Wounded Warriors

In the November 24, 2010. Goldthwaite Eagle, Steve Bridges the Editor said, “I have already had quite a few landowners willing to host Wounded Warriors for a doe and spike hunt in January. We are still in the planning phase. But I am proud of all of the Mills County landowners willing to serve our Country!”

This writer was one of the many to sign up and volunteer to provide a hunt. It will be a nice, post Christmas gift to some of our Wounded Warriors. These troopers have made tremendous, sacrifices, many with horrible wounds and amputations, others with wounds that you can’t see, like PTSD, these sacrifices made for everyone in our Country and this is the least that some of us in Mills County, Texas can do to show our appreciation for them.

The Mills County, Wounded Warrior hunt will be held during the State’s Special Late General Session, January 3-16 and antlerless and spike bucks are the only deer that can be taken. The dates for the hunt haven’t been selected, but this hunt will provide benefits to both the hunters and the landowners; excess game can be harvested while, at the same time, providing good, outdoor recreation for our troopers. It’ll be a win-win for everyone!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about our Wounded Warrior hunting project. Across the country, who else will hold, or is contemplating, holding one of these?

More Outdoors Pictures, November 27, 2010

This past Monday, I moved the game camera to along a very well used game trail and the results were surprising. Thanksgiving morning, after picking up Wesley and Paul from their unsuccessful hunt, we stopped by the game cam and changed out the 2 GB memory card and displaying its contents on my PC, we got a couple of neat pictures.

First, at 4:00 AM on the 23rd, the deer, later shown to be an 8 pointer, walks away from the camera.

Then at 7:00 AM on the same day, probably the same deer, with a much better picture of his 8 points, is again walking along the same trail. Earlier in the year the buck must have been injured on his right side, because his left horns are smaller, or else broken off from fighting. This is the first time we’ve seen or photographed this deer. He’s really patrolling this trail, because he must know something we don’t know!

On the 25th a spike comes browsing along. Opening morning, this spike, or his twin, came walking along the same trail and I passed on shooting him, saving it for the grandsons.

Thanksgiving morning, a big norther came blowing in, bring with it heavy clouds, a 20-25 MPH wind and cold temps. The temp at noon was 41 and still dropping, however, this didn’t stop the hunters with Layla, Sean and 7 year old, Will taking to the big blind and seeing a couple of doe and one spike that Sean couldn’t get on quick enough. Paul and Wesley climbed into the tree stand and in the real thick stuff, didn’t see anything. The norther really slowed down the deer movement

My Fourth Deer Hunt

Now, it was only 2 years between deer hunts and as far as I was concerned, the wait wasn’t worth it, but I’d better get with the program. Because, earlier in the deer season, my 8 year, old son, Brad, had shot and helped his Pap-Paw Buck clean his first deer.

Getting a nice promotion with the large computer company meant that I would have a staff that reported to me. At the insistence of one of my staff, who also happened to be a long time friend, Bob Lindsey, I accepted his invitation to drive out to his ranch that was on I-10, between Columbus and Alleyton, Texas and shoot one of the many bucks that, he said, literally infested the place. He also asked Jim Rodgers to come out and get one too. Jim also worked for me so he and I planned to hunt at Bob’s in the morning then drive south on F.M. Road 102 to Eagle Lake and hunt some ducks on another friend, Sonny Simpson’s, place.

Taking the relatively short drive from our homes, in west Houston, out I-10 to Bob’s ranch, we arrived a good hour before sun up. He had a nice breakfast ready for us and after eating we headed out to our stands, or so I thought. My “stand” was seated on the ground against a post oak tree and I thought, Huh, this is no way to treat your boss! Having borrowed my brother’s M-1 carbine, I just knew that I would get a shot at a buck. Bob had cautioned us, since he didn’t have any doe permits left, please don’t shoot a doe.

Bucks only, so I sat myself down and leaned against my tree eagerly waiting for my buck. A lot of doe, a dozen or more, walked by, some as close as 20 yards, but no bucks.
Because I could sit still no longer, finally, an hour and a half later, I gave up,. Getting up, unloading my carbine, I looked up and there stood, I thought I could reach out and touch him, a spike! I’m sure he was wondering what that funny looking lump of something was beside the tree, but finally, after admiring each other we finally turned and walked off.

