More Outdoors Pictures, April 30, 2014

The turkey gobbler is still hanging around, I guess the hens have him kept him coming by.  His beard is dragging the ground in this “shot”.

Next, the turkey hen showed up after dark, she’s obviously nesting.  She is walking a tightrope coming by after dark, especially with the bobcat coming around!  The bobcat just missed the turkey in the previous “shots’ and bobcats seem to know when sheep, goats, turkeys, squirrels, rabbits and other varmints are nesting.
Finally, the peacock came by, notice his comb, he’s a real pretty bird, but would be a good meal for the bobcat.  I have no idea where this bird came from or how long he’s been gone.  We’ll see how long he stays around.

More Outdoors Pictures, April 25, 2014

More turkey hens graced my “backyard”, but I caught this gobbler wooing and finally succeeding with one of the hens, right in my “backyard” of all things.  Impervious to the clicking of the camera, really I shot these pictures through the kitchen window!  I made these pictures on April 19th.
Laura came out Wednesday afternoon and as she was looking out the kitchen window she spied another turkey hen, she watched it for a while, then still looking out the window, she exclaimed, “Poppy, I see something outside that doesn’t compute, what is it?”  Looking outside, I exclaimed too, “That’s a peacock, wonder what’s it’s doing walking in the field, I bet it’s going to the feeder?”  We watched as it walked past some brush and was lost to sight, on it’s way to the corner feeder (probably).
I took these 2 pictures as it was walking.  This was a first for me seeing a peacock!

Struttin’ Through The Yard

Being on the telephone with Mrs. Bush, not the former presidents wife, but the president of the Marble Falls Chapter of the Son’s Of The American Revolution (SAR), looking out my kitchen window, to my surprise, was a turkey hen!  Mrs. Bush had just told me that everything was fine with my application, but I cut her off with, “A hen turkey just walked through my yard.”  Having my camera handy I took these pictures of her as she walked.
Having collected the cards from the game cameras on this past Wednesday, this gobbler has been hanging around the corner feeder.  Being released from the DL I think that I’ll try my hand at this turkey and, no, I didn’t hunt while I was on the DL, but I wanted too!
The beard on the first picture barely shows, but on the second one, the beard shows clearly.

High Pressure

This tale is about a fishing trip that got blown out! High winds prevented us from going out more that 2 miles.

Quota achievement with my company was rewarded each year with an event at a very fashionable location and this quota year’s was in Miami Beach. Ample free time allowed us to choose from several prepaid options, offshore fishing, sightseeing, golf, tennis and, of course, I picked fishing, however there was one drawback.

High pressure was dominating the area causing the wind to really be blowing in from the ocean, 30 steady, gusting to 40. This, in turn, built up the normally moderate seas to 8 to 10 feet and most charter Captains were reluctant to even venture out, citing boat safety. One Captain finally agreed to take his boat out, but he said to us, “If anyone gets seasick, don’t blame me.

The 4 of us on the charter loaded up our gear on the, 36 footer and the Captain took the boat down the channel, turned left (to port) and headed toward the ocean. Before we cleared the jetties the seas were already building and once we cleared them, the seas were almost monstrous. Up, down, the boat was shuddering, we were already wet from the wind and spray and, frankly, I was concerned for our safety and how the Captain was going to come about and head back in.

We hadn’t even covered a mile, a mile of a lot of ups and downs, when the first case of seasickness hit us. A female salesman from Chicago rushed to the side, then a salesman from Oklahoma City followed suit, but both of them, even though they were sick, soldiered on. Both my friend from Houston and I, being experienced boaters, were starting to get a little “green” feeling, even the Mate was turning pale and the Captain laughed and looked down at all of us and said, “You all asked for it!”

The Mate said to me, “We’re less than 2 miles out and I hate to think about putting the lines out and I’m even getting sick.” Hearing that, I climbed up to the upper cockpit and sat down beside the Captain, leaned over and said, “Calf rope, we’ve had enough! Take us back in.” The Captain replied, “Me Too”, we skillfully topped a wave, cut the wheel to the right, powered up, slid into the trough, and climbed up the backside of the next wave! My earlier worries were unfounded.

At a faster clip, we rode the waves back in, cleared the jetties, picked up speed and turned to starboard back up the channel to the marina. With the seas smoothing out and our boat picking up speed, everyone was feeling better. By the time we docked the boat and the saleslady from Chicago and the salesman from Ok City, touched the dock, they we’re miraculously healed! As we got out of the boat, the rest of us felt much better too!

An Unusual Catch

The period of my life from 1960 to 1964 was spent finishing up my Army Reserve duty, working three jobs and welcoming my first child, Brad. All of this left precious little time for any outdoor activities. However, several times during this period I did have the opportunity to spend a Saturday hunting or fishing in the Trinity River bottoms, between Dayton and Liberty, Texas.

