Quail used to be a popular game bird for hunters. They were around in good enough numbers throughout the 70s to make for some good hunting memories, but due to a number of factors, the wild quail population took a sharp decline that it’s never recovered from, despite some pretty strong efforts on the parts of landowners and many agencies like the NWTF, Quail Forever, and the National Bobwhite Quail Initiative.
But quail hunting is still possible in the Carolinas, and is one of the more rewarding shotgun hunting activities for everything from watching the dogs work together to feeling your heartbeat race when that first covey of quail explodes at your feet, surprising you so much that you don’t even get a shot off.
You’ll probably find no one in either state that hauls their dogs and shotgun out to their granddad’s farm to hunt from covey to covey, but you’ll find a number of plantations across both states that offer quail hunts.
One of the Carolinas’ premier quail hunting locales is Blackwater Hunting Services in Ulmer, which is part of the Palmetto State’s lowcountry. Quail hunting is not the only game at Blackwater, but it’s one of their most sought after hunts among their clientele. Anyone can toss out a few dozen quail before daylight and walk hunters through the area after breakfast, jumping doubles and triples along the way, but quail hunting done right is much more than that. And at Blackwater, they do it right.
Terry Hiers is the owner and manager of Blackwater, and his thorough understanding of every aspect of hunting is what keeps hunters coming back. Having worked as a hunting guide, assistant manager, and manager of a number of different commercial hunting outfitters over the past 30 years has provided him the experience it takes to run a top-shelf operation.
Blackwater also offers exceptional deer hunting, hog hunting, and turkey hunting, and for a lowcountry hunting experience you won’t forget, and likely won’t have the opportunity to take at many other places, try their hog/quail combo hunt, which puts you in a stand to hunt hogs in the afternoon, followed by a good night’s sleep in the plantation’s cushy lodge, and a quail hunt the next morning.
Quail season doesn’t begin until Nov. 15, but now is the time to book your hunt. Blackwater has a very strict policy of not overbooking. This keeps the hunting pressure off the game animals, which keeps them from modifying their travel routes and other behavior patterns. All this adds up to better hunting for you, but it also means you need to schedule your hunts before they’re all booked up.
Click here to visit Blackwater’s website to read more about their hunting opportunities, their lodging, and to make your hunting reservations.