Quail are Fun to Shoot But 300 Live Quail are Smelly in a RAV4.

About 13 years ago I purchased a nice little Brittany and named him Happy and I trained him to hunt. Over time, and because he was a great dog and not because I was a good trainer he became and incredible bird dog, he could find the birds, freeze on point and when the bird was put up and shot he was a great retriever. I used him on quail, pheasant, dove and a little partridge and chucker.

Any way I became a member of a dog training group that had a lease North of Dallas right outside of Anna TX. There were over 60 acres with a few facilities and part of our setup was a Johnny House where we would keep several hundred live quail to place and train our dogs. My dog Happy loved going out there and and we got within a few miles of the turn off from 75 he would start going birdy and twitch and wiggle and he was eager to hunt. Happy and I spent a lot of fun hours working birds and just having a great time.

Now after I closed my business 2005, it was February 2006, I had some time on my hands and our supply of quail had been used up and the Texas quail raisers had run out of birds. We located a supply of quail with a breeder outside of Oklahoma City and I opened my big mouth and volunteered to run up from Dallas and back in one day to pick up new supply of quail.

Quail are transported in lidded plastic crates that are about six inches high by 18 inches by 24 inches made out of that milk carton stuff so they can be hosed off and cleaned up real well. I had four of those crates in the back of my RAV4 and thought I would have an enjoyable run up I-35, less than three hours drive each way. No problem at all since I had made that trip many times before.

Well I did fine reaching the breeder’s place a little before noon it took a little over an hour to get all the quail packed up and ready for their trip to the lease about a two and a half hour drive. Since the weather was mild, in the 50’s and I was close to Oklahoma City I called my older brother and met him for a hamburger before I had back South.

My first clue that I might have a problem was when I got back in my RAV4 after lunch and the oder of my 300 little passengers had intensified. Quail are part of the chicken family of birds and if you have ever been in a chicken house that needed to be cleaned multiply that by 3 or 4. No problem I thought, I would just hit the road and get the outside air coming in through the AC and blow the smell right on out.

Well, seems that was not gonna happen and by the time I hit Ardmore I was starting to gasp for air so I tried rolling the windows down but at 70 mph that just stirred up more odor plus it starting blowing feathers everywhere and I think the road noise caused every one of my avian friends to crap, a whole lot more, so I rolled the windows up and put a jacket on and turned the AC on full blast.

I reached Denton and stopped for a breath of fresh air and then sucked it up and got back in and headed East on the highway towards Anna and I think every five minutes of that last 45 minutes the smell doubled in strength. I was nauseous from the noxious aroma of massive quail crap and turning off of the pavement on to the dirt road leading into the lease i had every window open and I was grateful that I was alive could still breathe.

I opened the Johnny house door and released my little passengers into their new home and they seem very happy have more room to run around. In the meantime I did some walking, with my face into the wind like I was trained to do in the Army when we went through the tear gas drill and I slowly regained some clean air and oxygen in my lungs. Once more I was reminded that no good deed goes unpunished, never volunteer and don’t get yourself into a situation where you are not knowledgeable and now I understood why most real hunters drive pickup trucks.

Part of my lesson was a repeat from the mid 90’s when I had to haul two field dressed deer out in my RAV4 to the processor and thought Larry’s grandson was going to puke from the smell of dead deer. Now I have my pickup truck and I am looking forward to the 2014 hunting season and hope I get to haul some more game. I also lost my late, great dog Happy in 2011 when passed away, he was a damn good dog.images

About the Author

Joe McElyea
I am an original member and founder of the esteemed High Plains Shooting and Dining Society which is dedicated to fellowship of bird hunters and shooters who also enjoy finding great local places to eat large, unhealthy portions of breaded and fried meats and gravies washed down with the appropriate libations. I am also a retired old man who enjoys fishing, shooting and my wonderful family.

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