Cinco Ranch

In 1953, the early November 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. Blow from the southeast for two days, then blow from the northwest for a few days, the cycle repeating it self continuously. Me, and my group of hunters, using the term loosely, “sneakers” would better apply, took full advantage of the weather to try the patience of many of the rice farmers and our parents.

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

Four of us were heading home around 11:00 AM from a reasonably successful goose hunt, success being measured by; a vehicle not being stuck beyond retrieval, not one 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, a large ranch, twenty sections or more, laying north of 1091, all the way to Highway 6. The ranch now sports country clubs, shooting ranges and some very, large, ritzy, subdivisions.

Probably four hundred yards north of the road, inside the fences of Cinco Ranch, we spotted a huge gaggle of geese. Immediately, one of our group said that we should sneak ‘em. A quick uwey and we stopped on the soggy shoulder, donned our hip boots, hooded parkas and grabbed our shotguns. Going over the barbwire fence, hitting the ground, we started our sneak.

Four hundred yards is long crawl, shotguns cradled in our arms, military style. Keeping our heads down we inched along with each inch the noise of the geese grew louder. No alarm calls so we were doing OK. Inches turned into feet and feet into yards as we reached the hundred-yard mark, only sixty 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 twenty 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 thousands of geese to spook and get airborne. Standing, we could only watch as they gained altitude and “honked” their way to safety.

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