The Way I See Things

Once my Dad told me, “Boy, don’t worry about today’s bad hunt. Just remember, if it was easy each time out, it would be called “shooting” instead of “hunting”.

I have enjoyably hunted and fished for well over sixty years and have tried to pass on to my sons and daughters, now to my grandchildren, that it is not the shooting or killing, but the chance to be out of doors and enjoy all of the creatures that God has placed on our planet.

I was surprised, having heard of Spikes coming in to “rattling”, but had not seen it before. I can only hope that I don’t rattle up a big cat!

We tried not to take “pilgrims” offshore fishing.

We’re going to beat this storm in to the launch ramp.

Now dressed as locals, Wrangler Jeans, cowboy boots and ball caps we should fit right in.

Another bad idea forced upon us by a politically correct government.

It is funny how first impressions are, so many times, correct.

Two hunting lease rules; one, if you are getting on a new hunting lease, you should know all of the members and, two, the rules should be clearly spelled out!

Sometimes we do things that get in the way of really important things like fishing.

Wow, I thought, I must be in the eye of the hurricane right now. That makes three for me!

My fourth ground zero, introduction to a tornado. This one was too close!

When you’re shooting at rising birds with a shotgun always allow them time gain some space from you. Don’t be “greedy” and take close “easy” shots.

My boss told me that in the summer he thought my car smelled like old softball clothes and in the winter, like rice field mud.

When a large number of birds will fly over you, pick out a one and shoot him, before you get on the next one. Don’t shoot randomly into the “pack”.

Think of the freedom, we sometimes take for granted, to have the time and resources to be able to travel and enjoy our great outdoors! What a great country!

When saltwater fishing, never tie, always loop.

There were so many birds the answer was more hunters, not over limit shooting.

A while back, that gas well blew up and rearranged everything. We call it the Blow Out Hole now. Good fishing in the winter. I thought, So that’s why I never saw another boat fishing there.

Sometimes I am a slow learner, and once again tried to out run a big storm and failed.

If state records interest you, most times the state will keep the fish, and you can’t eat it.

No orange sauce for this Texas boy, we bar-b-qued all of the ducks that night, with a spicy, hot sauce and they were wonderful!

Who ever thought of Bull Frogs on a Deer lease?

I’m really lucky that the Cow didn’t step on all four of the decoys!

I am sure that while writing about Deer hunting, I will feel compelled to add a recipe for fried Duck breast.

An Unusual Hunt

Deciding to retire on May 1, 2005, to my ranch in Goldthwaite, Texas, had not been the difficult decision that I had expected. My son, Brad, had returned from his tour in Iraq and was looking forward to a safer tour of duty in Colorado. Months before my retirement I even planted some peach trees and I had just put in my garden, one of my “gifts” being a very green thumb!

In 2005, spring Turkey season opened on April 2, and not having the time in the past to indulge in this spring sport on my ranch, and since I was retiring on May 1, and especially, since my ranch lies in the middle of some fine Turkey country, I decided that I would try to get me one.

The alarm went off at 6:00 AM and up I jump, pull up my Wranglers, slip on some socks and my work boots, and tucking in my camo tee shirt, head out to my jeep. I wanted to get a good “start” on the Turkeys. I stepped out of our side door and, whoa, where am I? It is freezing and I go back and look at our inside/outside thermometer and see it is thirty-two degrees. It was in the mid sixties when we went to bed last night and the evening weather report did not include freezing temperatures.

Quickly my plans change. If it hasn’t already, I know there will be a frost and my peach trees and tomatoes are blooming. Covering them up is out of the question, so the only thing left is to water them and hope that the water will freeze over the blooms and prevent them from freezing.

Out of my work boots and on with my insulated boots and quickly putting on my insulated overalls I head out to the garden and apply a liberal dose of water to the peach trees and tomato plants. I will know soon if this works. Now on to the Turkeys, dawn is breaking crisp and clear, and I’m behind schedule.

After my hunt, I laughingly say I pulled a “Randy” and drove and parked the Jeep directly under the elevated blind. Randy, my son, has been known to do just this when he’s late to a hunt. Getting out of the Jeep, I sling my rifle a Ruger, Model 77, .22 caliber, magnum, with a 3 X 9 power, Weaver scope and climb up into the blind.

