The boys and I spent the week driving the back roads and hiking the foothills of Patagonia searching for California Quail. These birds were introduced in Chile over 100 years ago and found their way into Patagonian Argentina where the climate, topography and farming create a perfect habitat.
What we found were coveys from 6 to 125 birds in size. In our area of the world the quail tend to stay close to water sources and a tree called "Maiten". These trees produced a little red seed that the quail can't seem to resist. The Patagonian steppe is ideal habitat for California quail which have multiplied into the tens of thousands. These days it's a rare occasion to drive in our area without seeing at least a covey or two near the road.
In the coming weeks our first quail guests will arrive to inaugurate our new program. We have located several dozen coveys on 6 different private estancias covering several thousand acres. Perhaps the most surprising yet fortunate aspect of quail hunting in our area is that almost nobody hunts them. The typical Argentine isn't an avid hunter and their isn't one single commercial hunting program within a 6 hour drive. In fact, I know of only one other commercial quail hunting program in the entire country. Now THAT is exclusivity. I suspect that others will follow our lead over the next several years. In the mean time we plan to enjoy hunting alone without competition.
Today, our youngest English Pointers managed to sniff out several coveys and pointed very well and steady. Our U.S. bred and trained Elhew Pointers have taken to our "Andean Quail" without missing a beat. These incredible dogs are a pleasure to watch and to hunt over.
Your comments and questions are always welcome.