I’m an avid hunter who likes to go hunting any chance I go. There’s this charm and merit of being able to harvest your own food free-roam game style like our ancestors did in the past when they had to go out into the wild looking for protein sources. And should they fail at hunting, there was a term for that which was vegetarian, in other words, a bad hunter. That’s where the saying “bringing home the bacon” comes into play and how important it was back in the old days because only the successful ones got to marry and have children meaning that they got to breed as they had what it takes to be successful. Unfortunately, in today’s modern society most of the hunting is done at the supermarket and restaurants with many people, especially kids, are deluded thinking that food comes from the supermarket, not from ranches/farms, the ocean, the river, etc.
That’s why not only I go hunting for sport but for game. And I go to a place where I recommend people who starting off to go hunting. It’s what I call a “pay-to-play” place. You pay the vendor and they will set out the game animals out there for you to go hunting for. This is supposed to emulate a hunting environment so you know what to look for and how the action feels like when you go hunting for real. One of my friends had never hunted before in his life and instead of going out to hunt in a real hunting area, I took out to Quail Point Hunt Club in Zamora, California.
The process is easy as you have to call in with how many birds of what kind you want to hunt (pheasants, chukars, quail) and if you need a guide dog. You need to have a guide dog (to go find the birds; I just rent one from them) and bring your own shotgun, ammo, hunter orange vests, and motivation to go hunting. Once you arrive there, you pay the vendor and they will set the area with birds. And that’s when you get ready with your gear. I would advise telling Quail Point if you want hills or flat ground as it creates different situations and challenges. Once the area is set and everything is explained, you go off walking into the area with your dog doing his scent tracking, looking for birds. It’s pretty funny to watch the guide dog happily walk around, wagging his tail, only to stop with his tail up. That’s when the fun part comes into play.
Once you see the dog with his tail up, you should get your gun up and ready to shoot as the closer you get to the bird, it will get ready to pop out and fly away. Once the bird flies out, let the bird fly out a little bit and then shoot it. I say let it fly a little bit so you don’t do what my friend did which was shoot a pheasant at 10 feet away, blowing away a big part of the meat. Once you shoot and down the bird, the dog will happily retrieve the bird with its mouth and bring it back to you. It’s guaranteed that you’re going to be out there for several hours but you’ll have fun doing it. It’s very possible that you’re not going to shoot all the birds out there because you’re either a bad shot or the birds escaped. That’s why it’s called hunting, not shopping in the field. Out of the several times I’ve been at Quail Point, I only shot all of my birds once. 3 pheasants requested, 3 pheasants shot – just one time. Oh, and don’t shoot the dog and be very wary of where you are aiming your barrel! It’s recommended that if you’re hunting with someone have him/her crouch behind you as you get ready to shoot since birds can fly right over your head.
Once you’re done with the hunt, you go back and report back to the vendor. Once the dog is turned in, you can enjoy the spoils and depending if it’s open or not, the place has a feather plucker and can remove those feathers for ease of consumption. Otherwise you can do the de-breasting method, but it’s up to you. Cheers. Or you can eat something else like this if you’re grossed out by hunting.
Quail Point Hunt Club, generally open for hunting around October to March, check website for more details. I also advise on brushing up on your shotgun shooting skills if you’re not that good because you will miss a lot of shots and birds.