Laying the rifle down, I survey the blind. The windows are frosted and I can’t see out but I have disturbed two angry red wasps that found shelter from the cold in the blind. I open one window and out flies one of the wasps, while the other takes exception at my having disturbed him and attacks me. I parry his first attack with a handy seat cushion, then whack him a good one and down he goes, and “smush”, under foot he succumbs. Now hopefully, down to turkey hunting. I clean the frost off of the windows and open all of them to try and balance the temperature.

I sit down and load my rifle, thinking that no self-respecting Turkey would come within a mile of this blind with all the racket that I’ve made. Fifty yards in front of the blind is a food plot which I had just planted and some excess seeds were scattered about it, and to my surprise, out walks a Turkey hen and begins to make “hen sounds”, soft clucks, and starts picking up the seeds. I didn’t have a camera with me, but I have some great “mind pictures” of her.

She clucks and nibbles for almost fifteen minutes and I’m thinking to myself “I guess no tom is going to come along,” when the silence is broken by the loudest Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, I have ever heard. There, right next to the Jeep is a beautiful, multi colored, tom Turkey, in full strut, his wing tips touching the ground, slowly moseying toward the hen.

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, as he walks and struts right up to her, and making a fatal mistake, he turns away from me, and my scope comes to rest right in the middle of his back and, Bam! He jumps about five feet, straight up, feathers fly, and he walks off, the hen following. I quickly ejected the spent cartridge and quickly loaded and ejected another round before I caught myself. Nerves had hit me. I didn’t get a second shot.

Closing the windows, I unloaded my rifle and climbed down out of the blind and stepped off forty yards to where the Turkey had been standing, then heading off in the direction he took, I found him down, in a creek bottom, forty yards from where he was hit.

Once back at our ranch house, Spike, our miniature Dachshund, posed for pictures with me and the Turkey. Spike, who tracks and finds deer when we shoot one, took possession of the bird and guarded it until I loaded it into my truck and headed to a taxidermist in Lampassas.

The first, spring Turkey shot on my ranch is displayed in a flying mount, on a wall in the great room of our ranch house. I did save the tomatoes, having a “bumper” crop, which lasted until Thanksgiving! But the peaches were a different story. Off of four trees, I only harvested twelve of them.

Revenge Of The Fishermen, We Thought

During lunch hour one day in June of 1987, Dana Sawyer, R. E. “Bubba” Broussard, and I, went “shopping” at Sporting Goods, Inc., which in 1987, was the best hunting and fishing store in the area. During this specific trip, I bought a new fishing rod for $19.95

The reader has met Dana before in “The Sunken Shrimp Boat”. Bubba was a computer contractor and was the first customer I had met with when I returned to Houston in 1979. Layla was the second. On my first meeting with him, I happened to have a picture of the twelve-pound bass I caught in March of that year, which I promptly showed him. He responded by pulling out a picture of a six hundred pound Blue Marlin he had just caught. Our friendship was sealed and lasts till this day.

The rod in question was inexpensive. So inexpensive that it didn’t even have a name. But, its shaft extended all the way through to the end of the handle, it had a strong reel seat and trigger grip made of chromed steel, had a good reverse bend to it, had stainless steel eyes and it felt good to hold. It was six and a half foot long, with a medium to heavy action and I knew it would be just the right fit for my Ambassadeur 6500C, wide spool, reel, loaded with twenty-pound line. History would show that I had made a good buy.

I got to try the new rod out the next week, when Layla and I and Bubba and his wife went to Grand Isle, Louisiana, attempting to catch a Stripped Marlin. We caught everything but a Marlin. A hundred miles, yes a hundred miles out in a twenty-three foot, Formula with two, 455 cubic inch, engines and MercCruiser out-drives. A fifty-five MPH boat. We did have company, Jay Prudhome and his wife in Jay’s new twenty-seven foot Proline, with two, two hundred horsepower sea drives. The seas were calm with no wind. We went fast!

After a less than three hour run, one hundred miles out, we pulled up to acres of floating Sargassum sea weed and with my first cast with my new rod, I had a strike from a Chicken Dolphin (small Dolphin weighing less than five pounds) and the fun started. We boated over one hundred that morning. The new rod was fine. I filleted all of those fish before supper that night. During our fishing we lost many fish to sharks! They were a nuisance.

Around noon, I had a big hit and immediately knew it wasn’t a small dolphin. The fish was a great match for my new rod making a long run, it was too far offshore for a Kingfish, maybe a Wahoo, maybe a “bull” Dolphin, but no jumps, getting it alongside the boat we saw it was a eight to ten pound Albacore Tuna being followed by a large, six foot, Bull Shark. Bubba grabbed for his .357 Magnum as the shark clipped off the Tuna’s body right behind the head. The shark happily lolled on the surface long enough for Bubba to shoot it right in the middle of its head and, the last we saw of it, it was sinking. Revenge!

