2015 Hunting Trips Reports


12/23/15 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Four hunters enjoyed the scenery at the 12/23/15 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt on Belton Lake.  We launched at Iron Bridge Park and headed north.  We set up next to trees in the middle of the flooded river (Leon).  We didn’t see any ducks until we were almost back to the boat ramp (we saw one flock sky high).  It was very warm for a duck hunt (75 degrees).

12/18/15 – 12/20/15 Self-guided Coastal Duck Hunt

Four hunters had a good time at the 12/18/15 – 12/20/15 Self-guided Coastal Duck Hunt near Corpus Christi/Port Aransas off of Wilson’s Cut.  It was warm for December (lows in the high 50’s and highs in the high 60’s, mostly sunny, and there was an ENE wind).  The group bagged six redheads on Friday afternoon.  On Saturday morning we bagged three redheads.  Ken Miller bagged one and also bagged a drake greater scaup and a hen widgeon.  The redhead had a band on it!  This was the first banded duck killed on an FCS duck hunt!  On Saturday evening we bagged five redheads, completing our limit.  On Sunday morning only three of us hunted and we bagged a limit of six redheads.  We bagged a total of 22 ducks for the weekend.  We hunted on Friday night and Saturday morning on “our” island that borders Wilson’s Cut.  We hunted Saturday night and Sunday morning at the edge of the bay a few hundred yards to the north of Wilson’s Cut because we wanted the ducks to be able to land into the wind.  We enjoyed our usual dinner at Trout Street on Friday night.  We cooked sausage, egg, and potato tacos for brunch on Saturday morning, fajitas for dinner on Saturday night, and chorizo, egg, and potato tacos for brunch on Sunday morning.  Randy Rowley led a Bible study called Move On.

Mr. Murphy only made a brief appearance during this trip.  Randy’s last shot on Saturday when “poof” instead of “bang.”  He also had wet gun powder on his right hand.  Fortunately, he knew what that meant – that the powder either did not ignite or only partially ignited.  A check of his barrel revealed that the wad did not make it out of the barrel.  If he had fired another shell it might have split the barrel or worse!

Ken later checked on his band.  It was banded on 8/17/14 in Alberta, Canada.  They labeled it as a canvasback – it was the most redhead looking canvasback that Ken and Randy have ever seen!  It was too young to fly when it was banded.

12/13/15 – 12/14/15 Guided Inland Duck Hunt

Six hunters had a great time at the 12/13/15 – 12/14/15 Guided Duck Hunt with guide Ricky Ethridge on a tank near Marquez on a cool, sunny (blue bird) day.  We killed 28 ducks (4.5 each) – a mixture of gadwalls and ringnecks (aka blue bills).  It rained five inches on 12/12/15, which made the Navasota River rise five feet.  This put Ricky’s blinds on his land on the Navasota River under water, so this was Plan B.  We would have probably gotten our limit except a lot of ducks were landing on the far side of the tank, away from the decoys.  Plus they pretty much stopped flying around 7:45 AM (if it was an overcast or cloudy day they would probably have flown a lot longer).  We were impressed with Ricky and his son, Roy, and highly recommend them.  This will become an annual (at least) FCS event.

12/12/15 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Four hunters had a good time at the 12/12/15 Self-guided Coastal Duck Hunt on Granger Lake.  It was a warm (70 degrees) day but there was a 18+ MPH wind which may it cooler.  There were nice overcast skies, that made the ducks fly longer.  Wayne Weilnau bagged two green wing teal (a drake and a hen), Ken Miller bagged a drake Gadwall (with help from Randy Rowley) and crippled two ducks that dove and escaped (despite a heroic attempt to retrieve them).  Burl Fulenwider bagged a hen green winged teal (with help from Randy).  Randy bagged a drake mallard.  The wind made shooting difficult.  It also made the birds reluctant to land on the choppy lake.  We had three groups start to come in while Ken was trying to retrieve his first duck, but they saw him and flared.  Later Randy went to get a group of decoys and two other groups of teal started to come in, but saw him and flared.  We should have shot twice as many.  Our excuse was the strong wind.

