We know how it is, don’t we? January grinds to a chilly close, duck season, such as it was this year, comes to an end and we clean our shotguns, albeit reluctantly, because we didn’t get enough wing shooting to suit our tastes.
Enter Rusty Cook to the rescue. Cook, who lives just outside Bastrop, lent an ear to a friend who had a successful pen raised quail operation going. He decided to take the plunge and is in his second season of offering quail hunts on his property in Morehouse Parish.
“I’ve always loved to quail hunt but as you know, hunting for wild birds here in Louisiana has just about ended because of the decline in the quail population. I decided to give what my friend had going a try and set things up to start my first season last year. I was pleased with the success I had a year ago and we’re going full swing now on year two. My operation has caught on very well. In fact, I hosted seven hunts last week on my place,” said Cook.
Cook purchases Georgia Giant quail eggs from an operation in Georgia, hatches and raises the young quail himself.
“The Georgia Giants are big birds that when mature will weigh about a pound each. I have three flight pens and now have about 2500 quail getting ready to be hunted,” Cook continued.
I can remember a couple of decades ago when north Louisiana actually had wild quail to hunt. There is nothing much more prone to give hunters a coronary than to walk in behind a dog frozen on point and have a covey explode underfoot.
I have also hunted pen raised birds a few times in the past and in most cases, the birds fly the same as wild birds. Occasionally, a bird or two will flush wild or be reluctant to fly in the same manner as wild birds. Cook says his birds just about all act like quail raised in the wild and the wing shooting can be quite challenging.
“I have three dogs I use on our hunts, two are pointers and I also have a Brittany. I hunt the pointers as a team and the Brittany separate from the pointers.
“The area we hunt is quite suitable for good quail hunting. One 70 acre field is planted in milo and I have another field that is more like natural quail habitat, woods and fence rows,” Cook said.
A website has been set up by Cook for his operation, www.bayoubirdhunts.com. In offering enticement for hunters to give Cook’s operation a try, the site gives the details.
“Bayou Bird Hunts offers quality half day quail hunts in open field and wood-line setting during the Louisiana pen-raised bird season which runs from October to April each year. We are entering our second season and will have plenty of birds and plenty of fun opportunities.”
Cook’s operation is located at 2898 Bonner Ferry Road just north of Bastrop on the way to Bussey Brake Reservoir. For hunters traveling from other areas, hotel accommodations and several good restaurants are located just a few miles away.
Cost for a half-day of hunting is $125 per hunter with a maximum of three hunters in each party. Hunters may bag up to 10 birds each per hunt. Hunters supply their own shotguns and ammunition and cleaning of birds is also available for a small additional charge.
“We also want our hunters to know that we offer quality dove hunting in season and we are already booking for 2015-16 dove hunts as well,” said Cook.
To contact Cook to talk quail hunting or book a quail or dove hunt, visit his website or call him at 318/669-2333 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Glynn Harris Outdoor column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn in Minden