At 5:00 PM this past Wednesday afternoon, I had defied logic and was sitting behind a tree scouting for deer. What’s illogical about that? The tree that I was hiding behind was in the feed lot, not two hundred feet from the east side of my house and by dark, within fifty yards of my hide, I had seen eleven does and two young bucks! My cover was so sparse that I couldn’t lift up my camera for pictures.In the thick fog Thursday morning, on my ranch,near Goldthwaite, Texas, sitting in a tree stand by a food plot, I had only seen four yearling does. Then it dawned on me, the bucks will be close to where the does are!
So, then and there, I decided that I would convert one of the partial round bales of hay in the feed lot, into a blind of sorts and see if that would provide me sufficient cover to get a shot. Moving the hay around for a makeshift ‘blind’ proved to be easy, but the hard part was angling into the chair so only the top of my camo’d head would show. Thursday afternoon found me ‘scrooched’ into a bale of hay, watching a spike about a hundred yards away down a lane in the trees, stop and rub his head against an overhanging limb, put his back legs together and urinate over his glands on to the obvious scrape. In quick succession, he would be the first of four more bucks, a six pointer and three shooters, to repeat this act. This was a first for me. I’ve seen one buck ‘work’ a scrape, but never two and certainly not five and don’t ask me why I watched and didn’t shoot!
A doe walked across the clearing not forty yards in front of me, followed by the spike. Soon the spike beat a quick retreat and I got ready. Out walked this nice buck, guessing his age on the hoof, probably four and a half with heavy body, wide horns and muscular neck. He looked at the doe as I centered my cross hairs in the heart, lung area, bam, down he went and bounced back up, ran for twenty or so feet and fell dead!
During the fall, through junior high, high school, college and my first 2 jobs, my afternoons, when not otherwise occupied, were spent outside of Fairchild, in Ft. Bend County, Texas, hunting on the Vacek, Stavinoah and Franek farms. From 1949 until 1969 this was a Dove and Duck hunting paradise for my Dad and I! Today this area encompasses a huge, Reliant Energy, power plant and an upscale subdivision. Progress and municipal sprawl equates to loss of hunting grounds!
Mr. Vacek was an Uncle of one of my Dad’s employees, and us getting to hunt down there started innocently enough with my Dad buying eggs and fresh produce from them. It was also a pleasant, 30 minute, afternoon drive for us, and soon, Mr Vacek, said, “Bryan and Jonny, vy don’t you come shoot ‘dem Dove and Duck covering my place?” That was all the invitation we needed and Mr. Vacek even got us permission to hunt on the other 2 properties.
From mid September until Duck season we concentrated on Doves then switched our pursuits to the Ducks. Mostly they were in a wooded, creek bottom that is now gone, covered by the power plant’s cooling lake.
Mr. Vacek would call my Dad and say, “Bryan, them bottom got ‘dem Ducks” and off we’d go. I remember several occasions when my Dad even got me out of school on “an emergency” to go hunting. He correctly surmised that being out hunting with him, would keep me out of trouble and teach me valuable lessons for the rest of my life. He was correct!
The hunting was excellent, sneaking the Ducks in the bottom or pass shooting Doves in the cut milo and corn fields, but one trip taught me a valuable lesson. Taking another computer salesman with me one afternoon almost cost me “big time”! I had loaned him one of my shotguns and explained its action to him and I was leading us down a small creek on our “sneak” of a bunch of Ducks, when Boom!!!
His shotgun exploded and the shot plowing into the ground right beside my foot and I froze. I turned around and checked the safety, and sure enough, in his excitement, he had clicked it off, accidentally touched the trigger and almost blew my leg off!
This taught me three valuable lessons, never loan out a shotgun, always try to walk abreast with another hunter and don’t take a “cicero” hunting until you’re sure of his capability and judgment! This man and I remained friends and neighbors until his untimely death in 1990 but we never hunted together again, we fished a lot, but no more hunting!
Both my Dad and Mr. Vacek died in 1969 and I moved away and when I returned to Houston in 1979, the power plant had gobbled up our hunting area.