Woodcock are on the increase in Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee and Wisconsin. With the exception of Maine, where populations appear to have decreased this year, they remain static elsewhere in their range. Louisiana is the largest wintering grounds of the woodcock in the U.S. and will provide excellent hunting. The overall '55 picture for this fast and sporting bird is good to excellent throughout its range.
A relative of the bobwhite, the Gambel's quail is native to the U.S. and Mexico and is found in brushy desert lands from southern Nevada and southeastern California through Arizona, western Texas and southwestern New Mexico to Mexico.
In a sporting sense, this bird falls short in relation to its cousin the bob-white in that it lies poorly to dogs and is more likely to employ its legs than its wings as a means of escape. It can easily be hunted on foot.
If succulent growth is not available it must have a free water supply within four miles of its feeding grounds. At the beginning of its season coveys are composed of family groups, but as early winter approaches they join each other, reaching 50 to 150 birds in number.
The Gambel's quail is a strong flyer but will probably run for cover when threatened. If cooked properly it has a tasty flavor and rates high on the eating list.
Gambel's quail show little change throughout their range, with the only increase in population appearing in Colorado, where it is reported that there aren't even enough quail hunters to scatter the flocks.
The low, sad cry of this bird is its chief characteristic and the reason for its name. Of all the upland game birds the mourning dove is the only one which breeds in every state. Part of the population remains on its breeding ground all year while others breed in the North and migrate as far south as Mexico in the winter.
There is little difference between male and female, both being about 11 to 13 inches in length and weighing about four ounces.