We slept in the next morning, and around 10:00 AM we headed out to some rigs to try and catch some really big Red Fish, thirty pounds and up. We randomly picked a rig, tied up to it, baited up and my new rod was bent double by a savage strike and a long, head shaking run “a big, big” Red! Fifteen minutes later we netted a thirty-five pound Red. He worked me, and my new rod out, but back into the water for him.

Not ten minutes later another savage strike, these fish mean business, and, after what seems like two hours, we boat and release a forty pound Red. My new rod did just fine. Mid morning in the middle of July, no breeze and the fish have really worked me and my new rod out, and, splash, cold, cold, splash, my lovely wife and my best friend have unceremoniously dumped an Igloo water cooler full of ice and cold, cold, water on my head to cool me off.

Layla now laughs about this, saying, “This is the only time I ever saw you loose your temper.” Which I did. Being a lady, Layla doesn’t approve of swearing, anyway I copied a page out of my Dad’s cussing book and the “Blue Streakers” started, and me trying to choke them both at once, and both of them laughing so hard, my temper cooled. They have never tried that again. Meeting Jay and his wife, we headed back out, one hundred miles, to our weed patch.

Fishing around our weed patch, we catch more chicken Dolphin and loose some fish to the sharks. We have a nice Dolphin on and up come a big Bull Shark and eats the Dolphin, lolls on the surface and we see the hole in its head where Bubba shot him yesterday. Incredible, the same shark and not dead! I guess he missed any vitals, if any happened to be up there.

Too Proud To Loaf

On February 12, 2007, I was going through a trove of old Bryan family momentoes and opening a box of keepsakes from my Uncle, E. Jay Bryan, who served in the Army during the Mexican Border Campaign with Gen. Pershing, and died in France during WW 1, well before I was born, I came across the following handwritten poem, author unknown to me.

It is my pleasure to share it with the readers.

E. Jay’s unit was Company F, 3rd Texas Infantry Regiment, Texas National Guard, from Falls County, Texas, charged with border defense. His Grandfather B. M. Bryan, my Great Grandfather, also defended along the Mexican border during the Mexican War of 1846/47 as part of a Texas Ranger contingent, Bell’s Rangers, also from central Texas. Today, our southern border still remains a real problem area. In my forefather’s times they just closed the border and ran the Mexicans back across.

Things were easier then before we became engulfed with Political Correctness and the disgusting pandering of our politicians. But, one thing remains, our country’s freedom is more important than politics!

Just like today, most of us, and definitely our military, loves this great country and remain proud to serve her!


We’re camping on the Rio Grande with nothing much to do,
But wash our shirts and darn our socks,
And darn the insects too.
We want the world to understand we’re not too proud to fight,
But draw the line at loafing here with things that sting and bite.

The Rattlers are a friendly lot and visit us by scores,
Tarantulas prefer our tents to sleeping out of doors.

In napping in our shoes and hats the scorpion persists,

We’ve learned the Horned Toad is a harmless little oaf,
We’re not a bit too proud to fight, but how we hate to loaf.”

A More Closer Encounter

The summer of 1957 found the fishing still good for small to medium trout around Galveston Island’s East Beach Flats and it also found me boatless, still in college and awaiting a six week stint at ROTC Camp at Ft. Hood. We had been hearing stories about the great fishing behind Earl Galceran’s camp and the old Coast Guard Station at the far west end of Galveston Island. How do we get to it?

Earl’s camp was really several thousand acres leased for Dove, Quail and Duck hunting, plus it had access to some of the best Trout water in the state. No bait used here, only Dixie Jet silver spoons with a yellow buck tail attached. Like the Rockport and Port O’Conner area today, grass grew in abundance and the pot-holes in the grass reminded me of holes in the moss in fresh water lakes. How do we get to it?

One of my ROTC buddies, a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, Ralph Foster, an avid, avid fisherman, had the idea that since we couldn’t sneak into the area, why didn’t he and I go ask Earl Galceran, already a fishing legend, if we could fish behind his place. We could sight our lack of funds, honesty and Ralph’s newly commissioned status as reasons we could be trusted not to do any damage to his property or equipment. Or, we could just go down there and act like members and wave and smile and just wade out and start fishing. We choose the latter approach, correctly thinking, “Always beg for forgiveness and never ask for permission.” We would plead ignorance of the private property and say we were just following the road to West Galveston Bay.

