Words and pictures fail to describe the beauty of the Arizona desert at sunrise. My buddy, Travis, and I arrived while it was still dark to one of our usually productive quail spots. This year has been a difficult year for the quail coveys with a drastic lack of water, but we have been successful in bagging a few birds each time we head out. The morning started out on a bad note when, as we were gearing up and drinking the last of the coffee, a large pickup truck passed and could be heard parking just a 100 yards down the wash that we were getting ready to hunt. Apparently, “our” spot is not as hush-hush as we have hoped. So instead of hunting the wash and the adjacent hillside, we headed off at an angle that would take us away from the other hunters. The brisk 45 degrees quickly disappeared as the sun warmed the hillsides. On our way into a tangle of mesquite, saguaros, and jumping cactus, we busted a few small coveys, but most of the birds in this area were pretty keen on what we were there for and kept at least a 70 to 80 yard distance from us. No matter how hard we tried to be quiet on the crunchy desert floor, it always sounds as if you are walking on bubble-wrap. We hiked farther than usual and looked at some different country, but were unable to capitalize on the quail that were in the area. We were on the other hand successful in bringing down several doves, whose season just opened Friday. The morning ended on a festive note as we stopped by Campbell Mercantile Store, a cornerstone of the Peoria community, and feasted on the morning’s special of biscuits and gravy while drinking copious amounts of coffee. Without a doubt, the morning was a successful way to start of my week long Thanksgiving break. The rest of the week should hold some more wanderings, perhaps into the water. Did I mention I love being a school teacher?

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