My reason for traveling down there was to drop off a young dog for a hunting string and to work several 7-8 month puppies on wild quail with Iowan Ryan Eichelberger who conducts quail hunts for the ranch. Ryan is one of the few (or only) dog guys down in that country who handles the hunting string from horseback while the sports follow in ranch hunting rigs. It is a class operation. Ryan and I spent some time in the late afternoon and a couple mornings (best time) getting my ignorant pups into birds mostly off foot. I was very pleased with them in general although one was confused and dazed by the south Texas brush. All learned though why they were put on this earth as there were plenty of bird contacts. One pair of pups found five coveys in thirty minutes for me when I went by myself while Ryan guided a hunt. I also discovered that one of them is likely going to be a true all age prospect. He slipped out the front with the Garmin at 1000 yards and when we ran him down with the jeep, he was just popping his tail and hunting like he didn't care. :shock: The good news is he came right to us when we called him! BTW, a thousand yards in brush country might as well be on the moon!
On Monday, we had one of Ryan's young, more experienced pups point and when we flushed, one adult bobwhite left followed by her mate and then ten chicks estimated at three weeks old flushed. They were barely beyond the "bumblebee" size if you are familiar. What folks believe has happened in South Texas this year is the first hatch of bobs have actually matured enough to be nesting themselves since rainfall has been above average. Needless to say, this kind of fecundity will produce a bunch of birds! Bobwhites down there are actually capable of nesting year round if rainfall is right.
On Friday, the adjoining Jones Ranch asked James McAllen and Ryan to come over and conduct a horseback hunt for two of the Joneses and Mr. McAllen. Hunting about 800 acres in one pasture in the morning, they found 12 coveys of birds with all of them holding well for dismounting and the shots. Many of these pastures are 20,000-50,000 acres. They hunted a short afternoon and added six more coveys in another small section of the same pasture.
It was a nice break to get down to the Rio Grande Valley and to see this historical property with many near 150-200 year old buildings remaining plus of course nice lodges and accommodations for overnight guests.