11/20/15 – 11/22/15 Self-guided Coastal Duck Hunt

Five hunters had a good time at the 11/20/15 – 11/22/15 Self-guided Coastal Duck Hunt near Corpus Christi/Port Aransas off of Wilson’s Cut.  The water was the highest that we have seen – there was no dry ground on “our” island, that borders Wilson’s Cut.  It was warm on Friday, but rained a little.  It was pleasant on Saturday morning.  However, around noon a cold front hit with high (30+ MPH) winds.  The wind subsided some on Sunday morning but it blew away all the cloud cover.

We limited out on redheads on Friday afternoon in short order and Burl Fulenwider also bagged a hen widgeon. We ended up with 11 ducks bagged.  After the hunt we went to trailer Randy’s boat (Champ), but the tide had gone out and we got him stuck on a sandbar.  Randy, Ian Daniels, and Earl Prochnick couldn’t get him off.  They called in reinforcements (Burl and Ken Miller).  After much tugging and pushing we got Champ off and moved him to deeper water.

On Saturday morning we decided to go fish in the harbor and bay, because we didn’t want to be on the bay after the projected high winds hit in the early afternoon. Over by the old Fina dock we caught mangrove snapper, perch, a rockfish, and undersized sheepshead. Burl led the way with about six fish caught.

We hunted Saturday evening but the high winds blew all of our decoys to shore. We gave up after the wind blew them to shore a second time. We never fired a shot.

On Sunday morning we decided to walk out to an island on the leeward side of the cut. Unfortunately, we encountered very soft mud and a blue bird day. The ducks that we saw were sky high. We again didn’t get off a shot.

We enjoyed our usual dinner at Trout Street on Friday night and dinner at Seafood and Spaghetti Works on Saturday night.  We cooked sausage, egg, and potato tacos for brunch on Saturday morning and fajitas for breakfast on Sunday morning.  Randy Rowley led a Bible study on Wading In.

Unfortunately, Mr. Murphy again joined us on the trip home. After passing through Kenedy, Burl, who was following me, called me and said, “Pull over now!” I pulled into a construction business’ small parking lot. What Burl and Ken Miller had seen was that my trailer’s right trailer wheel had started to smoke. Ian pulled the tire off and confirmed what we feared – the wheel bearings had broken.

After trips to O’Reilly’s and Tractor Supply and many trips to AutoZone in Kenedy, we finally bought the right parts and put them on, along with a lot of grease. We finally made it to Austin, about four hours later than we planned.

11/11/15 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Two hunters at a good time at the 11/11/15 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt on Granger Lake.  As Randy Rowley’s boat was in the shop, we walked in (about a mile walk each way across muddy ground) in the Sore Finger Wildlife Management Area arm.  We blended in to a couple trees that were standing in about 2 1/2′ of water and set the dekes about 30 yards in front of them.  We had one group of teal come into the dekes plus four groups fly by and a suicidal gadwall that was locked into the dekes and didn’t see Randy standing out in the open.  Ian Daniels bagged a drake wood duck and two hen green winged teal.  Randy bagged the suicidal drake gadwall and downed a green winged teal, but it dove and escaped when he waded out to retrieve it.  We heard little shooting and didn’t see any other ducks in the air.

11/7/15 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Three hunters participated on the 11/7/15 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt on Belton Lake.  It proved to be a frustrating trip.  We took Randy Rowley’s boat.  We searched several hundred yards of shoreline for a place to hunt, but the shallowest water at the shoreline that we could find was eight’ deep and the water was 14′ deep where we would needed to put the decoys (they would have floated away).  The lake, like all central Texas lakes is 5 1/2′ above full.  We never got out of the boat and only saw four ducks.  It rained most of the morning.

