California Quail Hunting – This Exists

California Quail Hunting – This Exists

Inspiration comes in many forms. The origin stories of how we become hunters, get bird dogs, and enter this community vary widely from one person to the next. Among the more unusual stories is that of a child in a non-hunting family that immigrated to the United States, who grew up to say that Disney inspired him to pursue hunting as an adult. This is that story. From his first dog named Pluto to his pursuit of valley quail across the wild, public lands of California, Ruben Mata’s journey is the kind of story we should hear more often.

Through the profound generosity of Quail Forever members and his determination to discover hunting no matter how difficult the entry, Ruben is now a regular part of the upland landscape. This Project Upland Original film is presented by CZ USA, Federal Premium, and Quail Forever. Ruben is featured on the cover of the Fall 2020 Issue of Project Upland Magazine; below is Ruben’s featured story from the issue.

Learn more about hunting California quail:


  1. Paul Noble on January 27, 2023 at 4:39 am

    Great short documentary. I started upland bird hunting at age thirty –thirty years ago. I was mentored by a older gentleman in his 50s. He took me to all his bird haunts–sage grouse, ptarmigan, quail , pheasant. All over California , Arizona Oregon , South Dakota and New Mexico, where I now reside. I am 60 now and am on my 5th bird dog. hunt actively all season long. I consider myself a Hunter/Conservationist. My mentor is in his mid 80s now and we still get a chance to hunt when we can get together. I owe a lot to him for introducing me to an amazing outdoor activity, and the beauty of upland bird hunting.

  2. TOP SHOTTA on January 27, 2023 at 4:41 am

    This is Excellent Man I’m From Los Angeles and Got into hunting about a Year Ago, It’s Great to See you Getting your Son Into the Sport we need more hunters for the future generations and it’s something I’ll be teaching my Daughters when their of age Keep it up Man 💯

  3. Joey Rios on January 27, 2023 at 4:42 am

    Awesome man!!!

  4. ofmyownaccord on January 27, 2023 at 4:42 am

    I feel him on the difficulty to start upland hunting in CA when you have no connections.

  5. bprice008 on January 27, 2023 at 4:43 am

    Great video! I’m in a very similar spot, I started hunting quail here in socal last year, taking my 7 year old along for the ride to hike and observe. This year he’s doing his hunter safety course and turns 8 next month, a week after his birthday our reserved GSP puppy will be 8 weeks and ready to come home with us. I’m curious what dog related gear you are using?

  6. Bryan B. on January 27, 2023 at 4:45 am

    Nothing like seeing your dog exhausted and content from a day of hunting.

  7. Fortino Barrios on January 27, 2023 at 4:46 am

    Right on bro… definitely following your videos!

  8. Rick the Enthusiast on January 27, 2023 at 4:47 am

    Awesome video bro. I’m trying to get into hunting, too, so I subbed to your channel to learn more about it. 😎👍🏽

  9. The prepared dad on January 27, 2023 at 4:47 am

    yea i have been going out by my self with little to no success one or to here and there

  10. Don Bacon on January 27, 2023 at 4:47 am

    CHUKKAR hunting my favorite hard to find in NorCal

  11. billyl allen on January 27, 2023 at 4:50 am

    I started hunting back in the 80’s, my wife bought me a Golden Retriever, that Thanksgiving we went to my Brother-in law and he had a sugar beet farm. He ask me if I could bring my dog the next day, he wanted to see if she could hunt. I had never hunted, I didn’t own a gun, but he talked me into it. We went out into a field behind his house and my dog got scent and busted up a bird right in front of me, I shot it and from that day on, I was hook. I hunted his lay and land that farmers leased out to small clubs. I convince my wife to allow me to join Hastings Island Hunting Preserve. I was a member there from the late 80’s to 2006. It is difficult to find places to hunt, when I started, there were a lot of birds near Sacramento, we hunted along the levees, but they build homes on old sugar beet farms, then they changed the law here in Sacramento, where you could’ve hunt. I still had property that a friend own and I could train my dogs on pigeons and there were quail there too, but California has changed so much, population has grown so much and areas, that I used to hunt have homes on them now. Duck Hunting is still great here, but, you need to join a club, they have the prime blinds and it is very expensive. I was lucky, that I had a brother in-law, who got me started and I was able to enjoy it until my health stopped me.

  12. hayk kokikyan on January 27, 2023 at 4:51 am

    Hello, thank you for inspiring words and video I’m new as well in hunting world and don’t know much where to go can you be more specific with directions?

