My next close encounter with a woodcock was on the last day of the special doe and spike season in January, 2008. That morning, two booms, about an hour apart, was all that we had heard and figured that one, or both of the two, grandsons had gotten one. Sure enough, one had knocked down a spike, but it had jumped back up and ran off into the thick brush and the family all turned out to find the lost deer.
Just Passin’ Through
A neighbor across the county road had taken one of the shots and the other one was by my grandson. There were blood sprinkles where his deer had dropped, but not major hemorrhaging and a drop every now and then only gave us a general direction in which the deer was heading. Spike, our Dachshund, our deer tracker, was recovering from back surgery and couldn’t be used to locate the deer.
Randy, Suzanne, Layla, two grandsons and I spread out and applied ourselves to the task of finding the deer. My track took me south, beside a seasonal creek that I slowly crept along with my head down looking for “sign”. The woods were still damp from last night’s rain, the creek had some puddles in it and the moisture had silenced the leaves, when I heard the unmistakable tweep, tweep, flutter of a woodcock taking wing!
Astonished, I looked up, and sure enough, there he was going up through the tree, tops. Armed only with my .357 Mag. Pistol, I was wishing for my 20 gauge so the bird could be engaged, but woodcock season ended months ago. Continuing my search for the deer, not over a hundred yards from the first flush, tweep, tweep, flutter another one wobbled into the air.
Having owned this ranch for over 15 years, I had never seen a woodcock, now two within 10 minutes! Texas, especially west central Texas almost known as a desert, is not a prime locale for woodcock. These birds could have been on their way north, but spring was still two months away. On their way south, not in the middle of the winter, but maybe, these woodcock were heading for the Texas coast.
Because of our drought, a woodcock trying to dig for worms would’ve bent his bill in our rock like, ground! Rain, we did have a smidgen’, but a good downpour, no! Not one showed up in 2009.
We never found the grandson’s deer, but we did find the one the neighbor across the road shot.