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Monday, December 29. 2014
It was one of those “drippy” winter days, temperature around 40 degrees, Fahrenheit, with an almost fog and a light mist falling, and we had hunted hard that morning with poor results. We, were, James Walton, Norman Shelter, my friend from Houston who had just been promoted to Atlanta, and myself and had chosen this particular Saturday to go after some quail around Thomaston, Georgia. James and I had hunted the area the past weekend with fair success, but the farther south we drove on Hwy. 19, from our homes in Sandy Springs, the worse the weather got.
Forgetting about the cold and mist and being wet, cold and hungry, we got out and walked around the old place and found that was on its “last legs”. Norman jumped out and snapped the above picture and with me following, back into the warm truck we climbed.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, December 25. 2014
Wednesday, December 24. 2014
The following story is not about a storm, or dramatic weather event that I was involved in, but is about the results of a severe low pressure, system, rainstorm, that struck the upper Gulf coast in 1980.
Bob Baugh had been the first customer I had met when I returned to Houston. On my first meeting with him, I happened to have a picture of the twelve-pound bass I had recently caught which I promptly pulled out and showed to him. He responded by producing a picture of a six hundred pound blue marlin he had just caught.
Shortly after our first meeting, we had Bob and his wife over for dinner and were enjoying a pleasant evening, when the phone rang and it was my son, Randy, calling to let me know he was going to be late for supper, and, and, that he was stuck on our new duck and goose lease and needed help extricating the truck.
Part of the reason he was calling had been caused by a low pressure, system that came ashore between Galveston and Freeport, Texas, hesitated over Alvin and dumped over 24” of rain in a 24 hour, period. This remains a contiguous states record for a 24 hour, period! The low pressure, system also soaked the Katy Prairie, any dirt road travel was limited and additional rains kept the roads “sticky” for a month or more.
The other reason the truck was stuck was because he and his friend Doug would try to see how much mud it would take to get stuck in. Most cases Doug would have his truck and they would alternate pulling each other out of the mire. Not this time because he and Doug had taken advantage of the duck season opener and gone hunting together in my truck!
Randy told me where he was stuck and the call ended. I sat down and filled Bob in on the details and he said, “Let’s go get him!”
We loaded up in Bob’s 4WD, truck and headed out for the short drive to the new lease. Waiting for us at the main entrance was Randy. He and Doug had found the rice farmer and he had pulled them out with his tractor.
Randy, Doug and the new truck were safe and we didn’t have to wade in the mud to get them out. Our evening was interrupted but Bob’s and my friendship was sealed and lasts till this day!
One more note about Randy and Doug. The owner of the local car wash, a nice man and a Deacon in the Baptist Church that we attended, banned both boys from using his facility to wash their trucks because of all the mud they collected. He said that he knew when they had been there because his main drain was always stopped up, with mud, of course!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Weather at 09:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, December 19. 2014
Bob Baugh and I had driven up to Haney’s ranch to chase some quail and this particular hunt stands out in my memory for a number of reasons.
Our first afternoon, we had enjoyed good hunting and the next day as well. Sonny, my Brittany’s, work finding and retrieving the birds was excellent and we welcomed the steaks cooked over Rick’s “old timey”, fired brick, barbeque pit. After the meal we talked for a long time about hunting, ranching and business and turned in around midnight.
The night was cold and Rick’s old ranch house, built in the 1900’s, was drafty and hard to heat. As usual, Rick was hidden under his covers with his AC running full blast, when I was jolted awake by my door being thrown open and Bob running through my room in his long-johns, .357 Magnum in hand, shouting, “Where is that son of a bitch, I’ll shoot him if I catch him!” He continued his “hunt” for several minutes, bursting into Rick’s room and awakening him, and then, Bob told us his story.
He said, “I woke up and saw someone/something standing at the foot of my bed. Then it ran and opened the door to Jon’s room and I’m sure it ran through his room.” By that time, Bob had armed himself and given pursuit. He added, ”When I chased it into Rick’s room, I “lost” it.” We looked around inside the house and found nothing, no sign of anyone else with us and both outside doors were locked.