10/17/15 Dove Hunt – San Saba by Mike Walsh

Sixteen FCS hunters had a good time at the 10/17/15 dove hunt at the Evans Ranch near San Saba.  The hunt was outstanding with most hunters limiting out.  The whitewings flew steadily, with a few lulls in the action.  They started to fly in large groups around 4:00 PM.  The dove were intent on coming in to feed on the ripe seeds of the Texas Gum-Elastic trees.

10/3/15 Dove Hunt – San Saba by Mike Walsh

Thirteen FCS hunters had a good time at the 10/3/15 San Saba dove hunt.  The hunt was outstanding.   To quote the owner Sid Evan’s text to me at 10:00 AM on Saturday, “The bird numbers are unbelievable.  I have not seen this many birds since I have owned this ranch.”  The whitewings flew almost non stop, treetop high, from the time we entered the field until sunset.  The larger groups arrived after 4:30 PM.  Ken Miller was the first to limit with the help of his hard working lab, Bella.  Harold and Edward Terry,  Steve Baker, Lamar Denney, Steve Gholson, Jim McGee, Randy Gordon and most all of the other hunters had their limits by 3:30pm.  The action was fast and furious.  The dove were intent on coming in to feed on the ripe seeds of the Texas Gum-Elastic trees.

9/18/15 – 9/20/15 Dove Retreat – Trickham

Twelve hunters had a good time at the 9/18/15 – 9/20/15 Dove Retreat near Trickham on Frank Hamilton’s ranch.  On Friday evening Tim Price led the way with seven dove bagged.  Alex Denison bagged four.  On Saturday the group went to the San Saba dove hunt.  Most of the hunters easily bagged their limits.  Tim shot a 70 lb. boar from his stand on Saturday night, but didn’t find it until the following morning.  On Sunday morning Ron Denison led the way with five dove bagged.  Alex Denison and Randy Rowley bagged one each and lost one each.  Thanks to Frank for opening his land up to the Club.

9/19/15 Guided Teal Hunt – La Grange

Two members and two guests had a good time hunting Early Teal with guide Ronnie Ray.  Not many Teal have made it this far south but the guys were able to shoot some dove and had a great time.  Thanks to Ronnie for guiding and his dog Dixie for always being ready and on point.

9/19/15 Dove Hunt – San Saba

Twenty seven people (25 hunters) had a fantastic time at the 9/19/15 Dove Hunt on the Evans Ranch near San Saba.  We got there early in the afternoon.  Dozens of dove were feeding or resting underneath the oak and Texas gum elastic trees.  The ‘begin shooting’ signal shot was fired and dove started to swarm out of the trees.  There was a steady flow of dove, but also a couple of 30 minute lulls.  Interestingly, the dove were flying more at the south of the property then they were two weeks ago.  Most hunters moved to follow the dove.  Most hunters limited out – some as early as 3:15 PM.  Around 4:30 rain clouds and wind arrived and the dove started to fly in flocks of 10 – 20 all over the place.  100% of the dove were whitewings.  We were also visited by three game wardens.  One of our number was ticketed for not having Texas hunter education certification.  Another was ticketed for not having a migratory bird stamp.

9/5/15 Dove Hunt – Uvalde (Report by Art Barrera)

Two FCS members (Rich Beitel and Art Barrera) and two repeat guests (Roland Beitel and Chris Cox) hunted in Uvalde on Saturday, 9/5/15.  Chris and I got a late start and didn’t see much action in the morning.  Rich & Roland did harvest some birds, but none of us reached our limit in the morning.  The birds were sporadic and then pretty much non-existent after 10:30 A.M.  I guess with the season having started mid-week, the birds were no longer using the area that much.
We broke for lunch and then had a study on “8 Things Noah’s Ark Teaches Us About Jesus” from biblestudyplanet.comThen we returned to the field, except for Chris who had to work that night back in Laredo!  He really enjoyed the fellowship and the study, though.  He said those were the main reasons he was looking forward to attending.  I took a nap and joined Rich and Roland around 5:00 P.M.  Birds started flying a short time later.  In the end, I harvested five birds, Roland eight, and Rich got his limit using his father’s old shotgun that Rich took his hunters education class with when he was 12 years old!  It was a monumental moment for him.  He recently inherited the shotgun after his father passed away.  It was a special moment and we were blessed to have been able to share that with him.  All in all, it was awesome.  We’re looking forward to the winter hunt.  Mr. Tony Arce was very accommodating and provided excellent service again.

