If you are a quail hunter, there is a tendency to name all of our coveys of quail after a significant landscape or man made feature that corresponds to where, over time, we usually find the birds. However, we only found “The County Road Covey” once.
James Walton and I were heading to another likely quail spot and slowly cruising along a county road in south Georgia, cruising in his “Quailmobile”, a, 1979, 280Z with a matching 3 dog trailer. We’d even cruised to Arizona in it! What a blast and how many funny looks did we get during the, almost 3,000 mile round trip? However, this time we were looking for a sign that would locate our next hunt for us.
Driving slowly along, ahead of us, we both noticed what kinda’ looked like a sloppily, coiled snake. As we got closer, we stopped and it was, of all things, a covey of quail, coveyed up or roosting, in the middle of the road! For both of us, this was a new one, this was a first, this was something we’d probably never see again, so we stopped the Z and sat there stunned!
Getting out of the car, walking within 20 feet of the covey and looking closely at the birds, they were roosting, probably a midday snooze prior to their afternoon of foraging. But here came the alarm call and they exploded off the road, flew about 200 yards, then lit, along a fencerow behind a farmhouse.
Without our guns, we walked up and knocked on the door of the house. We explained what had happened and inquired, successfully, if we could go after the birds. The farmer thought this was one of the funniest stories he had ever heard, and followed us after the quail.
Good dog work by Rooster and Crystal, James’s German shorthair, helped us to bag 4 birds and as we, dogs, farmer and hunters, walked back towards the farmhouse, I began to notice some big, doodle bug looking holes in the mushy ground. Then, tweep, tweep, flutter, flutter and a strange bird got airborne in front of us. “Shoot him, that’s a woodcock,” cried the farmer as James and I fumbled with our guns and missed our first two shots. Then as the bird reached it’s best flight attitude and altitude instead of flying away, it circled us once and we missed our second shots too!
This event getting our attention we hunted back to the farmhouse, but with no results. The farmer told us how to get to the land we were looking for. We scored on some more quail, but didn’t see another woodcock, until almost one year to the day later.