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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Quail Trajectories

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. Brick Wall,)

And why a good bird dog is so valuable. Yes

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Quail Trajectories

And, I add, many of these birds well out-do 35 mph.

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Location: Boise Idaho
Joined: 05/17/2006
Posts: 120
Quail Trajectories

Interesting,so thats what has happened to some of my Birds Mr. Cool! Think

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Quail Trajectories

Exactly ... with all good intentions, we were looking in the WRONG PLACES. Brick Wall,)

redrider's picture
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Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
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Quail Trajectories

20 yrs. wasted Cry at least the coyotes were happy

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
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Quail Trajectories

I think the origional post is less than accurate. It would be hard to reach that conclussion without also knowing the balistic coefficent of the quail shot. Then again we may not find it laying on the ground. If for some reason it has to much sectional density, it may well penetrate the earth's surface somewhat. Furthermore, the conclusion did not allow for wind drift or air density. We need these fact's to know just where to look for our quail. Brick Wall,)

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Quail Trajectories

Yes, but these are just fledgling college students. Some have just left mama. We have to start somewhere. I have already warned them that factoring in air friction (drag coefficient) could show up as group problem. And we dealt with information on drag (supersonic and subsonic) for a typical non-boat-tail bullet, but haven't found drag coeff's yet for subsonic free flight of a dead quail.

And then there's

1. bounce and
2. roll
3. whether or not still flopping
4. slope of terrain
5. vegetation of terrain (grass, trees, brush, etc.)
6. as you say, wind drift
7. as I say, momentum (linear and angular) transfer of shot to bird
8. other atmospheric conditions (density, temp, etc.)
9. attention of shooter (where one thinks the quail was when trigger was pulled, versus where it really was,
10.if the shooter was even paying attention.
11. direction of flight at time of dispatch (who says the quail has to be in level flight?)
12. quail soaked or dry (assuming it changes the drag coefficient)
13. male or female quail
14. and species
15. and, indirectly mentioned by Don F, relative hardness of earth (if able to penetrate vegetation)
16. Oh, and falling feathers soaked or dry.
17. slope of ground (Idaho is mostly non-level)
18. quail spin

And anything else not listed above.

So, no wonder.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Quail Trajectories

I started this exercise with a desire to better understand how and where to look for felled quail. But, actually, it has changed my whole outlook. Considering what we are up against - I will spend less time in despondence over quail lost - and much more time REJOICING over those found.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
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Quail Trajectories

One thing I find helpful in marking down birds is to shoot left handed. That way my master eye is in a better position to mark the fall should a nother bird also rise and need my attention. In extreame cases, I just send a dog after them. Think My dogs, of course, have been trained to point with their master eye away from the calculated flight path of the bird so that they can see the second fall thus needing only their suspect noses on the first bird. My old hunting buddy, Jack, had it figured out. He just missed everything, made up lousy excuses for it then snivled until I gave him half of mine!

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Quail Trajectories

My heart is warmed.

My daughter needed a ride to a baby-sitting job this morning - and so since it is about half way to one of my quail spots, I grabbed gun and dog, dropped her off, and kept going.

We got into quail in pretty short order. I smoked one bird, marked well where it was flying when shot, and moved forward to find the bird. Another bird got up near where the first one fell, and I smoked it as well. Following by habit Quail Recovery.05 I refrained from shooting any more, even though some birds, very much alive and well, were getting up at our feet while we (my dog and I) were looking for the first two birds. (Actually, I was doing nearly all the looking, since my dog is young and still figuring things out.) Quail Recovery.05, which is fast becoming `old school' - is to mark well where the bird was when shot - and especially where it appeared to drop - and then proceed to find the bird - not having any more down than one or two - before continuing to hunt. I got to where the first bird was supposed to be, got down on my hands and knees, and we looked and looked. And looked and looked. I broke off from the first bird to look for the second - found it relatively easily, but quite some distance from where I thought it would be. Back to the first, jumping more birds. Found feathers. More hands and knees. Nothing.

Hmmmmm. There were several birds (running, flying, etc.) at our feet while looking ... perhaps one was the bird I was looking for - my shot pattern had only smashed a wing - and thus the bird ran off. Wishful thinking, but probably not.

Giving up - we headed up the draw. Missed one `roo' quail cold. Ughh. Another gave me chance to redeem myself, which I did. It fell in an open stubble field. I marked well where it hit - went over - and `What the ...'. Nowhere. Then I spotted the tail of a dumped quail quite some distance down range from where I `precisely' watched it fall. Amazing.

Well, a hunting license IMO is a license to explore, so dog and I went exploring areas in search of big whitetail deer - season to open in a couple weeks. On return journey I was thinking about my post on `quail trajectories' - and how in my stubbornness in following the old school and looking for birds precisely where I thought they'd land, that, or but, I indeed found both of the birds that I did find some 5 to 10 yards BEYOND. More like about 8 yards to be precise. For the one I couldn't find, I had searched somewhat beyond where he was supposed to have fallen, but really spent my effort where I found feathers and where I thought it would be.

So I am thinking - `look, I am a structural engineer. I make a living applying physics to buildings that people live in. If I don't believe my own physics applied to quail hunting - then what am I doing applying physics to structures.' In other words - APPLY MY QUAIL TRAJECTORY THEORY AND GO FIND THAT QUAIL!

So, I came up on the brush patch, the place where I was standing where I shot, the place where the bird was hit mid-flight, where it `should have been', and then added about 8 yards, and, wallah!, there it was, augured into deep grass.

My heart is warmed. My own theory works, if I can just get past my own stubbornness.

Quail Recovery.06. Observe well where the bird is upon shot and mark well where falling. Do not down more than one or two birds at a time. Go to where bird was when shot and to where appeared to fall, then go another 8 to 10 yards beyond, and start looking for bird.

Note: 8 yards is a bit shy of the 30 plus feet in the original post. The birds were flying lower to the ground today Yes .

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