Arriving at the open gate to Earl Galceran’s we drove to a parking area, parked, grabbed our rods, and stringers and headed for the bay. Out came Earl Galceran, we smiled and waved, he smiled and waved and went back into his trailer. Whew! We must have looked like members.

Reaching the edge of the bay, a light Southeast wind blowing at our backs, as we looked out over Trout paradise, a slight ripple on green, clear water with grass growing and swirling right up to the surface. No hesitation now, in I go and find a hard sand/shell bottom and I can’t believe the grass. On my first cast, the spoon lands silently past a three foot hole in the moss and I begin a rapid retrieve and whamo, a three pound Trout nails the spoon and the fight is on! When a big trout hits, you know it, a jarring, pounding, rod bending hit, not the sideways, slow hit of a big Red picking up a shrimp. Landing the Trout bare handed, getting a firm grip behind its gills, I slid him on the stringer and looked over at Ralph who was in the middle of a fight with a nice fish also.

“This is some place,” I exclaimed, sailing another cast past a likely looking hole in the grass, and getting another whamo! The hook pulled out, no fish. What I didn’t know then, but have since learned, the Trout lurk in the grass beside the holes and ambush baitfish as they swim through the open area. Another cast, another jarring hit, and this one’s hooked solid and I’m soon stringing another three pounder. Several casts catch grass and before you know it, whamo, another fine fish soon to be on my stringer.
Thirty minutes of fishing, wonderful conditions, bait in the water, trout all around and three solid three pounders on the stringer. What a day this will be!

Wait a minute, my stringer is caught on something. That something hits my leg. That something is a shark! “Shark,” I yell, stepping back and looking down at my stringer, which is tied, not looped, onto a belt loop of my jeans. Another lesson learned, “Never tie, always loop.” Two bites and the shark, a four foot plus Black Tip, clips off the last two Trout on my stringer, swirls around me, brushing my leg again, and comes up to the surface and grabs the last Trout, all of this right by my right hand which is futilely trying to pull the fish away from the shark.

I hear Ralph laughing. I don’t think this is funny at all. I’m left with three trout heads on my stringer, heart racing and he’s laughing. I guess Earl Galceran kept these sharks around as pets to feed on his “guest’s” fish. I quickly got out of the water and sat on the bank for thirty or forty minutes cooling off and by that time Ralph, still laughing, came out of the water with five nice trout on his stringer. He said “You ready to call it a day.” I didn’t reply, just turned around and started back to the car.

I went back to this place by boat in 1970. A big chemical plant had been built in the mid 60’s, on one of the feeder bayous that feeds into Lower West Galveston Bay above Earl’s old place and the grass went away. Trout fishing changed in Lower West Bay to anchoring on reefs, fishing under the birds or drifting. Earl Galceran moved to a house boat set up in the Chandleur Islands off of the Louisiana/Mississippi coasts. From what I have heard, he took his sharks with him.

My buddy, Ralph Foster, went on active duty at Ft. Hood as a Platoon Leader in a basic training company. One of his recruits was Elvis Pressley.

Close Encounter

What do you do when a five foot Black Tip Shark hits your Speckled Trout outfit, runs fifteen yards towards you (I thought it was a big Red Fish.), jumps out of the water ten feet in front of you and then heads for Mexico, stripping off all your line?

In the summer of 1954 trout fishing had been very good along the broad sand flats from Galveston’s East Beach Lagoon around to the base of the South Jetties, a curving distance of approximately two miles protected from any wind except north or northeast.

This area was at the far eastern tip of Galveston Island and the western side of Bolivar Channel, which cuts between the island and the Bolivar Peninsula. This is also the mouth of the Galveston and Houston ship channels. It was good fishing and just plain fun to go down there and watch the ships and the girls. We always tried to plan our trips when the wind was light and the tide was coming in.

The week before today’s event my Cousin and fishing buddy, George Pyland, and I had made a “killing” on school trout on the north side of the flats. The fish were everywhere, plugs or live shrimp, even a bare hook. We spread the news among our fishing group and everyone awaited a break in the weather.

