Alarm Call

In 1953, the early December opening of goose and duck season, was hailed by hunters for the rain and high winds that back, to back, to back, weather systems fostered. The wind would blow from the southeast for 2 or 3 days days, then blow from the northwest for a few days, the cycle repeated continuously for the entire season, then add in a couple of real northers and you had real goose weather! Our group of hunters, sneakers would better apply, took full advantage of the weather to try the patience of many of the rice farmers, game wardens and our parents.

The area north of Westheimer, west of Highway 6, along FM 1091, all the way to Fulshear on the Brazos River was prime goose country, now it is subdivisions and shopping malls and the geese have vacated the premises. Back then, after a driver passed Post Oak Road, street signs changed from Westheimer to FM 1091, today Westheimer extends for miles past Highway 6 and is the center of commerce for west Houston!

Around 11:00 AM, the last day of goose and duck season, four of us were heading home from a reasonably successful goose hunt, success being measured by; a vehicle not being stuck beyond retrieval, none of the hunters injured, not being stopped by the law and, maybe even a few geese. We were coming in, heading east on FM 1091 and wishing we could get permission to hunt on Cinco Ranch, the large ranch on our left, twenty sections or more, laying north of 1091, all the way to Highway 6. The ranch now sports malls, country clubs, shooting ranges and some very, large, pricey, subdivisions.

Probably 400 yards north of the road, inside the fence of Cinco Ranch, we spotted a huge gaggle of geese and right away one of our group said that we should sneak ‘em. After a quick uwey, we stopped on the soggy shoulder, donned our hip boots, slipped on our hooded parkas and grabbed our shotguns. Going over and under the barbwire fence, then hitting the ground, we started our sneak.

A long crawl is 400 yards, shotguns cradled in our arms, military style, keeping our heads down, we inched along and with each inch the noise of the geese cackling grew louder. No alarm calls so we were doing OK, inches turned into feet, feet into yards as we reached the 100 yard mark, only 60 or so, more to go, then raise up and let fly!

Hearing a strange peeping sound, I knew it wasn’t a rattler, then, the whirring of 20 or more quail bursting into the air startled me so much that I leaped to my feet and shouted a few choice expletives! That’s all it took for the dreaded alarm call to sound and thousands of geese spooked and got airborne. We all stood, we could only watch as they gained altitude and honked their way to safety.

That was our first, and last, and only sneak on Cinco Ranch!