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Sunday, October 26. 2014
In 1953, the early November opening of goose and duck season was hailed by hunters for the rain and high winds that back, to back, to back, weather systems fostered. Blow from the southeast for two days, then blow from the northwest for a few days, the cycle repeating it self continuously. Me, and my group of hunters, using the term loosely, “sneakers” would better apply, took full advantage of the weather to try the patience of many of the rice farmers and our parents.
The area west of Highway 6, along FM 1091, all the way to Fulshear on the Brazos River was prime goose country, part of the Katy prairie. All of this area now is subdivisions and shopping malls and the geese have vacated it. Back then, after a driver passed Post Oak Rd. street signs changed from Westheimer to FM 1091. Now, Westheimer extends for miles, out past Highway 6 and is the center of commerce for west Houston!
Four of us were heading home around 11:00 AM from a reasonably
successful goose hunt, success being measured by; a vehicle not being
stuck beyond retrieval, not one of the hunters injured, not being stopped by the law and, maybe, even, a few geese. We were coming in, heading east, on FM 1091 and wishing we could get permission to hunt on Cinco Ranch, a large ranch, twenty sections or more, laying north of 1091, all the way to Highway 6. The ranch now sports country clubs, shooting ranges and some very, large, ritzy, subdivisions.
Probably four hundred yards north of the road, inside the fences of Cinco Ranch, we spotted a huge gaggle of geese. Immediately, one of our group said that we should sneak ‘em. A quick uwey and we stopped on the soggy shoulder, donned our hip boots, hooded parkas and grabbed our shotguns. Going over the barbwire fence, hitting the ground, we started our sneak.
Four hundred yards is long crawl, shotguns cradled in our arms, military style. Keeping our heads down we inched along with each inch the noise of the geese grew louder. No alarm calls so we were doing OK. Inches turned into feet and feet into yards as we reached the hundred-yard mark, only sixty or so, more to go. Then raise up and let fly!
Hearing a strange peeping sound, I knew it wasn’t a rattler, then, the whirring of twenty or more quail bursting into the air startled me so much that I leaped to my feet and shouted a few choice expletives! That’s all it took for the thousands of geese to spook and get airborne. Standing, we could only watch as they gained altitude and “honked” their way to safety.
That was our first, and last, “sneak” on Cinco Ranch!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 14:23 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, October 21. 2014
Here are 2 more bucks that showed up at the corner feeder, it’s funny they were chasing doe around the feeder, but really, they were not interested in them. Wait for a couple of weeks! The first buck is a really good 8 pointer, you’ve seen him before, but here’s a good “shot” of him.
Another buck dropped by and he was a really good 10 pointer, but he and the 8 pointer, don’t have swollen necks. When they start fighting, they will!
You can see this buck has 2 points on his brow tine, the same as the one I shot last year that won the “Mill’s County Big Buck Contest”! This one is heavier on the horns than last year’s.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 06:09 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, October 15. 2014
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, October 9. 2014
Having just signed up on a new hunting lease near Millersview, during the last part dove season standing by myself, with my twenty gauge pump, in the shade of a mesquite tree, the sun on my right and a half acre stock tank to my front. The banks of the tank were sandy/gravelly, just right for doves to use.
Arriving at the tank around 4:00 PM, too early for the birds to water, I sat real still and watched the songbirds and, of all things, the deer, eight or ten doe came into the water. There was a lot of shooting that I guessed was about a mile away on a bordering ranch and I was hoping that the birds would come into my tank.
One hour later, here came the doves! Beginning with just a trickle, I knocked down the first two and they both fell right on the tank damn, just in front of me. Picking my shots, being careful not to splash one into the tank, the doves kept falling and I stopped for a minute and counted up. Eleven birds, then I counted my shots, eleven shots. Never having gone straight on a limit of doves, thinking back, I had run over a hundred and fifty straight on clay birds in trap and downed fifteen straight Mearns quail, but not the diving, twisting and turning doves.
Here came number twelve, right at me, and easy head on shot. Covering the bird, for some reason, I raised my head and missed! The dove veered to the right and, pow, my second shot, down it dropped into the tank. Chunking rocks and cow chips at the bird, the "waves" brought it to the bank and then it was in my bag.
Twelve for thirteen, still not bad and the new lease only got better.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 07:46 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 5. 2014
It could be said that the weather in the Phoenix area is always hot and bright. Even if it is cool, the sun is out most of the time and Jake Schorder and I, both of us being good ole' Texas boys, remembered plenty of rain and clouds, and would joke around with each other and say “Ho hum, another beautiful day in paradise.” One day, for me, paradise turned ugly!
In 1972, Bill Randall and I were both managers with a large computer company and both shared the same love for hunting. During the last portion of dove season, we left work early, sales calls you know, and I picked him up in my Bronco and off we went to a spot he had found north of Gilbert, Arizona.
It was a large grain field that had just been harvested. Arizona is strange. It is hot and dry, but if you can get water to a crop, it will grow, and, along its east side a large irrigation canal supplied the water to this field. We up and downed through the canal, thankfully it was dry, and scrambled out of the truck and began our hunt, paying no attention to a large thunderhead southeast of us.
Bill and I were the only ones in the field and were literally “covered up” in birds. We held off of the mourning doves and concentrated on the larger white wing doves. Nearing our limits of birds, we noticed that the thunderhead was moving towards us and causing a small sandstorm. No problem, when it gets close we’ll load up and go.