No deer this time so Jim and I loaded up and drove down Farm/Market Road 102 towards Eagle Lake. The road ran right by Sonny’s property, so we stopped, opened the gate, drove in, shut the gate and took the long way around so we could check the stock tank for ducks, or the lack thereof. There was a copious amount of ducks on the tank so we got out and slipped on our waders. The waders were needed to retrieve the ducks we hoped we’d shoot.

Walking up behind the tank dam, we crept up, peeped over the edge and saw a lot of ducks, mallards, gadwall and widgeons and I whispered over to Jim, “Pick out the big ones.” We jumped up, the ducks exploded off the water and we let loose, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom and the ducks started falling to the water. We counted 4 mallards, 2 gadwall and 1 widgeon, lying still or flopping around. Dispatching the floppers, Jim looked over to me and said, “Boss, I’ll go in and get the ducks, you stay here.” I quickly agreed with him!

Jim collected the first 5 ducks, but the last 2 caused him problems because, walking toward the 2, he was up to the top of his waders. Calling out to Jim I told him I could “chunk” the ducks toward him, but he just walked on out, the water sloshing over the top and down inside. We’d already had two cold fronts so the water was cold, he yelled suddenly when the water hit him, but walked on out, picked up the 2 mallards and walked back, sloshing, up on the bank.

This is one of the times that it really paid off being the “boss”!


Grunting is a funny name for a story, but this past Sunday morning, for Tim Albee, it was the secret for bagging a nice buck! Tim came over from Copperas Cove to have a go at a deer. He’s a black powder shooter and has been over 3 times, with no success, choosing not to take some long shots.

A little more about Tim; he’s in the 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood; served with my son, Brad, in Iraq in the 1/7 Cavalry, Custer’s old unit; was a Bradley Fighting Vehicle Platoon Sergeant; is a Senior NCO still on active duty and has survived over 40 IED blasts!

Before sun up, for today’s hunt Tim was hunting in Brad’s old, Porta Potty blind, pictured below.

Sunday morning at 7:15 I was eating breakfast, Layla came in, poured her a cup of coffee, with our dog, Spike and cat, Bo, she opened the door to go outside to enjoy the morning and we both heard a, Boom! She said, “Sounds like Tim got a shot.”

Later when I came home from Sunday School there was Tim with rubber gloves on, sleeves rolled up, with a big smile from ear to ear! Asking how he did, he replied, “I got a nice buck!” And walking behind the old, rock house, the buck, an 8 pointer, was hanging up and Tim relayed to me the story of how this nice buck ended up as cutlets.

He said, “Sitting in the blind, I hadn’t seen anything and all of a sudden in your neighbor’s field, about 200 plus, yards away, there was a buck walking along. Grunnttt, grunnttt, twice I grunted, the buck stopped in his tracks, ran over and jumped the fence into your property and to get the wind, began circling the grunting. Stopping over a hundred yards directly downwind from me, he never caught my scent. He was behind some cedar trees and I didn’t have a clear shot, so grunnttt, grunnttt, two more times and he came running in, stopped and gave me a flank shot and I let loose, knocking the buck down. As the smoke cleared, he got back up ran 15 yards and fell in the road that goes down to the tree stand.”

Currently, at Ft. Hood, Tim is a financial analyst with the Family Advocacy Program and has on occasion worked with soldiers in The Wounded Warrior Program. This fits in nicely with the Goldthwaite Eagle’s proposal being offered to our Wounded Warriors of a deer hunt during the January, 2011 special Doe and Spike season. This will be a nice, post Christmas gift to some of our Wounded Warriors and the least some of us in the County can do to show our appreciation for the sacrifices they have made!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about our Wounded Warrior hunting project. Across the country, who else is starting, or contemplating, holding one of these?

