunting in Florida lies in its hunting clubs and lodges. Unfortunately, the quail population has been declining since the mid 90’s, as more housing developments eat into the areas where quail like to live. Though the quail is a hearty bird, which environmentalists say will make sure they not only survive, but adapt to the changes and will flourish once more, this means that, going alone, even an experienced hunter might have to wait a long time to spot a quail.

What hunting clubs do is actually buy quails raised on farms, then release them within their property near the time hunting season begins. These hunting clubs make sure they have created the type of terrain that quail like, which keeps them from just flying off to look for other places to be. This offers new hunters a great opportunity to learn how to hunt quail, because even doing this doesn’t make it any easier for them to shoot quail. Also, these clubs make sure the grounds are fairly well maintained when it comes to having to worry about dangerous animals such as rattlesnakes and alligators, although there’s never a guarantee that one might not come upon either of those predators. And hunting clubs usually have lodges, so that the cost of hunting is all inclusive as a full vacation package plan.

Guided tours maximize the opportunities new hunters will have in at least finding quail. It takes a much sharper shooting touch to nail a quail because they’re tinier and faster than ducks. However, guides will also usually have hunting dogs trained at flushing out quail, which will give new hunters plenty of opportunities to bag a quail.

Because Florida quail hunting is so popular, lodges will quickly sell out, so it’s important to book your reservations early if you hope to get a spot. Hunting is better earlier in the season than later, since they’ve had six months to replenish the supply. If you’re looking for a new challenge, quail hunting in Florida just might bring the excitement you want.
Jun 2

Posted in: Quail Hunting | No Comments
Tags: florida quail hunting, Quail Hunting, quail hunting guide

If you’re going to go quail hunting in Florida, one of the best ways to go about it is to stay at a quail hunting lodge. Quail hunting lodges are great because they can offer an all around hunting experience, equipment, lodging, food, and often at an all-inclusive rate that won’t break the bank.

The first thing you want in a quail hunting lodge is size. Hunting lodges range anywhere from 3,000 acres to 30,000 acres of land. The larger the lodge, the more apt they are to offer hunting for more than one type of prey. Also, the cost may be more, as the license fees will also be higher.

The next thing you want to know about is how they take care of the grounds. This isn’t like taking care of a golf course; the main idea is to have the grounds set up so that the quail feel like they’re getting what they need as far as food and places to protect themselves, otherwise they might fly away to other plantations, which would be a double hit on the plantation since many of them buy extra quail for the hunting season, trying to make sure hunters will have plenty of opportunities to at least have some shots at quail.

Some other things you want to find out is how they’ll take you out, what kind of guides they have, whether they have dogs, and whether they have guns you can rent and shells you can buy. Guns and shells usually aren’t included in the all-inclusive price. You are always allowed to bring your own, but if you’re in another state, you’ll want to check the laws for transporting both guns and ammunition across state lines.

Once you’ve determined where you’re going to stay, you’re going to want to prepare yourself for the experience of quail hunting. If you’re not using your own gun, it might be a good thing to find out if your lodge has a shooting range where you can practice. Most people are surprised at the recoil of rifles as opposed to pistols, and picking up some pointers on technique wouldn’t be a bad thing, since quail are hard to hit if you’re an experienced shot.

Also, make sure the clothing you select is comfortable, yet protects your skin, since there’s the possibility you’ll be out in swamps areas, which means a lot of mosquitoes and other bugs that like to bite. Definitely make sure your shoes are not only waterproof, but strong, as you never know if you’re going to walk up on one of the many types of snakes that populate Florida.

If you’re new at hunting, make sure to stay with your guide, as they’ll probably go out with groups of at least 5 to 7 hunters at a time. They will find you the best places to hunt quail, probably help you flush them out with the dogs, but their biggest asset is that they know the land and the dangers, and they will be there to keep you safe.

Quail hunting in Florida can be a very exciting experience if you take the time to learn more about where to hunt, what to wear while hunting, and, of course, how to shoot a gun.
P-Arrow Plantation has been extensively managed for game and fish for 30 years. Its owners offer hunting and fishing for individuals or for corporate retreats. The P-Arrow is located in Livingston, Alabama, east of I-59 and I-20 halfway between Birmingham, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi.

