The Katy Prairie

In the 1950’s the Katy Prairie stretched from Farm Road 1960 west to the Brazos River and from the pine tree line northwest of Houston, south to the farm country around Richmond/Rosenberg, an area of over 400 square miles. The corner of Texas Highway 6 and F.M. 529 was known throughout the area as “Wolf Corner” (today a shopping center) because the trappers and hunters would string the carcasas of Red Wolves, Coyotes, Bobcats and Foxes from the barbwire fences. “Wolf Corner”, that is F.M. 529 was one of the entry points to the Prairie.
Rice, cattle, oil and gas were the main products of the Prairie, but the sub-product of rice farming was Geese and Ducks, at one time, hundreds of thousands of them, and the hunters flocked to it. I have hunted with and without permission, as a guest and had my own leases, but finally the urban sprawl of Houston closed down this wonderful enclave. Most of the Prairie now is sub-divisions, schools and shopping centers and the Geese and Ducks have moved away.

Just this year, on a Pheasant hunting trip to the Texas panhandle, Brad and I spotted hundreds of thousands of Geese and Ducks. I thought then that years ago, I relentlessly chased their fore bearers across the Katy prairie!

In 1952 I shot three times and missed at the largest Canadian Goose I have ever seen, later finding out it was a Canadensis Maxima, thought to be extinct since 1922, however some sightings are still reported. In 1980 I saw an “extinct” Red Wolf cross a road that ran through my hunting lease. And to top that story, in 1988, while quail hunting near Waller, on the Katy Prairie, I came upon, and my Brittany Spaniel, “Gus”, pointed two “extinct” Red Wolves. “Gus”, me, and the Wolves, all froze. “Gus” and I both held our points, while the Wolves trotted away into the thick grass and brush. This ended our Quail hunt.

In the past the State Of Texas had tried to plant Pheasants on the Prairie and apparently into the 1980’s people were still running across some. The birds couldn’t cope with all of the winged and fur bearing predators. In 1989, I was Quail hunting south of Hockley, on the Prairie, and shot a male Pheasant, pointed by “Gus”. Maybe that was the last one?
Isn’t progress wonderful?