My Third Deer Hunt

Between high school, college, the U.S. Army, marriage and children, my business career, duck and goose hunting, fishing and church, little time was left for deer hunting and I certainly didn’t miss it! However, with the elimination of screw worms and the devastation they wrought on the cattle industry and the deer population, deer herds in our fine, State flourished, soon almost everyone had became a deer hunter. Twenty-eight years after my Dad took me to El Campo for my second try at deer hunting, my third chance came up unexpectedly and it turned out to be a doozy!

One of my computer customers, Larry Earle, controller of a large manufacturer in Houston, asked me and several other of his suppliers to accompany him to his company’s hunting lease near Sanderson, Texas. Sanderson is way out in west Texas, 80 miles west of Langtry, the home of the infamous Judge Roy Bean, see my June 13, 2007 post “The Law West Of The Pecos”. The lease offered a copious amount deer, turkey and scaled, or blue, quail, aka scalies.

To crowd in a Friday afternoon hunt, we left Houston before sun up and girded ourselves for the 9-hour, drive out to Sanderson. Late that same afternoon, with a borrowed 30.06 rifle, here I was, for the first time in my life, in a raised deer blind, overlooking a dry wash, with a corn feeder perched on a rise, two hundred yards to my front. I had been assured the rifle “shot where I held it”, later, this claim turned out to be false!

Sitting for almost an hour, a hundred yards out, on their way to the feeder, walked 7 or 8 turkeys, two being gobblers and I was in awe of the copper/bronze sheen of the sun’s reflection on their backs, these being the first wild turkeys I’d ever seen. One stopped and looked my way, centering the scope where its neck attached to the body, bam, I let fly, and I saw the bullet strike between the birds feet, human error, I thought. Cranking in another shell, bam, another shot, same low results, now the turkeys were in full speed escape mode. No more shots for me as I sat back and watched the desert for the hour of sunlight left. It turned out the riflescope had been banged on something and, as it was, was shooting 18 inches low at 100 yards!

Saturday was quail hunting day, or more like quail running day! We chased the scalies in a Jeep and on foot, from just after breakfast until sundown and four of us bagged over 30 of the runners. Two years later I would move to Arizona and find out what “runnin’ quail” really meant! We had a great hunt saw and ran over a lot of rugged, west Texas, country side with only one downside. We ran up a skunk and as the Jeep was pulling away, I ran to it, jumped up on the bumper, went to climb into the back, my foot slipped and coming down, I cracked two ribs on the sharp, little, tail gate. Ouch, this slowed me down for the rest of the hunt!

With my ribs hurting, the foreman put me in a “can’t miss” blind for a deer on Sunday mornings hunt, an elevated stand, 40 yards away from a deer feeder. A front had come in overnight, a big wind was blowing from the north and it was cold, so much for a comfortable deer hunt. My blind was a metal stand, attached to 12-foot poles and painfully climbing in, at least there was a wind break as I awaited shooting time.

Nothing happened as the sun came up, then at 8:15 AM, the feeder went off and as if on queue, here came the doe, no problem except that our fine State had a permit system for harvesting doe and I, being a greenhorn deer hunter, hadn’t asked the foreman for a permit. The rancher had to apply, a game count was taken, permits were issued, at least that was the way it was supposed to happen, but “the good ole’ boy system prevailed in south Texas! Stopping counting at 20, with my rib hurting at each breath, I decided not even to try to shoot one, worrying would he give me a permit, was the rifle’s scope aligned OK, how could I exert the force to clean one, how even, could I get up and over the blind to climb down? Now years, and many deer later, these worries were nothing. So, all I could do then was to sit and wait for the foreman to come and pick me up.

One last chance at hunting was a sweep to be made down a brushy draw, said to be a morning feeding spot for turkeys. Volunteering for this one, it dawned on me that I only had #8 shot, no 4’s or 5’s, which are best for turkey. Pampering my rib, the other hunters said they would walk slowly and we creeped down the wash. Not a hundred yards into our slow walk, in front of me, glimpsing its beard as it took off, up jumped a gobbler, I aimed for the head like leading a mourning dove and let fly, boom, the big bird wavered in flight, crumpled up and fell to the ground, a lucky shot!

