ARTICLE: Warner Snell on Game BirdsBill, thanks for contacting Gun Dog Supply again. We appreciate your business.
I apologize but our catalog description on the call-back pen is in error (now fixed) in that this manufacturer does not provide the "instructions and suggestions". Our previous supplier of this item did so several years ago and somehow we failed to delete that in the current description.
Fortunately, most pointing dog training books include information about using call-back pens. As I recall, Delmar
Smith's and Paul Long's books both provide good information on the use of
Keeping healthy pen-raised quail is pretty tricky. Sanitation is very important as is adequate nutrition, feeding and watering space, temperature and protection from the elements and predators. Whoever you buy your quail from should be able to advise
You might also want to buy some quail feed from them as it is usually only
available in large bags at the feed stores.
On using the call-back pen, the main point is to always be sure and leave at
least one quail in the call-back pen, to call the others back.
Another point is
to not flush the birds more than once-especially to start with. If you flush
them too far away from the pen, they might not make it back. In fact, I wouldn't
flush them at all the first couple of times. I'd just release some close by and
let them learn to re-call before working dogs on them.
I prefer to have food and water in the re-call pen and I sometimes place a piece of plywood on the top of the pen to protect the call-bird and any re-called birds from the sun during warm
Also, I suggest that when you do start working dogs on the birds that
you stop at least 30 minutes before dark to give the birds time to recall.
If possible, I would pick up the re-call pen and place it "inside"--away from predators--at night. Ideally, you would have a larger cage in which to keep the quail so that they can exercise more when not in use. If not, I would release and recall them often to help keep them strong.
On the breaking scents, my own view is that they should be used as "insurance" in areas where deer are plentiful because it only takes one chase to lose a dog on deer.
Please let us know if we may be of further assistance.
My dogs are trained and hunted on wild quail these days so I am not current
on releasing pen-raised quail. Most systems I know of ,however, are based
upon providing food and water and a "protected" stationary call bird (or
call birds or call bird tape recording) at the site to help the released
birds find their way back to feed and water.
There is a relatively new system called the Anchor Covey Release System
(or something to that effect) that is advertised in the AMERICAN FIELD from
time to time and they have a web site on the Internet but I don't know the
address off hand.
I don't know of a book that has a good set of plans (Delmar Smith's and
Paul Long's books have pictures) but most trainers were using "johnny
house" pens to release and recall pen-raised quail the last time I checked.
I don't know if they are still available but there used to be some
"Johnny House" kits advertised in the AMERICAN FIELD.
I can't remember his name (Jack Sanford or Stanford perhaps) but he used to
be the Missouri Dept. of Conservation's Quail Biologist and he reportedly
had some success in releasing quail on his own property and some trainers
release "coveys" regularly for training purposes but most everything I have
read over the years showed that most release efforts of pen-raised quail
have been unsuccessful in so far as establishing or re-building native
Bobwhite quail populations.
Predation, it appears, is a much larger factor in limiting wild quail
populations than biologists had thought prior to the last year or two and
predation , it appears, would be an even larger factor with released quail.
Send me your regular mailing address and I will see if I can dig up some of
the information for you when I get a little time.
Gun Dog Supply