As an affiliate faculty of a local university I have the freedom to explore some pretty interesting and fun stuff in my mechanics classes without fear of getting fired. (I get fired at the end of every semester anyway.) Today we explored trajectories of felled upland birds.
A quail traveling at level flight 7 ft above the ground at 35 mph, if `dispatched' cleanly will `free fall' approximately 30 feet horizontal distance past the point of impact of shot pattern. Feathers, with immensely greater air friction, will fall close to straight down, or are carried by the wind. That means, without a wind, if we find feathers on the ground, get down on our hands and knees, we may well be 30 ft away from the bird. And that does not include bounce and roll. And it does not include the additional `thrust' the bird may have been given by a solid hit with significant number of pellets.
NO WONDER IT'S SO HARD TO FIND THOSE LITTLE CRITTERS. ,)
And why a good bird dog is so valuable.