every time I look for them I find them," I said. "My wife and I saw
about 50 on a hike yesterday afternoon."
They're here." "One more time now. You're saying that if we came up
there, we could both maybe get us two mature birds? We'd pay you for it,
want any pay. I'd do it as a favor."
"I never met
a serious bird hunter I couldn't get along with," I said. "You could
probably get them."
After five or 10
more minutes, Kimbrough seemed almost convinced. I answered his mountain-quail
questions as best I could. I told him the hard parts—about how the birds run
uphill faster than any human can follow, about how they sometimes sit in tight,
impenetrable cover, impossible to flush out no matter how many yelping dogs
circle their thicket or berry patch, no matter how many sticks and stones you
toss into the tangled branches. I also told him I knew of a few places where,
with luck, it was possible to flush the coveys and break them up, after which
the singles sat tightly to a good, staunch pointing dog. Even then it was a lot
of work to get them, though, because mountain quail always live in steep, rough
country. Just to get there, you have to be willing to work. It's assuredly no
sport for the folksy bourbon drinkers of Southern quail-hunting lore.
"I think we
might be in good enough shape," Kimbrough said. "We want them bad. But
the thing is, are you serious about all this? We've been lied to a
"I never saw
a picture of a mountain quail before I read your article, and I've never talked
to anybody who actually hunts them. Who actually gets them? The closest I came
was in northern California. We heard about a rancher there who shot one with a
deer rifle once."