I get a early morning call from one of my partners in crime, Bill Brown, saying “Things look good for the flats this afternoon”. My reply was “I can’t. I have a date”. This was totally unacceptable to Bill. His girl friend didn’t like to go fishing and he was free today and tonight. My girl friend was game for anything. She didn’t fish but liked to wade out and watch us fish. After saying, “He would buy the gas”, all of $.18 per gallon, I called my girl and told her of the change in plans and she reluctantly agreed to go with us.

The tide was running in and the wind was light as we bought shrimp at Bobby Wilson’s East Beach Bait Camp and headed for the flats. Wading out about seventy-five yards to waist deep water, the fish were there and we started catching some nice Specs, up to two pounds. Bill, to my right, and I were about 30 feet apart and girl friend was behind me, my stringer floating off to my left with the breeze and incoming tide.

My cork goes under and as I set the hook I remark, “Hey, this is a real nice fish probably a Red”. I struggle to keep the line tight as the fish bores toward me, my companions watching intently. Ten feet in front of me a beautiful five foot long Black Tip Shark clears the water, mouth open, the teeth getting my attention, hits the water splashing some on me, and heads off to my right towards where I thought Bill was located. My valiant fishing partner and girl friend had already halved the distance to shore leaving alone me to battle the denizen.

Not much of a battle, fifteen pound braided line on a Shakespeare Direct Drive reel and a fiber glass popping rod, all being no match for an eighty pound shark. The shark headed to my right and I headed straight for the shore where my stalwart friends were waiting for me. At least the shark didn’t get the fish on our stringers!

This area, the East Beach Flats including Bobby Wilson’s Bait Camp no longer exists. Natural erosion assisted by a small hurricane that came up the channel in the mid 70’s, completely changed the landscape, eliminating one good fishing spot.

Girl friend never went wade fishing with me again.

Morning Hunt

The following story was written in 2006 by my Grandson, Austin Bryan. Using this blog to tell my stories wasn’t even on the horizon at that time. His Mom and Dad, Randy and Debbie, had the story reproduced and put into a very nice frame and gave it to me as a memento that I will cherish. The young man is off to a good start and I think honoring his effort and posting this to my blog would be something that he would cherish.

Austin was in the fourth grade, ten years old, and the story was his written composition portion of the TAKS test. He received a perfect score and was the only fourth grader in San Marcos ISD to receive a perfect score on this portion of the test.

Besides being a very good student, Austin is a talented athlete playing organized football, baseball and basketball. He lives with his parents, brothers and sister in San Marcos, Texas. He has two younger brothers, Sean and Jeremy, and a younger sister, Rebekah. His Dad, my Son, Randy, is Pastor of The Fellowship Of San Marcos Church.

Morning Hunt
By Austin Thomas Bryan

I groaned wearily as I got up from bed. My expression changed to happy once I got on my suit and selected my gun. I loved to hunt at the ranch, it was swarmed with deer.

I ran to the Jeep with the gun hanging over my shoulder. My grandpa said, “Hand me that gun and get me some bullets.” I sprinted to the gun case to retrieve the bullets. I opened the door and got them, then I ran back to the Jeep. My grandparents own several hundred acres and a few blinds (blinds are small towers). I opened the gate when we stopped. We couldn’t use a car from here or we’d frighten off the deer.

I slung the rifle over my shoulder and put the bullets in my pockets. I was so excited I could barely comprehend it. My grandpa marched ahead and fingered for me to follow him.

We had to trek through running water, endure cactus leaving red marks on our ankles, and my favorite look at the constellations glimmering like pools of diamonds. Which, to me, wasn’t a hardship whatsoever. I began to see faint whispers of the sun. I spotted the blind and climbed the ladder with my grandpa behind me. Once I got to the top I stepped into the blind. “Help me up,” my grandpa whispered. “Sure thing,” I answered softly.

I propped the window open and pointed the barrel of the gun outside. My eyes were propped open farther that the windows. I heard some leaves rustling. I paid even more attention. Suddenly a doe and a buck came out of the forest thicket. “Shoot them,” he said. I clicked the safety off. I aimed but was too excited. I finally got a good shot. “Bang,” went the gun.

The buck fell dead. “Congratulations,” my grandpa said, “Thanks,” I said. A large smile spread across my face. It was all thanks to this magical place.

Canadensis Maxima

In December of 1956 we left West University (then a Houston suburb) well before first light for the 30 minute drive to a rice field that we had permission to hunt on and spending over an hour spreading out our decoys, Wes Reynolds and I were laying along the edge of a levee in a harvested rice field of about eight hundred acres with a mud road bisecting it. Wes, four years younger than me, was a friend and neighbor and had been hunting with my Dad and I for several years. In the far northwest corner of the rice field, probably five thousand Geese had roosted the previous night and they now provided a serious impediment to our decoying efforts.

