Quails and doves

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I have been asked many times which of my small game packages are the most interesting and worth to be done.

What can I say? All my packages are interesting and every one offer a different experience and for sure very small game hunt have his passionate supporters. Duck hunters, trush hunters or woodcock hunters all will say that their experience is the most beautiful and intense. And who am I to contradict them?

But today I want to stop a little bit over a hunt that have a special charm in my soul. I wrote this article for both future possible clients but also for those who have this wonderful birds back home and they never hunted them.

Quails and doves

Take it by itself each species has a much larger hunting period, but this combination must be done between 25 September and 5 October in order to be 100% successful. I know it is a very short interval and many of us have a crowded agenda, but believe me this hunt worth to be made in this frame of time or wait for next year.

Let me explain why… If the quails can be hunt on a large time frame and the numbers will be concentrated with electronic caller, the doves became a real game bird only when the sunflower crops are ready to be harvest or few days after that. Only then those birds leave their villages or towns and became a real wild bird. And what a wild bird… You will not shot thousands of shells like in Argentina, but you can easily burn 150-250 shells per afternoon. And if you wonder how a typical hunting day will look like, here is the schedule:

You will be wake up early in the morning, 45 minutes before the first light and serve a hot coffee or tea and a sandwich. After a short drive of 15 to 20 minutes we will reach to hunting grounds for quails. For those who never experience or saw a quail field in the morning before, try to imagine the sun rising, the smell of the late summer and the grass, nervous dogs impatient to start hunting and trill of hundreds of quails all over the field. For those who already experience that, please accept my apologies that I cannot paint a better imagine of what you saw.

But enough with the poetry. It is time for some tips.

How a ideal quails fields should look like?

First the grass in the field should be as green as possible and no more than 30-40 cm high, usually a harvested wheat field that have never been treated with pesticides.There are several plants that quails prefer but I will not bore you with all technical details… Still one plant that should not miss from the field is Setaria Glauca by his latin name, sorry I don’t know the English name, but the plant is the one in below picture. (poza este in atasament)

Now, back to the size of the quails field. I notice that the most productive size is 2,3 times size of the football field, but I have some great hunts in much larger area, like 15 times size of a football field. More important than size is that field to be surrounded in minimum 2 sides, ideal would be all 4 sides by corn or/and sunflower fields.

The quails likes to shade of those fields where is a little cooler in the hot days.
We also put big and large plastic pots with fresh water every day and believe me worth the effort.

Now at the end, the biggest secret of choosing a perfect quails field. We go few morning, early morning, weeks before the season starts and listen the quails songs. Where you will hear the highest numbers of songs, there will be the highest number of birds. Easy no?

Let’s conclude that we found some perfect fields for quails and first part of the hunt is solved. What about the last part? The doves? Where we can find them in very large numbers? They look to be everywhere in the towns and villages but in very low numbers outside those.

There are two places where you will shot doves in very big numbers.

The first and the easiest one is the silage, the big barns where the farmers store the seeds of sunflower, corn and wheat.

Unfortunately although this place is fantastic for dove shooting, it very difficult to find one far enough from the cities where you can use the guns without problems.

If you will look very careful, you will see that in the last days of August and especially first days of September, doves leave from villages and goes straight to the certain sunflower field. They will always choose the field that is almost ready to be harvest and closest to the water source. After you identify that field, all you have to do is to go next day after 2 pm and wait for doves well camouflaged inside the field. Before you leave home make sure you have enough ammunition.

In a good day you will easily fire 200 or 250 shells.

Now back to our typical day of hunting. After the morning session for quails we will go back to the hotel or lodge and have some cold beers. After the beer a short nap and a big Romanian lunch will fill the fist part of the day. At 2 or 3 pm latest we need to be in the sunflower field ready for the action.

We never hunt more than 2 days in the same spot for doves and this is what you should do it too, if you don.t have an outfitter. The hunt will end around 6.30 pm and you will have plenty of time a some stories with your friends over the dinner. Don’t stay too long in the night as the next early morning the adventure will start again.

One last piece of advice, always ask your cook at the lodge or at the hotel to prepare some of your quails and ask the staff to clean and froze your birds after every session in order to take them with you. They taste delicious and your friends will be jealous back home.

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