Quail hunting is not a pastime that normally attracts a lot of attention, although it has a popular following in many parts of America and Europe. Also known as one part of upland hunting, quail hunting involves the use of shotguns to bring down the bird.
Quails are normally medium sized birds from the same family as pheasants, and are prized by hunters. In a typical situation dogs are used, either to make the birds leave their heavy cover, or to retrieve birds that have been hit by pellets. Quail hunting will therefore involve an open space, alongside the heavy cover. It is the open area that hunters will stand waiting for the quails to try and make their escape.
There are a number of states that actually get a large financial boost from quail hunting, states like South Dakota, as well as many rural areas of the United Kingdom. All of this though generally goes unnoticed, and unpublicized.
The sport hit the headlines in 2006 when Dick Cheney, the U.S. Vice-President shot a Texas attorney when they were both out hunting quail. In February 2006, Cheney and Harry Whittington were at a ranch in Texas in order to take part in some hunting. A period of upland hunting has already taken place as the day made its way into the evening. The group of hunters was looking for a bird that had been downed already. As the search was being undertaken, another bird flew from cover, and Cheney took a shot. Whittington was hit by a couple of hundred pellets from the shot.
There are many rules that should be followed during organized quail hunting, not least of which that it is always the shooter’s responsibility to ensure that it is safe to shoot. Other rules, like no alcohol during the shoot and the wearing of orange safety gear, are also normally strictly followed. The most important rule, however, is to make sure that it is safe before shooting. In the Cheney incident this obviously wasn’t followed.
Quail hunting may not be to everyone’s liking, but it is a popular hobby for many people. This popularity is especially widespread in America although there are strong hunting areas in the United Kingdom and other areas of Europe as well. Although in these latter two areas the anti-hunting lobby has had an impact in the number of people taking part in the hunt.