A Piper Cub

Driving out to my Katy Prairie lease, I had noticed on the next ranch to the east, several thousand geese rafted up in a cut rice field and with an east wind, I began figuring that if somehow they flushed, they would circle back with the wind, then, maybe their path would bring them over toward me on my lease hunkered down behind a rice levee? My chances were extremely slim, but if someone or something busted them up, maybe a 60 MM, mortar, who knew?

No football this Sunday because the Houston Oilers had lost a first round playoff game the week before and since the weather was awful, almost cold, windy, misty alternating with a light rain, I had thought this afternoon would be a great time to run out to my lease and try to bag a couple of low flying geese. When I arrived, except for 2 hunters on the far end of the property, over 2 miles away, I was by myself.

We weren’t supposed to shoot any quail, but I took Gus, my Brittany spaniel, along anyway. If anyone, like the rice farmer asked, he was retrieving geese for me and me not even knowing if he would bring in a goose because he certainly didn’t like to retrieve ducks! Wouldn’t you know it, walking out to my hunting spot, a brushy fence corner behind a rice levee, Gus locked down hard and quickly slipping two, 8’s, that just happened to be in my pocket, into my O/U, I walked into the covey, about a dozen birds, and they came rocketing out of the fence row!

To honor Gus’ point I had to shoot one, so I picked out a cock and popped him! Gus made an excellent retrieve and reloading the 4’s, I snuck the quail into a pocket of my hunting coat and, not going after the singles, walked a little faster, down to my fence corner.

Less than an hour later, that something to flush the geese proved mot to be a mortar, but a Piper Cub that swooped low over them and honking in protest, up they came! My 3 inch, magnum, O/U was loaded with number 4 lead shot, lead then since the steel shot ban wouldn’t start until the next year, then sliding 2 more shells between the fingers of my left hand, began my wait.

Sure enough, the geese, thousands of them, caught the wind and were barreling toward me. Deciding that I would wait until the first birds were almost over me, then cover them up, just like an incoming dove, let fly, quickly reload, then take 2 more shots. My plan worked, on my first 2 shots, 2 snows came tumbling down. Quickly reloading the shells from my left hand, I picked out several big birds that were swinging away from me, took two more long shots and they both tumbled down, 2 more snows.

The first 2 had fallen quite close to us and Gus was worrying over one of them when I sent him out to look for the others. With my help, Gus found one crumpled in the fencerow, then looking for what seemed like an hour, he finally found the last one. It was a runner with only a broken wing and when Gus caught it and brought it in, it was a funny sight, since the goose looked to be almost his size.

Gus had saved the day finding the last goose, but anyway, I don’t think the rice farmer will miss one quail!