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franklin county times

Trip to Pollard Quail Farm provides excitement and memories

By Staff
Mike Giles / outdoors writer
March 22, 2002
During the early 1970's I made quite a few quail hunts with my grandfather Nolen. Back in those days there was still a viable wild quail population in Mississippi. During and after our jaunts he would tell me of hunts during his younger years when one could literally hunt all day and find covey after covey.
As modern day agricultural practices changed and the old family farms disappeared, so did most of the wild quail population. For the most part, the quail coveys dwindled to numbers too low to hunt successfully.
In recent years the demand for quail hunting has shifted dramatically with an increased emphasis on quail hunting farms and preserves. After reading an article about quail hunting at Pollard Quail Farm by publisher Paul Barrett in this newspaper, Joe Giles decided to try it. Following quite a long time of coaxing and talking about going quail hunting, Giles finally got this writer to agree to a trip.
After setting up the hunt with Russell Pollard, my brothers Joe and Mark, along with nephew Justin Giles and myself, finally made a trip up to Mathiston for a hunt. Quail preserves have a long season running from October 1st through April 30th, providing hunters with an extended chance to be in the woods after most traditional seasons have closed.
The hunt
Although most of us will never experience the old time glory days of quail hunting, preserves such as the Pollard Quail Farm give everyone a
chance to get a taste of quail hunting. Arriving at the field, Russell Pollard quickly released 3 of his best bird dogs. Shortly thereafter they were locked up on point. And what a beautiful sight it was! As Pollard slowly eased toward the dogs a lone quail suddenly burst forth and sped directly my way. In an instant I shouldered the old Remington Wingmaster and fired and our first bird was history.
Ten-year-old Justin Giles has become pretty proficient with a gun as evidenced by his many deer and squirrel kills. However, Justin had never shot a fast moving blur that is called the bobwhite quail. With 4 hunters and 3 bird dogs, one never knew which way the birds were going to fly. More often than not, they would fly directly at one of the hunters. Sometimes the birds would fly in and around shrubs, trees and all manner of obstacles.
Shooting a deer standing still in a food plot or a squirrel from a limb just doesn't compare to wing shooting a frantic quail. After quite a few misses with his trusty Remington 20 gauge, Justin finally got the hang of it. As he approached the dogs, two quail flushed and he picked out the nearest one and lowered the boom. What a time of celebration it was! He had experienced the thrill of his first wing shot kill, along with his dad Joe and uncles Mark and Mike.
After downing his first bird, Justin followed up with several more kills. As the day progressed we all took turns shooting, with an occasional hit and a lot of misses as well! When coveys flushed, there were always a few birds that got away. If a bird was missed it might fly 150-200 yards. What a thing of beauty it was to watch the dogs hunt the errant singles and lock up tight on point when they had
found them.
After about 4 hours of non-stop excitement, our day had come to an end. It had truly been a wonderful experience, literally a day of making memories. We had experienced a taste of quail hunting and had harvested quite a few for the supper table. If you want to make some quail shooting memories of your own, contact Russell or Linda Pollard at (662) 263-4881, (662) 263-5408 or online at www.pollardquail.com. You'll be glad you did I guarantee!

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