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I'm new to the PNW and live on property that is infested with quail. I've been considering harvesting a few. Figured I might as well save them from all the predators around. I have a 20g full choke single shot, and a 12g with full, modified, and improved chokes (I think, been a long time since I dug them out and looked). Assuming I use 8 shot, how much risk do I run of damaging the breast if I shoot one under ten yards? Is it legal to shoot them on the ground or do they have to be flying? Do you shoot them with a full bead or just try to clip them with the edge of the pattern? Thanks in advance.
 
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It's considered unsportsmanlike to ground sluice them, but AFAIK it's not illegal.
And if all you're after is the meat,...

But breaking up the covey and making an afternoon of trying to fill a limit of the li'l buggers makes for a fun outing for man and dog when you're taking them on the wing.
And you'll become a better shooter if you do it that way too.

My favorite quail gun was an Ithaca Featherlight in 20ga, with a modified choke, loaded with 2ea 2-3/4" 7-1/2 game loads followed by a Load of #6 in case I had to reach a little further on the last shot.

Don't go for heavy loads of shot, go for lighter loads that provide higher velocities. Quail aren't exactly hard to kill, and you're almost always shooting at their back, so not many breasts get shot up.
Trying to hit them in close when they're on the wing is almost always a miss. I always liked letting them get out a li'l farther than 10 yds, making their trajectory and speed more predictable, and increasing my odds of a hit.
 
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Thanks, great info. I was planning on using 7 1/2 or 8 shot, and figured I would use the 20g over the 12. I don't have a dog. The main reason I ask about shooting them on the ground is because they rarely fly away from me. There are briers and brush everywhere, and they rarely stray very far from cover. That's also why I asked about the closer distance. I often pop around a brier patch or fence line and they're all over the place within 5 or 10 yards and then just scamper on the ground for the nearest cover.
 

ZigZagZeke

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It's not illegal to shoot them on the ground, but it's unsportsman-like conduct. I'd use the 20 ga with #8 shot. It's lighter and quicker. They are running from you because you don't have a dog with you. Try to find a partner who has a good bird dog. If you can purposely catch them with the edge of your pattern you are the best shotgun shooter I've ever heard of. :) Most of the time I have hard time catching them with the full pattern, and I'm no slouch.
 

Joe13

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If your eating them then I'm not one to care about sportsmen like conduct.

Hell, people use tree stands to hunt big game - not much sport in that imo.

I'd use the widest choke (or Rifled) you can and get as many off one shot as you can at 10 yards.

You can unload the 12ga rounds and take some powder out like a low recoil shell but with smaller shot and then you could use your 12ga.
 

Alexx1401

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Thanks, great info. I was planning on using 7 1/2 or 8 shot, and figured I would use the 20g over the 12. I don't have a dog. The main reason I ask about shooting them on the ground is because they rarely fly away from me. There are briers and brush everywhere, and they rarely stray very far from cover. That's also why I asked about the closer distance. I often pop around a brier patch or fence line and they're all over the place within 5 or 10 yards and then just scamper on the ground for the nearest cover.

When I lived in the SW I LOVED hunting these things. There they were always in heavy brush, rarely flew. When they would flush they would go right at brush line and hit the ground. You got one quick shot. I used a 12 with a choke cut off. Light upland loads. I found when young that any choke meant either a miss (often) or a dead kill. Too many misses though. Often only shot you got was on the ground as they ran. Damn they were fun and good eating though. It was great time out hiking around after them too. Really miss it.
 
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I hunt everything with a 12 gauge, it is the most versatile of all the shotgun sizes. Quail with trap and skeet low power loads 7 1/2 or 8 shot and the most open choke you have. I find joe 13’s comment curious, you have to eat them if they are killed while hunting. It is also the ethical thing to do. Quail are great fun and often overlooked here in the northwest for things like pheasants and waterfowl. If you are meat hunting, it is cheeper to buy a dead chicken but for pure fun and enjoyment in the outdoors they are tough to beat. Good luck and have fun.
 