Located on the P-Arrow is over 100 acres of lakes for largemouth bass, crappie, and bream fishing. The P-Arrow is a prime location for exciting whitetail deer hunting from shooting houses overlooking green fields or tree stands.

Hunters can ride on a Belgian Mule drawn wagon carrying English Pointers and English Setters, or ride Tennessee Walking Horses to experience covey rises of fast flying bobwhites from sedge grass covered pine hills or stream side fields of partridge peas, Egyptian wheat, and corn. We have opening day dove hunts. Private dove hunts and turkey hunts are also available.

For those who simply want an outdoor experience in the old South, nature trails and historic tours are available.

Quail Hunts
There are three types of Quail Hunts which are available. They are:

The most authentic southern style quail hunt is by Belgian Mule drawn wagon. Dixon and Luke are our 1600 pound mules that pull the dog wagon. A hunt master and Hunt scout on a horse will direct each hunt. Lunch will be provided in the field by a cook.
The other type of quail hunt we provide is a full or half day hunt using the John Deere Gator with a customized box to carry the dogs and seats on top to carry the hunters. A scout on a horse will direct the hunt along with a hunt Master.
We also provide customized quail hunts to fit your desired experience.

All of the birds are either native or early released birds. There is NO LIMIT!!!

Dove Hunts
Opening Day Hunts are available. Hunters are served an excellent BBQ Lunch!!

Turkey Hunts
You will enjoy our Spring Hunts over chufa fields and wild game sorghum. We provide our turkey hunters with a personal guide.

Deer Hunts
Guided whitetail deer hunts are available. You may hunt the wary Whitetail Buck on green fields from comfortable shooting houses or tree stands. Bow hunting is encouraged!! We also offer customized hunts.

3 bed rooms /3 baths (1) king (1) queen (1) twin and a loft with a king and a full bed and a full bathroom. Every bedroom comes with its own private bathroom.

P Arrow consists of eight lakes that comprise 110 acres stocked heavily with Northern, Florida and Hybrid large mouth bass. Additionally, different lakes have coppernose, bluegills, shellcrackers, and crappie. The largest lake on P-Arrow is horseshoe lake, which contains about 33 acres of water and has quite a bit of grass in it. For the angler who enjoys fishing rubber rats, rubber frogs, swimming worms and grass type baits, this lake can be very exciting. Another honey hole at P-Arrow, the brewer pond, is more than 65 years old and contains a native strain of large mouth bass. It is also home to shellcrackers blue gills. If a fly-fisherman likes to catch bass and bream this is the place for him to do that. Pruitt built coyote lake with the structure fisherman in mind. After seeing Ray Scott’s video on how to build a pond to produce big bass he adopted many of the ideas for Scott’s tape.

Available are guided largemouth bass and bream fishing trips in over 110 acres of lakes. Bass as large as 14 pounds have been caught. And, catches of as many as 50-75 fish a day are the norm for the P Arrow fishing experience.

A guide will accompany the fishing party. We will provide you with a boat and a guide for the length of your trip. Fishing for Bass are catch and release.

Clayton Batts – Fishing with the New Bio-Bait!

P-ARROW Plantation is truly a heaven on earth. The staff is some of the best people you will ever meet and the food is worth coming in early for. It is truly an outdoorsman’s paradise whether you come to fish or hunt; I promise that you will leave with a smile on your face. The cover is abundant from fishing trees in open water, to simply beating the banks you are guaranteed to catch fish. The fish are strong and healthy and willing to bite anything in your box. The question is not when am I going to get a bite, but how big is the fish going to be. Thanks for a great trip and hope to see yall very soon.