Rick went into his patented speech about having to sleep out here often and not wanting to disturb anything. Bob said, “But something was standing by my bed.” Rick laughed, made sure his AC was roaring, got back into his bed, slipped his cap over his ears and covered his head with the covers.
Two years later, Rick “rebuilt” the old ranch house, and even before the stonemason had finished his work, the rock wall on one side of the house developed a serious crack. Rick said, “We put too much load on the rocks.” I answered, “Sounds like something didn’t like it being rebuilt.” The old house burned down during the summer of 2011, the grass fires around Abilene were the cause, and, I guess it chased the ghosts out too!
Bob still doesn’t like to talk about the chase.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, December 14. 2014
During the spring of 1979 we moved back to the Houston area and bought a nice home in Cypress in the Lakewood Forest Subdivision. The house was in Section 2, Section 3 was just being developed and, still to go were Sections 4 and 5. In Section 5, as we explored the area, we found numerous ponds and the piney woods abounded with wildlife! Since it was only 5 minutes from our house, Randy, Brad and I quickly took advantage of this situation.
Confining our activities to Section 5, September 1 found us having limit, dove shooting and the birds just seemed to continue to pour in. By November and quail season, my summer and fall, dog training had found several coveys that provided excellent shooting. Wood ducks and mallards frequented the ponds and sloughs near Cypress Creek and we were eagerly awaiting the December opening of duck season.
Brad scored first on a beautiful wood duck, drake that he had mounted and gave to a friend so I thought I’d try my luck on a “woodie”. Two days of rain slowed me down and finally taking off of work early, Rooster and I hit Section 5.
The first pond we snuck was void of ducks and we were slinking on to the next one when, just ahead, Rooster came down hard on point. Looking down and quickly checking the brush and grass for snakes, I spied the telltale holes poked by woodcock, one more step and tweep, tweep, flutter, flutter and two woodcock took to wing. My pump boomed twice ending their escape and Rooster fetched them both in. We cooked them that night and they were wonderful!
These were the only two woodcock to come out of Section 5, because by January 1, 1980, things changed. Access was denied, posted signs were up and cables were strung across the 2 entry roads. The boys and I snuck back in once but we felt very awkward carrying our shotguns through the resident’s backyards.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 14:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, December 8. 2014
By the third year we were on our McCulloch County hunting lease I had walked over almost all of the 2,000 plus acres. Either hunting quail or still hunting, deer, I kept flushing ducks off of the stock tanks and sometimes, in season of course, would pop one or two.
Noticing one particular spring fed, stock tank, almost a full acre, with a tall dam on one end, that was nearly impossible to sneak was where I had chosen to hunt some ducks. This stock tank was long and narrow, and the end I would hunt was only one to two feet deep with a rock bottom. Since the water was so shallow, I wouldn’t even need to take Gus to retrieve the ducks and “he could sleep in”. There were several mesquite trees around its edge and if I could make me a rough blind, almost under one of the mesquites, I could use my twelve, plastic decoys and I bet, could have some excellent shooting.
In the dark, using dead mesquite limbs, I hastily threw together a rough blind and set the decoys in two groups. Placing one group of four decoys on my right and the other eight on my left, leaving a space between the groups for the ducks to land in, they poured in!
My twelve plastic decoys were bouncing on the ripples as shooting time commenced and never had I had such a terrific duck hunt. With a minimum of calling, the ducks piled in and I thinned them out, being able to clearly identify the drakes of the various species – mallards, pintails, widgeon and gadwall and passing on some beautiful green wing teal.
Just shooting drakes, I was elated getting my limit in forty-five minutes, shooting eight with ten shots, having to shoot two twice. But, bad news, picking up my decoys, I carried four to the bank, laid them down next to my toe sack and returned to the water for four more. The next thing I knew, here came a cow, stepped on a decoy and smashed it beyond repair. Now I only had eleven plastic decoys. I should have carried my sack out with me and only made one trip.
I’m really lucky that the cow didn’t step on all four of the decoys!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 15:34 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, December 1. 2014
I still wonder why there was no “Road Closed” sign at the Bartlett Damn end of the road?
Posted by Jon Bryan in Weather at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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