Alexx1401

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I hunt everything with a 12 gauge, it is the most versatile of all the shotgun sizes. Quail with trap and skeet low power loads 7 1/2 or 8 shot and the most open choke you have. I find joe 13’s comment curious, you have to eat them if they are killed while hunting. It is also the ethical thing to do. Quail are great fun and often overlooked here in the northwest for things like pheasants and waterfowl. If you are meat hunting, it is cheeper to buy a dead chicken but for pure fun and enjoyment in the outdoors they are tough to beat. Good luck and have fun.

I don't hunt any more but when I did I only liked being able to get out and move. Tried duck one time. Sitting in a blind for hours was torture to me. Same with Deer. If I had to sit and wait no way. Fishing was great fun if I could catch something. I was never one for hours at it to get maybe one. This is why I loved the Quail hunts. It got me out and about and a lot of action. That I loved the meat was just a plus. In the off season there we used to often go after Jackrabbit. Few of us would meet set a time for the meet back. Then head out. We all put in a 10 spot, heaviest rabbit won the pot and of course then had to buy first round when we all got back to town. Coyotes would clean up the dead. It got me out and about, there was no end to the game, and it kept me sharp. Miss those hunts.
 
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I believe Winchester has a Quail load called "Spreader T". It has a plastic appliance inside the shot to help spread the pattern. At 10 to 15 yards that may help. If It were me I'd be shooting the 12 ga with the least choke I could get.

I have shot them with a 24" slug barrel. [smooth bore, no choke]. It worked really well in the deep brush. Good Luck! DR

I was wrong. It was not Win, but these guys!

<broken link removed>
 
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Thanks for all of the info.

Patterned my 20g with 7 1/2 shot, 2 3/4 inch. Looks like 5 yards is too close, 10 is good. Do you all think the kill power is still there at 20? This is a single shot, so a follow up shot would take a few seconds, and I don't want to have to fire up the brush cutter to go in after one that doesn't die fast enough.

5 yards
1025171441.jpg

10 yards
1025171441a.jpg

20 yards. Some of the pattern is off the paper. Standard 8.5x11 sheet.
1025171441b.jpg
 
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Do you have a safe backstop or room to shoot farther? Aka no dropping wads in the neighbors bbq? If so, go full upland and get a good dog. Not much worse than dropping a bird you can't get to. The pleasure of your dog bringing a bird back to you you thought was lost is only known to those that have experienced it. What you are getting into my friend is the begining of an addiction.
10 yards is pretty damn close. If you can, back up a bit. Maybe try a 410 with 2 1/2" 7 1/2 shot. Another gun never hurts. Just me.
 
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Do you have a safe backstop or room to shoot farther? Aka no dropping wads in the neighbors bbq? If so, go full upland and get a good dog. Not much worse than dropping a bird you can't get to. The pleasure of your dog bringing a bird back to you you thought was lost is only known to those that have experienced it. What you are getting into my friend is the begining of an addiction.
10 yards is pretty damn close. If you can, back up a bit. Maybe try a 410 with 2 1/2" 7 1/2 shot. Another gun never hurts. Just me.

Yeah, been thinking about a 410. The lady is allergic to dogs. Not like runny eyes allergic, but airways closing up even while on steroids and inhalers and passing out on the bathroom floor allergic.
 

DeanMk

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I'm new to the PNW and live on property that is infested with quail. I've been considering harvesting a few. Figured I might as well save them from all the predators around. I have a 20g full choke single shot, and a 12g with full, modified, and improved chokes (I think, been a long time since I dug them out and looked). Assuming I use 8 shot, how much risk do I run of damaging the breast if I shoot one under ten yards? Is it legal to shoot them on the ground or do they have to be flying? Do you shoot them with a full bead or just try to clip them with the edge of the pattern? Thanks in advance.
under 10 yards? That's pretty close.
I'd say the improved choke would be the choice.
It's going to still be fairly tight, but less so than the other choices.
Check local laws make sure you're legal first, though.

Dean
 

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