Evidence of their skill at eluding hunters was sharp in the running-quail footprints stamped in ice and snow before the melt. But the most humiliating experience was a covey of more than 20 birds that ran ahead for a half-mile, crossed a road and flushed behind the sign that said "Leased Land."
To make things worse, the runaway quail hunkered in safety and whistled their two-note, come-back call at the hunters.
We will come back, we decided. Maybe earlier some season, but maybe not in mid-November, when Wilson says the weather can be too hot for dogs. Oklahoma's quail season opened Nov. 13 and closes Feb. 15. Its five-day nonresident hunting license is a bargain at $42.50, although it is not valid for pheasant, deer or turkey. A season license costs $137.
Despite the slow pace of late-season hunting, our group found a few birds, enjoyed some stylish points and bagged, well, our share. The stroll through trees and shrubs frozen in crystal was magical. (The good news from Wilson is that the ice storm didn't hurt the coveys terribly).
More, there was the gratification that comes from tromping around in native brush, hailing other hunters who are driven by the age-old quail culture and by their love of pointing dogs at work.