Mountain Quail
mquail1.jpgFound in the western portions of the US, these birds have a single-spiked plume popping out of the top of their heads and black and white barred feathers on their sides.

Closely related to the California, Gambel and scaled quail, mountain quail grow to a foot in length and weigh about 10 oz. when fully grown. They are among the hardest birds to hunt due to their inhospitable, sometimes impossible-to-hunt terrain.

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mquail2.jpgThey call altitudes of up to 10,000 feet home, with the higher altitudes containing some coniferous trees and small shrubs and the lower ones containing much fewer trees and more small shrubs. They feed on berries, fruits, grasses and insects and can often be found by streams or tiny pools since water is so much scarcer up in the mountains.
 
Despite how difficult it is to hunt them, they're still extremely easily spooked, and like the California quail they like to run instead of fly. When they do flush it's often well out of range, but a high power, size 6 or 7 ½ shot in a 12 or 20-gauge shotgun may help end their flight earlier than expected.
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