Sunday, August 02, 2009
Quail Hunters Return Victorious!
Ok, here's how the hunt went down. We went down to put the ducks and geese away tonight, taking the dogs since they have been cooped up for two days now. It was a pleasant evening after a very rainy day. We had noticed that a quail had somehow escaped from their cage yesterday and was hanging out underneath the others. The thing about quail, I guess, that makes them fun to hunt is that they are elusive, and our efforts to catch it with a net demonstrated that. The quail did fly up and away and into the hoophouse, so we tracked it among the tomato plants. The sort-of hero of this hunt was Bullet. Mr. Smeems gets some credit for flushing the quail towards his brother, but it was Bullet who caught the quail in a tomato path. He didn't have it for long and listened very well when I told him to drop it. Good dog, Bullet! I thought it might be just fine, as it did not seem to have any obvious injuries. However, once the bird was put back in the cage, it rather quickly died. Bad dog, Bullet? While this hunt began as a rescue operation, since the quails are not safe outside the cage (they could be attacked by dogs!), it immediately became a dinner opportunity. "We could have him for dinner," Mara pointed out. The hunting party became triumphant. A few of our quails have died along the way but none in a way that allowed us to eat them. This was a great chance for us to finally try one of our birds. We have been caring for over 200 birds for the past couple of months and this is the first one we can eat! Suddenly, our usual trip down to the farm in the evening became a successful forage for food. The dogs, thrilled at the catch, had a great 35 minute outing, barking at some pigs and rolling on a dead snake to complete the experience. We got home, scalded, plucked and cleaned the quail, butterflied it and grilled it along side our fish. For dinner tonight: seared tuna and quail on an arugula salad with fried capers and lemon peel dressing. Delicious! This outing proved 2 things - the first: our dogs are quite agile hunters! The second: We have dozens of 5 ounce (dressed) quail ready to harvest!