Having enough of this fun for the morning, I picked up the turkey and headed back to the Jeep to wait for the hunters to finish their sweep of the wash. Thinking all the way back, something always gets in the way of deer hunting, maybe I’ll stick to birds, ducks and geese?

More Outdoors Pictures, November 18, 2010

My Senior Softball buddy, Ev Sims, has a ranch in Jackson County, Texas, but for some quick afternoon hunts he keeps a small place west of Houston, outside of Hockley. This is part of the Katy Prairie and the location of me missing 3 shots at a greater Canadian goose. See one of my original posts of February 3, 2007, “[Canadensis Maxima]” for the story. This is the same area I hunted for almost 50 years and once it was prime goose and duck hunting, but now, like most of our State, it has a lot of deer. Ev bagged this buck on November 14th.

On November 12 after I shot the big, buck, I moved the game cam to a new spot along a game trail, much closer to the tower blind and just after midnight this bruiser ambled by.

Then later in the morning, after sun up, two 2012 bucks stopped for a picture.

Later the afternoon of the 13th, just before dark, this whopper showed up.

Saturday evening, this 2011/12 buck was heading the other way.

Monday morning found me posted in the tower blind, but with the nice buck “in the bag”, my interest wasn’t there so I decided to go change out the 2mg memory chip in the game cam, but, looking and looking, I couldn’t find it. Finally I did and if anyone would have seen me walking around lost, looking for the camera, they’d thought that I wasn’t all there!

It was interesting that I shot the big, buck early on Friday and all this activity occurred late that evening on into the morning. The wind had laid and the rut was smokin’! In fact, Tuesday night Layla and I were returning from a Goldthwaite, ladies basketball game and one buck, an 8 pointer, that we hadn’t seen before, had two, obviously hot doe, cornered against the fence along the County Road. The buck wouldn’t move, we didn’t push him with the Suburban and we sat for at least 5 minutes. Finally, with the buck standing not 15 feet from the hood, both doe chickened out and high tailed it! Over the fence the buck went and so much for our standoff.

A New Rifle

Having just purchased a new Remington .243, this past Monday I was on-line shopping for rifle ammo. Googling “rifle ammo” up popped some familiar names, but one, The Sportsmen’s Guide was new to me. Not only, did I find the .243 Remington [ammo] that I was looking for, but also, I found that their price for this product was low, extremely low!

Normally I shoot and reload a .270 and that will remain my primary rifle for our Texas hill country deer, but since I haven’t purchased bulk bullets yet, I’ll order the [ammo] from Sportsmen’s Guide and go ahead and sight it in with store bought. We’re almost overrun with varmints, see my posts on November 8, 2010, “[Opening Day]” and January 21, 2010, “[Deer Season Ends]”, the .243 will be great for anything around here including hogs and coyotes.

My Second Deer Hunt

My Dad really tried to determine if I would like to take up deer hunting; first try was on the Goree State Prison Farm, see my November 5, 2010 post, “[My First Deer Hunt]”. My second hunt was easy to remember because I got so, so cold! Three weeks after my first hunt, in the rain, on a Friday afternoon my Dad and I drove down outside of El Campo, Texas to visit with one of his friends and then hunt with him on Saturday morning.

We visited Friday evening and were up way before sunrise on Saturday and his friend prepared us a hearty breakfast. During the meal my Dad’s friend told us to go ahead and shoot a buck or doe, hmmm I thought, I knew doe were protected and no bag limits existed. “Doe are OK”, I asked? My Dad’s friend only reply was, “Camp meat”! Being 12 years old I didn’t continue this line of questioning and went back to my pancakes.

The rain had stopped during the night, but it was cold and drippy wet as we went out the back door, unusually cool weather this close to the Texas coast, but all 3 of us slogged the one, mile plus to our spots beside a wooded, flooded, boggy creek. We were all armed with 20 gauge shotguns loaded with #1 buckshot. My Dad got the first spot, a makeshift tree stand, six-feet off the ground and I was placed on a stump 75 yards up the creek. My Dad’s friend went on farther up the creek and not hearing him sloshing around, I figured he had found a good place.