Clayton Batts



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20 May 2010 – 5 Jan 2011

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The De-evolution of a Hunter
Written on: 10/11/2009 18:28 by: Paleo
Click a star to rate this entry Average user rating: 5.0 (of 2 total)

As a kid there were two skills I mainly learned from my father, how to work and how to hunt. My father was in the army, I remember him talking once about the $800 he got a month and where it was to be used. Needless to say we didn’t have a lot but by hunting and raising a garden we ate pretty good.
Venison, quail, pheasant those are meats you might find in a swank restaurant but we also had plenty of squirrel, rabbit, dove and an occasional ground hog…hell I even ate a raccoon once. To me this was normal, to me the best meat you could buy from the grocery store were hamburgers and hotdogs because when we did buy a steak from the store it was a cheap cut, tough as shoe leather and laced with fat and gristle, which, by the way, my dad made us eat. You know…”Finish everything on your plate boy, there are starving people in India that don’t have as much as you.”
Hunting was different then, we’d jump in the truck drive out into the country, stop at a house and ask if we could hunt their property. Sometimes it was yes, sometimes it was no, but it was simple…straight forward. My dad would make friends that way and when he did our freezer was stocked for the year.
Deer hunting………………The first deer hunting experience I had was on Fort Hood. There’s a rod and gun club there and during the season they set up a lottery for soldiers/hunters. The soldiers arrive about 4:30 am for the morning hunts, 2:30 pm for the afternoon hunts, wait to see if they were drawn, the lucky ones are taken to a stand in a big army truck everyone else goes home. My dad took me one afternoon, we were drawn and I remember well the bumpy ride out to the area we were to hunt. We laid down behind a downed tree and waited for a deer to come out so my dad could shoot it. I wasn’t hunting, I was there to observe, I was six years old. It started getting cold and as it did my teeth started chattering, I couldn’t help it. My dad became really perturbed and pushed my down under a heavy green army canvass we were laying on and told me to be quiet.
The next several hours were miserable to me, etched in to my mind, I reckon for the rest of my life. We didn’t get a deer that day but as we stood in the dark waiting for the big army truck to pick us up we looked at the stars and talked, my dad wasn’t angry anymore and I heard for the first time a deer snort, “the warning there’s danger present”, he said. The ride back was just as bumpy, a truck loaded with cold soldiers in camo and a couple of dead deer.
And that was deer hunting to me for the next ten years, laying on the ground scanning a brush line, looking out across a field from the loft of a barn, aiming my rifle out of the second floor of an old dilapidated farm house, no matter where it was it always seemed to be cold.
Then things changed, my dad retired from the army, went to a community college on the GI Bill and started an AC business and for once we had a little money. He had a lease we could hunt and we built blinds with soft seats, sliding windows and even propane heaters. Part of it was because we had money but I think the other part was because my dad was getting older and just wanted to be comfortable.
The last year my dad hunted was the year I stopped hunting and didn’t hunt again for about ten years. It was the year after I graduated highschool, I bought into the lease and could hunt when I wanted for the first time. My dad bought the back end of a refrigerated truck and set it up as a meat processing areas complete with a bandsaw to cut steaks. The thing that made me stop hunting was that my father shot more than the legal limit that year. I won’t say how many more, it still embarrasses me. I became really perturbed, I wanted to push him down under a heavy green army canvass and tell him how disappointed I was in him. After that, what he had taught me about hunting meant next to nothing to me.
Time ticks on and after about ten years I started hunting again, rediscovering some of what I had lost. I rifle hunted a couple of times in Bandera with reps. from a wine company trying to smooze me. Took a couple of deer and pretty much stopped again unsatified with the same ol’ same ol’. A few more years went by and I was talked into trying bow hunting by a friend of mine. I’d played around with compound bows as a teenager and was really quite good though I’d never hunted with one, but this was traditional, the classic stick and string. So my de-evolution began, I had to relearn everything, not moving for an hour at a time, covering my scent , learning the subtle signs that tell you where to set up, making myself invisible in my surroundings.
I’ve been hunting a ranch by Lake Buchanan for almost a year now. Dozens of times I sat there and watched the day turn into night, sometimes sitting through the night to watch the sun come up again. In those times I’ve only taken four shots with my bow and with those four shots I’ve taken three hogs and a deer. All clean, ethical. All easy to track.
Last night I walked down one of the ranch roads, found a place where game traversed and sat back a little ways in the brush, a cool wind in my face, a lane in front to take a shot if presented. My bow sat three feet away leaning against a wild persimmon. As I sat there a hawk swooped between me and my bow, oblivious to my presence, the tip of it’s wing inches from my face. It flew out through my shooting lane and landed in a tree across the road from me. It perched there for a minute and then started back towards the opening. At the last moment it saw me, spread it’s wings stopping in mid air, changed directions and was gone.
I watched a group of deer feed ten yards in front of me, three does and a couple of yearlings. Two of the does were mature, one was huge. I could have taken her but I was waiting for a buck I’d seen in the area earlier this year. I watched them for about thirty minutes as they grazed and made their way off. Later I had three bucks come out, three I had seen with the buck I wanted. One was a four and a half year old eight point. Classic Hill Country rack, not real high, not real woody but symmetric. Another eight, not as big and a younger six. But the one I wanted wasn’t with them, probably split off by now in anticipation of the rut. As they moved into the brush the two smaller bucks started to tussle a bit then they were gone. The light faded and I walked back to camp in the dark, through the woods not bothering to turn on my light. Best hunt of the year, what hunting is to me.