  13. Rick Churder on January 27, 2023 at 4:52 am

    Oh! This is a beautiful story. Great video. Thanks! This takes me back to my youth. I spent the first forty years of my life in Southern California. Hunting was about rabbits, doves and the very plentiful California Quail. That was mostly with a .410 break-open single gifted to me by an uncle only after scoring–at his insistence–100% on the Hunter Safety test around the 5th or 6th grade. That little gun taught me to focus on what I was doing! Years later he told me, "That was the idea." It wasn’t until around 1988 that I finally bought my 870. Most of my hunting was in the Los Padres N.F. as well as out in the Mojave. In KC these days. Now it’s about the ducks, turkeys and Whitetails. I came to this video because I’m seriously stoked and wanted to look into bird dogs. In two days the plan is to "retrieve" a dog from his current human. It’s a four year-old Brittany/German Shorthaired Pointer mix that he’s made available for me to purchase. He admitted the dog has never been over a bird. What?! But "…he’s a great companion." Indeed. I am really looking forward to this. Retired. Soon to be 66. Just finished my third go-round with cancer treatment on August 6. Kids have been up and out of here for years. Companionship and training. The strength is s-l-o-w-l-y returning so I think I’ll step away from the flooded corn fields this season and take some "easy does it" upland walks with Sam the "bird dog." Watching him discover some scent and scare up a rabbit should be entertaining. Where I typically hunt, I haven’t seen a Bobwhite in many years. Maybe I’ll head up north to look for pheasant.

  14. Michael Saenz on January 27, 2023 at 4:53 am

    This is a GREAT story. Mr. Mata, you should be extremely proud of yourself. You figured this out all on your own, and you are living the upland hunting dream. You are great example for every first generation American. Many thanks to the Northwoods Collective for presenting so many great stories with great photograpy work.

  15. Don Bacon on January 27, 2023 at 4:56 am

    Bumper year for Quail Lake Britton Dunsmuir Likely

  16. Russ Blackburn on January 27, 2023 at 4:56 am

    I’m taking my son hunting for the first time this year, great video inspiring. Thank you

  17. Combowelder on January 27, 2023 at 4:58 am

    Im a 3rd generation quail hunter, papa taught dad, dad taught me, and ive got a son so he better be ready in about 10 years lol im young too im 26 so by the time hes ready ill be 36 my dad is 50 and is still hunting with me every year no dogs just me and him id like to think when hes 60 there will be three of us out there again grandpas 70 and broken so he cant do it anymore the more people the better for quail yall know how it is

  18. Michael Lissow on January 27, 2023 at 5:00 am

    Beautiful videography! Well done and great short story!

  19. Tarsus melendez on January 27, 2023 at 5:02 am

    I feel like your story is mine. I’m also in California with no hunter friends. Just starting hunting while all my friends are taking up golf. Getting a GSP in a few months. Can’t wait get out there.

  20. Andrew Wayment on January 27, 2023 at 5:04 am

    Great video guys. Love to hear about people passing on our outdoor heritage.

  21. J DeMartini on January 27, 2023 at 5:08 am

    I hunt las Padres forest. Great video. Have fun with your boys!

  22. David Kang on January 27, 2023 at 5:10 am

    I’ve been learning on my own for more then a decade, never got a deer here in California but I’ve bagged some quail, rabbit, jack rabbit, dove, turkey and a pig. the hardest thing for me is finding a place to hunt deer in public land. I see deer here and there a lot in national forest mostly doe’s but NEVER have I seen a buck during hunting season.

  23. Aurelio Cortez on January 27, 2023 at 5:11 am

    Very cool video. I also hunt the same areas you do and with my father and my son. I totally understand not knowing how to start. Keep up the good videos bro

  24. Mike McGeehan on January 27, 2023 at 5:16 am

    Well done.

  25. angel Aguayo on January 27, 2023 at 5:17 am

    hunt an fish 4 life!

  26. Onward Upward on January 27, 2023 at 5:17 am

    Thanks for passing this on to your boys! We want to see generations to understand this great privilege we have to subdue and care for this magnificent creation.

  27. Don Bacon on January 27, 2023 at 5:18 am

    Good story bro best things you can eat

  28. Luis Heredia on January 27, 2023 at 5:20 am

    Por que parte de los padres forest es?

  29. Jonny M on January 27, 2023 at 5:20 am

    Awesome video bro!!

  30. Рыжий Ус on January 27, 2023 at 5:23 am

    Great video!! Good workin dogs!!!👍👍👍

  31. on January 27, 2023 at 5:28 am

    Good stuff guys! Way to represent SoCal upland hunting!

  32. Jim H on January 27, 2023 at 5:28 am

    Awesome story. So encouraging to see a father engaging his boys in such an excellent heritage.

  33. Craig Linn on January 27, 2023 at 5:32 am

    Great video and a great story!

  34. GriGirg on January 27, 2023 at 5:32 am

    was that club Wilderness Unlimited?

  35. Steve Nelson on January 27, 2023 at 5:33 am

    Great story! Makes me excited to get my kids out there.

  36. Chris Taylor on January 27, 2023 at 5:33 am

    Great video man! It’s nice to see that our area is providing for many people. Maybe I will see you out there as well.



  37. Rob L on January 27, 2023 at 5:36 am

    Great video brother I have bunch shorthairs , I love them when im hunting and when we’re at home , God bless , you should try some chukar hunting with him lots of fun

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