5 of 6

I gave it my best trying to kill a mountain quail over the holidays, but I remain five of six on the species native to the United States. I've added an additional hurdle on my quail slam challenge in that I want to hunt them in the mountains of Southern California near my hometown of Riverside. I might have better luck in Nevada or Oregon, but that would spoil the fun.

Unfortunately, the closest we came to finding birds were these tracks.

Here's my column on the hunt.

Catch and release may be the next battleground

Back in the pool

Here's my most recent column on catch-and-release fishing and a potential new line of attack on angler conservationists.

It's no secret that animal rights zealots hate hunting. Catch-and-release fishing, on the other hand, has been heralded as a great conservation tool in Montana and anyplace sport fishing is popular. But new, and stunningly myopic research hints at a new line of attack: it's bad for fish.

Healthy trout populations in heavily fished Montana rivers and streams say otherwise.