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Author:ggonzales Comment Left:10/12/2009 14:12
Great journal entry and so very true how we evolve as hunters, I grown an appreciation for wildlife and the habitat they live in and have passed what I learned to my son. I don’t bow hunt, but can appreciate the skill it takes to take wild game up close with a bow, good luck with your hunting and I hope that trophy buck comes out, try using some good doe scent or rattling horns, this has paid off for me.
Author:wohalliburton Comment Left:10/12/2009 18:13
After reading your post it reminded me of how precious the time you spend in the woods can be.
Hope you get that big ‘un you’re looking for.
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Fall Hunting Season
Written on: 08/11/2009 16:25 by: ggonzales
Click a star to rate this entry Average user rating: 4.33 (of 3 total)

As a true Texan born and raised I feel extremly lucky to be living in one of the best states in all of America to enjoy the great outdoors. With the coming of the new fall hunting season I am eagerly awaiting cool weather which will host classic Dove hunts early for me. I really look foward to the begining of hunting season so I can dust off that old shotgun and sight in the trusty deer rifle in preparation of a new hunting season. I like to share my outdoor experiences with others so I have recruited my brother-in-law, son and anybody else willing to put up with me on hot september afternoons to hunt Dove. I take Dove hunting very seriously and plan my outdoor outings very carefully to ensure 100% success. I like to hunt at least two weekends in September, three in October and then start deer hunting in Novemeber. This year I plan to focus most of my hunting time in the cooler months chasing after a trophy wild boar. Last year I shot a nice buck and look foward to adding a fat pig to the tall hunting stories I like to share with others.
Already we have been hitting the coast this summer chasing after the elusive redfish and sleek speckled trout to satisfy our outdoor appetite. If I can’t be out in the mesquite brush hunting then I would rather be knee deep in shallow water heaven filled with tasty game fish. Becuase of the summer heat we prefer to do our summer fishing early in the am or late in the evening. There is nothing better the getting up early at the crack of dawn to head out on the water for some early day wade fishing or relaxing in the sunset of a great evening fishing trip. This year I was fortunate enough to put some great eating fish in the freezer to fry up at the ranch when deer hunting.
I consider myself an outdoor activist and enjoy recruiting new members to our elite society of hunters and fisherman. I am blessed to have an extended family that love the outdoors and have access to family ranch land. One of these locations is a sweet piece of South Texas located near Mathis lake loaded with whitetail deer. The best part of the deal is that I don’t have to pay costly lease fees or trophy fees, it is purely a family run hunt club. All that is required is respect of the land and a promise to lend a helping hand off season to ensure the property is kept in prime condition. If this was not good enough I am also happy to say that my father is part of a historic hunt club of aluminum workers who lease a small ranch near the famous King Ranch. Good bucks have been shot at this location for many years and the place is loaded with huge wild boar. A bonus to this classic South Texas deer lease is the amazing quail and dove hunting that can be had.
I promote hunting and fishing as a way to deal with stress and life in general with a positive activity that can influence our youth to be good stewards of the land. I absolutely enjoy taking my ten year old son hunting and fishing with me on all my outdoor adventures so I can ensure that this great outdoor tradition will be passed on to others. I hope everyones outdoor adventures are plentiful and boutyful this hunting season and would like to wish all the outdoor sportsment good luck affield this year. May you catch that big fish that had been eluding your hook and may you take that nice buck that you have been dreaming about for all those years.
P-Arrow Plantation has been extensively managed for game and fish for 30 years. Its owners offer hunting and fishing for individuals or for corporate retreats. The P-Arrow is located in Livingston, Alabama, east of I-59 and I-20 halfway between Birmingham, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi.

