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 used my own lease, 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.

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!

Years ago the State 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 cock pheasant, pointed by Gus. Maybe that was the last one?

My youngest son, Randy, actively pursued the geese and ducks on the Prairie. Later I came to believe, his main interest was seeing how much mud it took to stick his Blazer. One night I was having dinner with an important client and Randy called and told me he was stuck just off of Barker-Cypress Road, then a narrow two lane track, now a major four lane boulevard.

The client and I stopped eating and headed out, a 20 minute drive, to save Randy. He was stuck in the ditch beside the paved road and says he was forced off of the hard top. Forced, yes, when he turned the wheel into the ditch.

One good thing came out of this, the client and I began a 25 year business and personal relationship that night that lasts to this day!