Louis DiGiovani, Arizona Quail Hunt Report
I have to say this was the best upland bird hunting I have ever experienced. To top it all off the rancher whose land we hunted on and his wife invited the entire group on the last morning for a home cooked feast of a breakfast at their ranch house. Finer people I have never met.
Bud is an honest hardworking outfitter and I cannot recommend him highly enough.
My hunt with Bud was on January 9,10, and 11, 2015. The hunt was conducted in Willcox, AZ 65 miles east of Tucson in Cochise county on a 10,000 acre private ranch for Mearns, Scaled and Gambel’s quail. I arrived in Tucson on the seventh with plans to spend a day browsing at William Larkin & Moore purveyors of fine shotguns in Scottsdale AZ. While I arrived in Tucson, my guns ended up in Phoenix. I made arrangements for them to be delivered to my hotel that night in Scottsdale only to have the airlines send them back to Tucson. Rule 1, always get trip insurance, and give yourself an extra day up front to be able to straighten these travel woes out and not interfere with your hunt.
I met Bud, along with his two master guides Lenny and Bill at the Holiday Inn Express in Willcox on January 8th where Bud put us up for the duration. There were 5 other hunters besides myself with 4 of them being repeat hunters with Bud of many years. It was fun to see these old bird hunting friends of many years reuniting and we two newcomers were immediately welcomed into their group as new “old friends” . Bud provided all our rooms and meals during the trip including breakfast, a tailgate lunch with your guide for the day as well as dinner each night at the best restaurant in town.
Each master guide took two hunters and we changed guides daily so that we all had the pleasure of hunting with each guide and his dogs. All guides had 4 dogs each and were comprised of very well trained and behaved Brittanie’s, English setters and pointers. The dog work was nothing short of excellent and it was a pleasure to watch them perform in the wide open expanse of Scaled quail territory as well as their close in cover for Mearns Quail. While walking over the three days was extensive it was on gently rolling hills with a few steep areas and for the most part not difficult. I have hunted the West in the states as well as Canada for Huns, chukars, ruffed grouse, sharp tailed grouse as well as big game and I must say this was some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen. I felt like I was in a Louis L’Amour novel which actually often described places very near to this location. We moved 5-8 coveys a day (per guide) with 15 to more than 20 birds in a covey as well as many singles so there was a lot of action each day.
Bud is an honest hardworking outfitter and I cannot recommend him highly enough. In cases of extreme drought the bird population may be significantly depleted during those years and his returning hunters said Bud rather than having them experience poor hunting actually told them not to come. They also explained that they had hunted with a number of outfitters for quail prior to Bud that made promises but did not deliver and frequent disappointments were the norm. Since they found Bud they have never had a bad experience and never looked back. My personal experience was certainly consistent with what his repeat hunters told me.