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Wednesday, August 17. 2011
Summers in Texas are hot and in the last few days of August, time slows to a crawl! Hunters are checking their gear, or the young ones, if required by the state, are taking a hunter course, a good one is Online Hunter Education Courses and a click on the link will get you set up. If they fish too, along the Texas coast itâ€™s either too windy, or the waters too hot. Offshore itâ€™s either too rough for the pounding required for the 20, 30 or 40, mile boat ride, or if the winds not blowing, itâ€™s too darn hot! Bass fishing slows and if thereâ€™s no breeze, itâ€™s too darn hot to lake fish too! However, a bright, light awaits because on September 1st, the north and central zone, dove season opens welcoming in another hunting season.
In late August of 1970, Jim Buck and I had taken advantage of the poor fishing weather to go and see if any doves were flying around some stock tanks on a friendâ€™s place, north of I-10, along the San Bernard River, between Sealy and Columbus, an hours drive west of my southwest, Houston home. This spot happened to be north of I-10 in the central dove zone. Jim had also just purchased a distressed rabbit, game call and we thought weâ€™d â€œkill two birds with one stoneâ€ and check on the doves until dark, then try to call up a coon, bobcat or coyote.
We checked out three stock tanks and mourning dove were plentiful, good shooting next week and as the sun set we drove over toward the river, parked Jimâ€™s truck and walked on into the thick stuff. Armed with Jimâ€™s single shot .22, we picked us out a clearing, hastily constructed a small blind that weâ€™d sit behind then waited for dark to set in.
It was both of ours first go at predator hunting and right at â€œdark 30â€, Jim blasted out several notes of a distress call, he was manning the rifle and I was handling the light, a spot with a 6V battery. Having read that you turn the light off when calling, then switch it on and shine it in the trees and it would reflect the animalâ€™s eyes, I switched it on and my sweep of the area revealed nothing. At pitch dark we tried again, then we heard it, a high pitch scream, then another, that scared the snot out of both of us, then silence!
Not knowing what to do, Jim readied his .22 and I turned on the light and shined it up into the trees, nothing but silence. We just sat there for a good 15 minutes, scared â€œsnotlessâ€, but finally cooler heads prevailed, we decided to make a lot of noise walking back, successfully made the 300 yard walk, and none to soon, climbed into the truck. All the way home we debated what it was that gave us the jolt, not an alien (we had them back then too), but decided on either a cougar or bobcat.
Back before WW II, once when my brother was in his convertible with the top down, driving back from a late date, when passing through what is known in Texas as The Big Thicket, back then it covered hundreds of square miles, he heard a series of screams, that later were identified by a local as a â€œpainterâ€ or cougar. Now I know that a female cougar will scream when looking for a mate. We didnâ€™t know that then when we were scared â€œsnotlessâ€!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, May 17. 2011
On a late spring Saturday morning, my father-in-law, O.H. Buck, my dad and I had driven into the bottoms along the Trinity River north of Dayton, Texas. Weâ€™d taken this opportunity to go camping, hunting and fishing and Saturday afternoon, both of them were hunting squirrels and Iâ€™d taken this opportunity to try out Buckâ€™s jigging pole.
The only difference was that weâ€™d rewrapped the rod and left over 6 feet of line on the tag end where a spoon was attached. Usually we jigged from a boat and used a short line with 2 hooks, but this time Iâ€™d be walking stealthily along the backwater, back from the almost level, bank, using trees for some cover, trying to make the spoon look like a small fish, darting about the shallows, for a better word, we called it dabblinâ€™. In the same area this past duck season, while sneaking ducks, Iâ€™d come across a man using a cane pole and a long piece of line with a spoon attached. He was bass fishing, had several on his stringer, we both quipped that this was a good area for mallards and bass, but neither of us had ever encountered another group in this place!
Hearing Buckâ€™s .22, pop in the distance, I knew that weâ€™d have squirrel for supper, but my attention was focused on the long, Calcutta pole that I was dabblinâ€™ in the shallow water of a slough off of the Trinity. My bait of choice, tied securely on the end of 6 feet of 60, pound, braided line, was a silver spoon, with a single hook and fluorescent attractor, that I dabbled along slowly, awaiting, what I had hoped for, was a savage strike from a largemouth bass.
The savage strike wasnâ€™t long in coming! The 3 pounder set the hook when it engulfed the spoon and when its thrashing around subsided, I hand over handed the cane pole back towards me until reaching the fish that I unhooked, then walked back and tied the stringer to a handy tree near the water and slipped the bass on.
My dadâ€™s 20, gauge, boomed, probably another squirrel, as I walked past where the bass had hit. Dabbling along, trying to use the trees for cover, 100 yards down the slough, another bass smashed the spoon and I held on, but this one was a 14 incher, not the big, splashing fight of the bass on the stringer. This was a keeper too so I unhooked it, walked back to the handy tree and slipped it on. Deciding that this wouldnâ€™t work too well, me walking back to this particular tree with anymore fish, I carried the stringer until Iâ€™d fished a spot, then Iâ€™d find a tree, put the fish in the water and keep on dabblinâ€™
Staying back from the bank was made easier with the long pole. However, it looked like the more hidden I became, strikes would follow, so trying to get my 190 pounds behind a 6 inch tree was impossible, but the pole helped me to get back away from the fishâ€™s line of sight.