On the Katy prairie it was cold, with low hanging clouds and a steady north wind blowing, providing Wes and me a day made for Goose hunting. The early morning quiet was broken by the sounds of Geese squawking in the distance and we were doing our best to imitate these sounds and coax the six young Snow Geese to “come on in” and land with the large gaggle of geese, really our decoys, already on the ground, on this side of the large rice field.

Not your normal Goose decoy spread that you see now days with hundreds of large full body, plastic and foam ones, Geese “flying”, wings spinning rapidly, hunters dressed in white overalls packing 10 Gauge, 3 ½” magnum shotguns; but newspapers, old diapers, piles of mud with goose feathers stuck into them and hunters with “early” camo parkas and green waders packing, 12 gauge, pump shotguns with 2 ¾” paper shells. But it worked!

Setting out the decoys wasn’t rocket science. Spread the diapers over clumps of rice, wrap a full sheet of newspaper so it looks like a Goose head and set it on a clump of rice and attach a glob of mud to each in order to hold them so the wind won’t blow them away. The “mud” decoys were the easiest, just make a pile of mud and stick Goose feathers into in, not like a porcupine, but slicked back like a Goose.

Young Geese make mistakes, and these six did, setting their wings and “falling”, looking like leaves drifting down from a tall tree, right into the decoys and bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, four geese tumble to the ground. We pick them up and unceremoniously propped the Goose’s heads up with rice stalks and added them to the decoy spread.

Later in the morning, with two Specklebelly Geese down and added to the spread, Wes and I noticed the large gaggle of Geese in the northwest corner of the field become agitated, some starting to take off, some up and circling and a noisy cacophony of Goose sounds filling the air. We snuggled down behind the levee and waited, and soon were rewarded with the sight of thousands of Geese taking the air, and heading right toward us!

Over the noise of the Geese, I whispered to Wes, “Wait until the leaders have flown past, pick out a bird and shoot him before you get on the next one.” The noise of the approaching

Geese and the numbers of them were astounding to us as closer and closer they came. The leaders passing over us, the sound deafening, I shouted, “Take ‘em,” and we both stood and shouldered our shotguns, we both had two additional shells stuck between the fingers of our left hands, and let go on the Geese.

Picking out a huge Canadian, not over fifteen yards away from me, bigger than any goose I had ever seen, swinging, putting the barrel of the shotgun about 24 inches in front of the giant Goose’s bill and bam, the giant kept flying, quickly shucking another shell into the chamber of the full choked, Winchester, 12 Gauge, Model 12, bam again, nothing. Shortening my lead on the giant, bam again, nothing. Quickly reloading the two “back up” shells, the giant being long gone, I acquired new targets, two Snow Geese stretching out for altitude and dropped them cleanly, probably 40 yard shots. Looking over toward my younger accomplice, who was standing there shaking, I said, “How many did you knock down?” Wes replied, “I shot five shells and never hit a bird. I got excited and shot into the flock on my first three, reloaded and just kinda’ shot at another Goose. Nothing!”

As we picked up our “decoys”, the diapers, newspapers and goose feathers, I remarked, “Eight birds isn’t bad, but you should have seen the one I took three shots at and missed. It was twice as big as the rest of the Geese. I first thought it was a Swan, but it had distinctive Canadian Goose markings. I don’t know how I could have missed it?”

Driving home, we thought our eight Goose day should have counted at least a dozen, but when we got home, my Dad almost lectured us, saying, “Boys, whenever you can go out, on your own and get eight, nice Geese, be thankful of that, and I don’t want to hear anymore grumbling about it!” I said, “But Dad, I really messed up not getting that giant Goose and I still don’t know how I missed three shots at fifteen yards.” My Dad replied, “Boy, that’s easy, at fifteen yards the pattern of your shotgun has probably a six inch diameter and the shot string length is probably ten inches at the most. It’s easy, you led the Goose too much!”

Later that day, Wes and I were talking with a neighbor Dave Miller, who hunted Ducks and Geese regularly with our Dads. He told us, “The giant Canadian Goose that you missed was a Canadian Goose alright, a Canadensis Maxima, the largest of the species and supposedly extinct since1922! However, several sightings of the giants have been reported during the past few years.”

Thinking out loud I replied, “Missing those three shots wasn’t so bad after all.