Shoot fast on chilly, windy day quail hunt at Hidden Lakes

The big rangy English pointer named Rowdy was making one of his typical sweeps 50 yards ahead of the line of hunters when he locked on to the siren scent of a covey of bobwhite quail and immediately jerked to a stop.

Every muscle in his body taught, Rowdy waited for the other two English pointers, Molly and Freckles, to circle and also come to point on the waist-high Johnson grass and milo next to the mowed strip.

As four hunters — LSON’s Craig Nyhus, Conor Harrison, Mike Hughs and Steve Schwartz, along with guide Dennis Hyde, approached the dogs, Rowdy broke his point, circled to the backside of the covey and slowly moved in again.

“These birds will run on a windy day and he always circles the covey when the other dogs move in,” Hyde said. “He knows they try and run, so he boxes them in.”

Slowly advancing on the trio of dogs, hunters and guide positioned themselves in a line before Hyde released his flushing lab, Jade, to run into the middle of the cover and make the covey rise.

Birds exploded out of the grass, two going left with the wind and another going right and into the stiff breeze.

Shotguns sang and two birds hit the ground, soon to be picked up by Jade.

“I think I shot that one,” Hughs said.

“Nope, I think that was mine,” Schwartz said with a laugh.

The competitive banter lasted the entire hunt.

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The scenario was repeated throughout the afternoon yesterday when the crew from Lone Star Outdoor News made the 90-minute drive from Dallas to Yantis near Lake Fork and the Hidden Lakes Hunting Resort.

After arriving at the lodge, a 10,400-square foot building with eight guest rooms, we were served a country lunch of chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls before meeting Hyde and heading out to one of the four main hunting fields on the property.

Hidden Lakes raises their own birds, with six flight pens and more than 14,000 bobwhite quail and pheasants on the premises.

The hunting was great and the birds flew as well as could be expected in the cold, windy conditions that saw temperatures hit the upper 30s in the afternoon.

The group ended the afternoon with 30 birds in the bag, although, at times, the shooting left a little to be desired. The wind made for some challenging shots, especially considering it was Hughs’ first quail hunt and the first hunt of any kind for Schwartz.

However, there were also some great shots made where the newbies looked liked they’d been hunting quail all their lives.

Everyone was safe, we got some great photos for upcoming issues and the guys at Hidden Lakes were a lot of fun to hunt with. The dogs were exceptional.

After a post-hunt beverage, Hyde delivered our cleaned birds and we headed back to Dallas — a little cold, tired and happy.