How to Hunt Scaled Quail

How to Hunt Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail are found in the arid regions of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and central Mexico. Prefers open areas of dry grassland with mixed cactus and shrubbery.

Pale gray overall, with a distinctive scaled pattern on the neck, chest and underside.  This species lacks a plume but does have a crest that resembles a tuft of cotton, hence the commonly used nickname.

Breeding occurs from April through September, depending on location, two broods are often produced in a single season.  The female lays 9-16 eggs.

Scaled Quail Diet
Feeds on insects, seeds from mesquite and ragweed, and also agricultural grains such as sunflower, sorghum, and corn.

Scientific Name
Callipepla Squamata 

Scalie, cottontop quail, blue quail

Western quail inhabit some nasty, thorny country. On top: This scaled quail hunter, Karl Malcolm, shows off a thorn in his arm. On bottom: He also has to remove one from his dog.

Hunting Methods
Populations of scaled quail are subject to rainfall, with a series of dry years being devastating to the birds. Typically, look for the birds in the vicinity of water, which they will visit daily. If you see fresh tracks but no birds near water sources, hunt the surrounding cover. Scaled quail will travel long distances when stressed, but are usually homebodies that can be located with methodical searching once you find the general area where they are hanging out.

Often, the birds will find overhead shelter by tucking themselves beneath cacti, yucca plants, or even old farm equipment or other debris left by humans. They are runners, and sometimes seem almost unable to fly. Many hunters prefer to use wide-ranging breeds of pointing dogs, which have a chance of running these birds down.

A truly talented dog might turn the birds and herd them back in your direction, but that’s asking a lot of a dog. Another way to deal with running scaled quail is to place other hunters along routes that might be used by fleeing quail. Often, they will flush when they encounter an unexpected “stander.”


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