Bo and I had been working rock walls along the north side of an Idaho drainage hoping for our first game bird of any species when I decided that a north facing wall would be a better choice in the near 90 degree heat of mid day. After a couple of cattle crossings on the south side, I noticed a clump of dense willows growing alongside a narrow irrigation ditch passing through the BLM. The large sage brush flat with water and dense brush was near identical to the areas I found 75+ bird coveys of valley quail in both Oregon and Nevada on earlier trips. Within a few yards of the truck, Bo was trailing runners along the ditch, headed straight for the brush. I could hear the quail chirping and flitting from bush to bush as Bo splashed after them. I ran from one side of the leafy screen to the other trying hard to get a shot where the bird wouldn't fall back into the tangle and finally took a pair crossing over sage. After a few misses with the singles spread across a few hundred acres, I tallied up my take of 6 plump quail and decided to leave what was left of the large covey for seed.
An hour later we were deep along a two track when I decided it was time to drop down to see if we could find some partridge, but Bo busted a small covey of quail on the shoulder that offered me a few shots in the juniper before diving down the canyon. With two more quail in the bag I was fairly certain we could find another covey later in the day, working the rest of the irrigation ditch on our way back to the truck.
We didn't find any partridge in the rocks, but Bo did flush another fresh covey of quail about a mile from the previous two. I was only able to get one shot off on the rise and saw a quail fall hard. That made nine quail in the bag with one to go for Bo's Idaho limit of Valley Quail Story Band!
I was trotting closer hoping for a holdout single as Bo retrieved my dead bird and then immediately ran deeper into the sage. As I planted my feet expecting a late flusher, Bo scooped up a second and her limit, dead quail, unknowingly taken with one shot!