Walking almost a mile down the slough, I picked up another bass, a 16 incher that I slipped on the stringer, then turned around and walked back to our camp. This was really a different kind of fishing for me, sneaking along, dabblinâ€™ the spoon in the shallows, waiting for a strike and most surprising, catching 3 bass. The bass would fry up real good for breakfast, too!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, February 1. 2009
Our new President said that he wouldnâ€™t come after our guns.Â He never said anything about using taxes to inhibit ammunition sales.Â I wonder why â€˜the mediaâ€™ never probed for this?Â I did find out what Texans are doing about it!
Living in a small town, like Goldthwaite, far away from the traffic and congestion of a big city, has many benefits, but there are some things missing â€“ some things like Cabelaâ€™s, Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain.Â Keeping a running list of items needed from Cabelaâ€™s, I got to stop by there this past Monday and was I surprised.
Brad and I had traveled down to San Antonio to meet with his doctors and after lunch with my youngest son, Randy, in San Marcos, we stopped by Cabelaâ€™s, in Buda, to pick up .22, .22 Mag and .17 HMR ammo and stock up on reloading supplies.Â Buda, for the uninformed, is 16 miles south of Austin on I-35.
It was mid Monday afternoon, but where everyone should have been out working, they were in the gun/ammo department.Â It looked like a Saturday!Â We found and picked out the items we needed, loaded them into our shopping cart and then went over to the gun cases to get some small pistol primers and Unique gun powder.
The salesman did a perfunctory look under the counter, but we could see that the powder stocks were woefully low and that they were out of Unique.Â Â He added that there were shotgun primers, but no small pistol ones and that their stocks had been pummeled since Christmas. Â
Looks like everyone is trying to beat the big tax increase on ammo and reloading supplies!Â For sure, itâ€™s coming and we wonâ€™t have anything to say about it, so stock up all the â€˜stuffâ€™ now and letâ€™s hope we can roll it back in 2 years!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Politics at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, August 14. 2008
Coming of shooting and hunting age during WW II and with gas rationing and ammunition shortages, my opportunities to shoot and hunt were limited.Â Â During this time period my Dad drilled into me gun safety and proper rifle shooting and started me out with his 20 Gauge, shotgun.Â He was a former Marine and since all Marines are trained as riflemen, teaching me gun handling and safety was a natural for him.Â I was an eager pupil and it turned out, I became an excellent shot with both a .22 rifle andÂ shotgun.
My first hunts were for Doves at my Uncle Shelton Gaffordâ€™s, ranch outside of Marlin, Falls County, Texas and I soon found out that the Doves were not the least bit impressed with my shooting skills!Â Being allowed to take only wing shots, my Dad emphasized not to shoot a sitting bird.Â My scores were around 1 bird for 10, plus, shots, then, as now, unacceptable to me.
After 2 futile sessions, my Dad explained â€œleadsâ€ and shot patterns to me and my scores improved somewhat.Â I didnâ€™t know then, but now I know that one of the most difficult of game birds to bag are Doves, twisting and turning in a moderate wind! Â
One trip, my Dad and I were sitting in the shade of a mesquite tree, by a stock tank and the Doves were zipping in and I was missing with regularity.Â Being 13 or 14, I was boiling with my poor shooting, then my Dad explained to me again about follow through and keeping my head down on the gun stock and it â€œtookâ€ this time and my shooting improved dramatically!
We took great care in preparing the birds we shot, picking, singeing off the small feathers, cleaning and thoroughly washing them.Â My Mom would make a fried chicken batter, dip the Doves in it and fry them until done, then make gravy with the grease and â€œfryinsâ€ and add mashed potatoes.Â It was unbeatable!
The many stock tanks on Uncle Shellyâ€™s ranch provided me with an opportunity to â€œgo froggingâ€ and to test my .22 rifle skills.Â In the evening we would slowly walk around a tank and shine a light into the edge of the water and up into the weeds and â€œshineâ€ the Frog.Â The light hypnotized the Frog and, pop, with a .22, and if you hit it in the head it didnâ€™t jump into the water, a poor shot and the chances of recovery were minimized.
The best thing about â€œfroggingâ€ was the eating.Â Skin and clean the legs, roll them in seasoned, corn meal and fry them just like chicken.Â Add fried onion rings and you have a feast!
All of this started me on my life long hunting quest!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, May 18. 2007
Frogginâ€™ is a nocturnal sport and a must, for success, is a good strong, spot light. I guess that when the light is shined in a Frogâ€™s eyes it mesmerizes, hypnotizes or paralyzes them.
Continue reading "Froggin'"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:15 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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