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ment, as they knew they’d soon be allowed to do what they were raised to do – find the quail and scatter them into the air. When Nic decided on a good spot he pulled over, removed two dogs from the cages and put GPS collars on them. Through the collars he can send commands to go, to heal, or even send a signal if they ventured too far away from us. Phil loaded up two Ruger red label .20 gauge shotguns and handed them to the hunters. Because it’s a dangerous sport, the guides do not allow more than two people to shoot in the field at any given time. We took turns two at a time, one standing to the left of the guide and one to the right. Ralph Allen, a writer for Florida Sportsman, is a seasoned hunter so it was no surprise that he shot down a couple of birds right away.. Phil, who has been hunting quail since he was a kid, was knocking them down left and right. My firing wasn’t so accurate as I was more worried about hurting one of the dogs than anything else. Quail are small, low-flying birds. After being startled and scattering about, the dogs tended to jump several feet in the air after them, trying to catch one with their mouths. So, I went zero for eight. After a few of hours driving around and walking through knee-to-waisthigh brush in the field, Phil said it was time to call it a day. We drove through and across several dirt roads and had the chance to see wild turkeys, whitetail deer and many different species of birds. I had to admit; I don’t think I could have found my way back to the lodge. While it was certainly beautiful land, it all looked the same in every direction. January/February • 2017 • GASPARILLA ISLAND 37 Quail season runs through March 31, but you can also schedule pheasant, alligator, trophy buck and hog hunts. Turkey season is quick to be fully booked. Prices vary on the season, type of hunt, amount of people and length of stay.


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