Located on the P-Arrow is over 100 acres of lakes for largemouth bass, crappie, and bream fishing. The P-Arrow is a prime location for exciting whitetail deer hunting from shooting houses overlooking green fields or tree stands.

Hunters can ride on a Belgian Mule drawn wagon carrying English Pointers and English Setters, or ride Tennessee Walking Horses to experience covey rises of fast flying bobwhites from sedge grass covered pine hills or stream side fields of partridge peas, Egyptian wheat, and corn. We have opening day dove hunts. Private dove hunts and turkey hunts are also available.

For those who simply want an outdoor experience in the old South, nature trails and historic tours are available.

Quail Hunts
There are three types of Quail Hunts which are available. They are:

The most authentic southern style quail hunt is by Belgian Mule drawn wagon. Dixon and Luke are our 1600 pound mules that pull the dog wagon. A hunt master and Hunt scout on a horse will direct each hunt. Lunch will be provided in the field by a cook.
The other type of quail hunt we provide is a full or half day hunt using the John Deere Gator with a customized box to carry the dogs and seats on top to carry the hunters. A scout on a horse will direct the hunt along with a hunt Master.
We also provide customized quail hunts to fit your desired experience.

All of the birds are either native or early released birds. There is NO LIMIT!!!

Dove Hunts
Opening Day Hunts are available. Hunters are served an excellent BBQ Lunch!!

Turkey Hunts
You will enjoy our Spring Hunts over chufa fields and wild game sorghum. We provide our turkey hunters with a personal guide.

Deer Hunts
Guided whitetail deer hunts are available. You may hunt the wary Whitetail Buck on green fields from comfortable shooting houses or tree stands. Bow hunting is encouraged!! We also offer customized hunts.

3 bed rooms /3 baths (1) king (1) queen (1) twin and a loft with a king and a full bed and a full bathroom. Every bedroom comes with its own private bathroom.

P Arrow consists of eight lakes that comprise 110 acres stocked heavily with Northern, Florida and Hybrid large mouth bass. Additionally, different lakes have coppernose, bluegills, shellcrackers, and crappie. The largest lake on P-Arrow is horseshoe lake, which contains about 33 acres of water and has quite a bit of grass in it. For the angler who enjoys fishing rubber rats, rubber frogs, swimming worms and grass type baits, this lake can be very exciting. Another honey hole at P-Arrow, the brewer pond, is more than 65 years old and contains a native strain of large mouth bass. It is also home to shellcrackers blue gills. If a fly-fisherman likes to catch bass and bream this is the place for him to do that. Pruitt built coyote lake with the structure fisherman in mind. After seeing Ray Scott’s video on how to build a pond to produce big bass he adopted many of the ideas for Scott’s tape.

Available are guided largemouth bass and bream fishing trips in over 110 acres of lakes. Bass as large as 14 pounds have been caught. And, catches of as many as 50-75 fish a day are the norm for the P Arrow fishing experience.

A guide will accompany the fishing party. We will provide you with a boat and a guide for the length of your trip. Fishing for Bass are catch and release.

Clayton Batts – Fishing with the New Bio-Bait!

P-ARROW Plantation is truly a heaven on earth. The staff is some of the best people you will ever meet and the food is worth coming in early for. It is truly an outdoorsman’s paradise whether you come to fish or hunt; I promise that you will leave with a smile on your face. The cover is abundant from fishing trees in open water, to simply beating the banks you are guaranteed to catch fish. The fish are strong and healthy and willing to bite anything in your box. The question is not when am I going to get a bite, but how big is the fish going to be. Thanks for a great trip and hope to see yall very soon.

Clayton Batts