In January 1958, my cousin, Dan Gafford, from Marlin, Texas, came down to visit after hearing of the fabulous Duck hunting my Dad and I had been enjoying between Crosby and Anahuac. One of my Dad’s former employees was now manager of a rice farm/ranching operation (they had oil wells too) and gave us free rein to hunt on the 1000 acre property. My Dad and I were in “hog Heaven”, having this place all to ourselves.

There were sloughs and potholes scattered all over the ranch and, convenient, since most were accessible by the oil field roads that connected the oil and gas wells. We would put on our waders, drive to a likely spot of standing water, put out my twelve plastic decoys, hastily construct us a makeshift blind, hide the car as best we could and begin our hunting.

The secret of our success was “luck” and being at the right place. This ranch contained plenty of fresh water and was not far from Trinity Bay and was an easy flight for the ducks from the salt water to the fresh.

Early in the afternoon my Dad and his former employee dropped Dan and me off near a likely looking fifty-foot wide pothole. I waded out and set the decoys while Dan made us a blind of logs and grass. It wasn’t much of a blind, but it would do.

Before we had settled down, a flight of Teal buzzed our decoys and as they were passing. bam, bam, bam, and two fall on the other side of the pot hole. Both of us were using number 6 shot with our full choked, pump, shotguns. Duck poison! Bunches of ducks, Teal, Gadwall and Widgeon kept us busy for most of the afternoon, and we had bagged nine, when we see a flight of ten mallards inspecting our layout.

Blowing a “hail” call to them, they wheel around and circle behind us. A few chirps of a “feed” call sets their wings, their orange feet drop, wait a minute, something’s wrong with these Ducks I think to myself, since they are landing in the edge of the pothole, not ten feet in front of us!

Dan and I jump up and bam, bam, six shots, and not a feather. We look at each other in amazement. Dan asks, “How could this happen, it seemed as if I could have reached out and grabbed them?” Maybe we should have. Remembering what my Dad had told me years ago, “Our patterns were too small at this close range.” And I added, “We should have let them gain some altitude, and not have been greedy and taken such close, “easy” shots.”

We had a nice “bag” of ducks anyway and didn’t get any more shots that afternoon. While cleaning the Ducks, my Dad chided us saying, “Boys, you got greedy with those big Greenheads and didn’t take your time!” Dan had fun anyway.