It got close real quick and the next thing we knew there was a wall of sand coming closer and closer, until it engulfed us. Hurrying to the truck, it started getting darker and by the time we closed the truck doors, it was like night had fallen 4 hours early. As the wind picked up, large drops of rain were smacking into the truck and Bill said, “Jon, we are in trouble. I bet this is a tornado and we got no place for shelter.” I said, “We could lay down in the canal and hope for the best.” And he replied, “Just drive the truck into it.”
We pulled over one of the berms and turned left into the canal and stopped, lightning popping all around, the wind and rain buffeting us and then we heard it. A train bearing down on us, but no tracks around here and we looked at each other and said, “Tornado!”
We could feel the force of the wind shaking us and trying to lift the truck up into the storm, but for some reason, we kept settling back down into the canal. In the darkness, terrifying minutes passed until the big wind and the roaring passed. It remained cloudy, the sky brightening, the wind dropping to an estimated 50 MPH, and the big drops of rain being replaced by a normal shower, and soon, the big storm was breaking up before it ever reached a populated area.
No mention of the tornado on the 10:00 PM news, so I guess Bill and I were the only witnesses. Also, the Chamber of Commerce thinks it is bad for tourism if there is talk of tornadoes in Arizona.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 14:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, October 1. 2014
The large computer company that I worked for had promoted me to their division headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia and, before that, had sent me to Endicott, New York for further “training”. While in Endicott I had become violently ill with some type of flu, was in bed for 3 days and finally flew back to Phoenix, although I barely remember the flight back.
Back in Phoenix with time on my hands, while my family was visiting in Houston, it dawned on me that dove season will still on. There was one spot, a stock tank just off the intersection of 7th Street and Deer Valley Rd. that we’d never hunted before. Back then in the mid 70’s this was still cattle country and cows need water, hence the stock tank. So I decided quickly that I’d just go out there and try my luck on the mourning dove.
Feeling much better, that afternoon, after the short drive from my house, I arrived at the spot, parked my truck under a big ironwood tree, climbed through the barbwire fence that kept the cows inside and walked the short distance to the stock tank. There were no posted signs, so hunters could use it, since most of the land in Arizona, at that time, was Government land.
At the tank, about a quarter of an acre, I picked a dappled, shady spot under a mesquite, squatted down on my haunches and waited for, I hoped, a good flight of dove. My wait wasn’t long as, from my left, 2 mourners zipped past me, made a circle and landed for a drink. Stepping out of the shadows, the dove sprang up, stretching for altitude, but my 20, gauge pump, barked twice and they crumpled, this was just like shooting doubles at trap!
As the dove came piling in, this was one of those days, I’d used only 11 shots and had bagged 9 birds, one away from my limit. The last dove came loafing by over the tank and my shot dropped it right into the water, using cow chips and sticks, I “chunked” it toward the bank where I waded out and retrieved it. A limit shooting in just a little over an hour and 10 dove with 12 shots!
This was a good spot and I’d have to come back and bring the family, then I remembered that all of us had to be in Atlanta next week, so no coming back to this spot, but I’ll always remember the easy shoot there.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, September 25. 2014
About an hour before sunset, the mourning doves started coming into the water. Our set up was ideal. The tank had a rocky, gravelly bank all around, a couple of dead mesquites at one end and several live mesquites at the other end that we used for shade and concealment.
Thursday, September 18. 2014
On a fall morning, just at first light, I lowered the 22 footer into the canal behind our Bayou Vista home, headed down it and chugged, speed limit 5 MPH in the canals, into Highlands Bayou. Opening up the big, outboard I skimmed the back way into the Intercoastal Waterway. This was the same track Randy and I took several years earlier when he collided with a live, oyster reef and I did a flip.
Having a 11:00 AM meeting with customers, it would be a short trip this morning, but hopefully a productive one. My destination, with the tide coming in and a light southeast wind, was the sand flats and reefs that ran from Green’s Cut up to South Deer Island. The target was to find sea gulls (birds) working over feeding specks, the specks driving shrimp toward the surface and the birds gobbling up the shrimp the fish missed. Classic food chain stuff!
Armed with a 7-1/2 foot, popping, rod, 12 pound line spooled on a green reel, rigged with a popping cork over a live shrimp hooked through its horn with a small, treble hook, I was ready for action. The action wasn’t long in coming. Of all things, I noticed several shrimp hopping out of the water and casting right in front of them, bam a big strike.
The fish took off peeling line from the reel, not the circling fight of a 3 or 4 pound trout, not the weight of a big red, then the fish, a skipjack or ladyfish, (Bodianus rufus) cleared the water. They’re real hard fighters, jump a lot, but aren’t good table fare. Many times they will be feeding on shrimp, driving them to the surface where the ever hungry, birds will congregate over them. Landing the skipjack, I released it and continued my scouting for birds.
Two hundred yards away, several birds were sitting on the water, this is a likely sign of a school of fish that has that has cleaned up the shrimp in one area, or of one or two big fish randomly feeding. Pulling up to within 50 yards of the birds, the light wind and incoming tide soon pushed me within casting distance. Letting fly, when the cork and shrimp hit the water, it was one of those rare times when the cork kept going down, almost jerking the rod out of my hand. This was a good one!
Several trips around the boat, I slid the net under a 4 pound speck! Thinking to myself, I’ll keep this one for Layla’s and my supper tonight, then my 11:00 AM meeting flashed into my mind and by the time I motored back, cleaned the fish, hosed out the boat, showered and drove the 45 minutes to my meeting, I’d better be scooting.
My salesman and I made the meeting on time and closed a big deal. Mixing business and pleasure was neat and these quick fishing trips were a big advantage of living right on the water!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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