Eldred Lawrence was a friend of Buck, my former father-in-law and we had been acquaintances in years past, but hadn’t seen one another in 8 or 10. Purely by chance, on a Saturday afternoon in 1990, he and I met up. At the time he was looking for another gun on a 2,000 acre, quail/dove lease down in Crystal City, Texas. The next day Layla and I drove down, looked it over and quickly decided it would work out fine for us.
Being on the lease for three years, from first hunt to last, this was some of the consistently best shooting I have ever experienced! It was a three-hour plus drive from our home in Cypress, so I could leave at 5:00 AM and be hunting by 8:30, then be back by 8:30 PM and, thinking back, gas prices were around $.75 per gallon.
In January of 1992, Randy, and I had planned a hunt to tie in with quail season and the special dove season and, wouldn’t you know it, one of us had a conflict. He had to be back to Cypress by 6:00 PM for an event at his church. This past summer, Randy had received, and accepted, the call to enter the ministry and had just entered Southwest Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth, so we decided to leave early and try to get away right after lunch.
Just outside of Crystal City. Gus and I are “on point” and walking in on the birds.
We arrived early, it was a chilly morning for south Texas, and along with Gus, my Brittany, were hunting as the sun came up. The shooting was good and within an hour we had half limits of quail. We were hunting around an old WW II, Quonset hut full of milo seeds. Milo is a sorghum grass that heads out and is harvested for cattle food and both white wing and mourning dove, along with quail, find the seeds irresistible. As we walked toward the hut we could see the doves swarming around it.
Randy picked a spot at one end of the hut and I got on the other, the shooting was fast and furious, so we took a break and counted up, both of us had our limits. We stopped shooting and both said this was too easy!
Gus was worn out from retrieving doves. He would sit by my leg, run out and get each bird I shot, then run back and let me take it from his mouth. He was coughing and spitting out feathers because when a dog picks up a dove, his teeth will cause the feathers to come out in his mouth. Since we had a time limit and our dog was worn out, I revived him with a can of dog food and soon he was ready to hunt some more.
Randy and I enjoyed the break and by 10:00 AM we were chasing a bevy of “blues”, (scalies or scaled quail), noted runners and the race was on. The bob’s on this lease were excellent runners, but the “blues” left them in the dust. This covey ran us and left us panting, but we thinned their numbers by 6 birds. And soon, we ran across another covey of bobs and filled out our limits.
Taking stock of our situation we knew that we each had limits of doves, along with limits of quail and looking at my watch I saw it was 11:00 AM. We sat down, skinned the quail, breasted the doves and by noon our hands were washed, the birds iced and we were headed home. Randy made his activity on time and since 2004, he’s been a Baptist Pastor in San Marcos, Texas.
Four limits in four hours, on two species of game, still stands as a family record.