We would enter “The Bottoms”, as we called it, at a remote place near Dayton, at the Kennefic Fire Tower then proceed down seven miles of probably the worst road in the United States. This road was always flooded, mud axel deep on a jeep, deceiving ruts that covered bogs and the home of the largest mosquitoes on the Gulf Coast.

In March of 1964, my dad and I, along with our redneck, friend from Philadelphia, Mississippi, John Henley, braved the bad road with John’s Jeep and hauled a twelve foot aluminum boat into the oxbow lake. Surprisingly, going into “The Bottoms” we only got stuck twice, no problem with a big winch and a lot of cable!

John took out for an afternoon of squirrel hunting, while my dad and I hefted the boat into the lake for a go at some bass. We would meet at twilight to head back to civilization. This oxbow lake was, in reality, an old river channel that always had water in it but the depth varied according to rain and subsequent flooding of the Trinity River. The river hadn’t flooded this year so the lake was down a little.

We both were “armed” with six foot, bait casting rods and red, casting reels loaded with fifteen, pound line. My bait of choice was a yellow, Piggy Boat spinner and my dad was using one of his favorites, a Pico Perch, a swimming bait with a tantalizing wiggling action. The action was hot and heavy and during our afternoons fishing, I don’t believe we changed our lures one time!

After we launched the boat, for silences sake before casting, we paddled up the lake for a hundred yards. My first cast was met with a solid strike and the fish, a two-pound, bass, took to the air, spending more time jumping than in the water. Dad’s second cast was a duplicate of mine, so within five minutes, we had already boated two bass! The bass kept hitting and within an hour we had a good mess for supper and started culling the fish, only keeping the good ones. Several times during the afternoon we heard John’s .22 crack, so we knew that he too was scoring on some squirrels.

Casting into a likely spot, just as the spinner hit the surface, I had a savage strike, but didn’t get the hooks set. My Dad sped up his retrieve so he could cast into the likely spot, but with the change of pace of his retrieve, he had a big strike too. Feeling the hooks, the fish, a three- foot, alligator gar, went airborne immediately! Several short runs and five or six jumps later the gar tired and as my Dad kept the pressure on, I was able to grab it behind the head. Long nose pliers made getting the Pico Perch out of the gars mouth easy, but looking at the teeth, I couldn’t do it fast enough!

As the afternoon wore down, we started rowing back to the Jeep, casting to fishey looking spots. Dad had a heavy strike and unlike the bass and gar, the fish didn’t take to the air. It made a long run down the middle of the channel, we both wondered, what kind of fish was this? My Dad said, “This ones fighting like a red or a big drum!” Another long run and a wallow at the boat only told us that it was a big fish. Neither one of us could identify it. As the fish tired, Daddy grabbed it by the lower jaw, or lip, and held on, we still couldn’t identify the fish, so we guessed a fresh water drum. The long noses pliers helped to retrieve his lure, we slipped a stringer through both lips and then tied it down.

Back at the Jeep, John correctly identified it as a buffalo, Ictiobus bubalus and said that they were quite bony, so we threw it back. (No, he didn’t know the scientific name.) Before we released the buffalo, we weighed it and it pulled the hand scales down to the max, twelve pounds. The fish must have weighed fifteen or better?

We had a good mess of bass, good memories of the gar and buffalo, and John had a bag full of “tree rats”, so this afternoon’s fishing/hunting trip could be called a success, however, the drive out still awaited us! It was “a piece of cake”, we only got stuck three times and winching out in the dark wasn’t so bad after all!

Only Hens

On Tuesday of this week, I went turkey hunting, hopefully to see one of these gobblers and these “shots” were taken by the same game camera, but it”s astounding that the turkeys would only frequent only one feeder.  I guess a black eyed, pea brain size only can handle one feeder, haha!
Hoping to see a big gobbler, I think there are 2 around here, I sat down in my hide and waited 10 minutes before I started making hen turkey sounds.  Calling, I was immediately responded too, by clucks and puts, then a gobbler gobbled and I waited for one to come in.

As the wait got longer a single hen came into the feeder, then 2, then 3, another one came up, but didn’t go into the feeder.  All the while I waited for the gobbler to come up, no pictures because I was getting the shotgun into position, as the wait got longer I finally decided there would be no gobbler this hunt.

But, there would always be Thursday, I had a Docs appointment at Scott & White in Temple, but I should be back by 4:00 PM, plenty of time to go after the turkeys again. Lo, did I only know that following the appointment I would be grounded, not only grounded, but also strong warning from the Doc not to lift or strain anything, hoping the stitches wouldn’t pull out!

The Doc cut out a cancerous melanoma from my left shoulder that required 18 or 19 stitches to close up.  Softball will be out for 2, weeks, of course we had another tournament this weekend in San Antonio which I’ll miss, so for 2 weeks I’ll be on the DL, but he didn’t say anything about turkey hunting!