Light was breaking and I noticed my feet were getting cold, everything else was OK; full sun up, my feet were now real cold even though I had on wool socks and rubber hip boots, back then I had no idea that the rubber boots were champions at conducting the cold right to my feet. My hands were getting cold too, my wool lined, leather gloves not doing the job.

Two hours in, my hands and feet were too cold to worry about deer hunting when, plop, plop, a pair of beautiful, wood ducks dropped into the creek not 20 yards to my right. They swam in tight circles, the male with his colorful plumage, the female almost drab next to him. Since they were to my right, to try for a shot, even with bucks, I had to swivel 90 degrees and as I swiveled, with a splash, off they took!

Murmuring to myself as I walked back toward my Dad, “Enough of this fun” and passing him, I called out, “I’m going back to the house and get warm!” Soon my Dad and his friend came in, neither having seen a deer and after a couple of sandwiches, we headed back to our house in West University.

Having sufficiently warmed up, as we drove back toward Houston, I said to my Dad, “Daddy, this deer hunting isn’t too much fun. I believe I’ll stick to quail and doves” and I did for the next 28 years!

Cedar Fever vs. Hunting

Finally, after somewhat overcoming my bad case of cedar fever, on the 11th, I gutted up and hunted both in the morning and afternoon. There’s a cool snap coming this weekend and the high winds, 20-25, are playing hob with the deer movement. The only “shot” I got was of a real, dark deer walking under my tree stand, maybe my melanistic?

Thursday morning there was a lot of doe movement and I only saw one spike that I’m trying to save for the grandsons. Thursday afternoon I moved to another spot and one six pointer walked right under my tripod. This is next year’s deer and not wanting to spook it, I refrained from taking a “shot”.

More on cedar fever, a seasonal allergy that occurs usually in late October and early November and effects most folks in central Texas! It is caused by our copius amount of cedar trees that bloom or pollinate during this time. It starts with a scratchy throat, soon followed by a post-nasal drip, then eyes, ears and nose start running. If home remedies such as Echinacea, honey and cinnamon, saline spray and saline gargle don’t work, you’re a candidate for antihistamines. The last resort, that generally cures it, is a steroid shot.

However, ignoring my cedar fever, bright and early Friday morning I was in the tripod stand that Layla and I built, see my October11, 2010 post “[A New Tower Blind]” for more details. The wind was howling, my attempts at quietness being broken by sniffles and hacks, I was sure I wouldn’t see a deer, so I gave myself 10 more minutes, then I’d go on in. Two minutes into my time limit, out walked my melanistic, yearling, only 6 or 7 months old. Picking up the camera to get a “shot” of her, out walked a buck, a nice one and certainly a shooter.

As they “introduced” themselves, not 20 feet from my tripod, it ran through my mind that these would make some great pictures, but this was quickly overridden by my predatory instincts and shouldering my .270, quietly taking it off Safe and centering it just below the shoulder, I let fly, boom!

Down went the deer for keeps, so I gathered up my rifle, camera and binocs, climbed out of the tripod and headed in to get Layla and Spike the wonder daschund. Spike likes to “find” the deer for me and with his great nose there’ll be one time he’ll really be needed. This time it was just for his practice. He was so possessive of this buck that I had to take him back to the jeep and didn’t get any pics of him and the deer.

More Outdoors Pictures, November 12, 2010

Ev Simms, a Senior Softball buddy, sent me this picture of a coyote he bagged on his ranch in Jackson County, Texas. It’s a nice one!


He waited all day Saturday and Sunday morning in one blind for the big deer they’d seen on their game cams. His son hunted the same blind Sunday afternoon and got this beauty!

On November 2, just before good, light a buck came in to browse on the corn outside of the feeder enclosure. His rack size is undeterminable.

Here’s another “shot” of my melanistic deer.

This “shot” of two doe fighting qualifies as the most unusual one of the year. It was almost topped by the same doe, or another one, in the background of the second picture, fighting with, perhaps, my melanistic deer. It’s either a training session for the yearling, or the doe has picked a fight with an undersized opponent!