9/5/15 Dove Hunt – San Saba

Mike Walsh did a great job putting us onto a bunch of white wing doves at the 9/5/15 Dove Hunt on the Evans Ranch near San Saba.  32 hunters arrived at the ranch around 1:00 and setup underneath the oak trees on this beautiful 400 acre property.  From the opening shot the flow of birds was fairly steady above the trees near the parking area.   Those back closer to the sunflower did not see as much action so moved up later in the afternoon.  Many hunters had their limit by 4:00 or 5:00.

9/1/15 Dove Hunt – Salado

Two hunters participated in the 9/1/15 Dove Hunt on the Union Grove Wildlife Management Area on Lake Stillhouse Hollow near Salado.  Two dove were bagged and few were seen.  This was our last hurrah for Stillhouse.

5/8/15 – 5/10/15 Self-guided Hog Hunt

Six hunters had a good time at the 5/8/15 – 5/10/15 Self-guided Hog Hunt on Charles Batts’ land on the Y.O. Ranch near Junction.  At 5:45 AM on Saturday, Randy Rowley and Tim Price had a large boar (200+ pounds) come out from behind a  large cedar tree just eight yards from the bow blind where they were sitting.  The hog moved cautiously and slowly.  It stopped for a few seconds and looked around.  It then turned around.  He gave Randy and Tim the impression that he was the lead pig for a group and was telling the others that the coast was clear.  All of a sudden he bolted like he was shot out of a cannon back the way that he came.  Randy, who had his shotgun stuffed with 3″ chambered 00 buckshot and who had it stuck out of the window and shouldered let loose with a round, but he probably shot behind the pig as the cedar tree prevented him from catching up with the pig.  It’s a mystery as to why the pig bolted, as he couldn’t see Randy and Tim in the dark blind, they were as quiet as the grave, and the wind was blowing his scent into them.  Their theory is he must have smelled their scent in the grass when they walked to the feeder earlier to turn Randy’s light on.  That evening the same pig probably came back in behind Randy and Tim and growled a few times before heading back the way he came (they never saw him).  No one else encountered any pigs.

Randy led a devotional on being Plugged In.

Thanks to Charles for allowing us to hunt on his land.

4/12/15 – 4/14/15 Semi-guided Hog Hunt

15 hunters, including two first time guests, had a great time at the 4/12/15 – 4/14/15 Semi-guided Hog Hunt at the Wild Hog Hunting Ranch near Gonzales.  12 hogs were taken including a 250 lb. boar by Joey Burgi.  All but four hunters bagged hogs.  Thanks to Jim McGee for leading this event.

2/28/15 Guided Upland Bird Hunt

Four hunters had a great time at the 2/28/15 Guided Upland Bird Hunt with Schumann Brothers Outdoors near Dime Box, although the overpasses were slick on the Austin side of Elgin early in the morning, the sky was overcast all day, and the temperatures were in the high 30s/low 40s during the hunt.  Fortunately, it did not start raining until after the hunt had ended.  During the drive back to Austin, the temperature dropped from 44 to 33 in just a few miles.  The group bagged 21 out of 36 quail, all nine chukars, and four out of six pheasants (34 birds).

2/21/15 Guided Upland Bird Hunt

Four hunters had a great time at the 2/21/15 Guided Upland Bird Hunt with Schumann Brothers Outdoors near Dime Box.  The group bagged 16 of 36 quail, all nine chukars and all six pheasants (31 birds).  It was a windy day, which dispersed the scent of the birds and made it harder for the dogs to find them.

2/7/15 Guided Upland Bird Hunt

1/19/15 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Four hunters, including two first time guests, mostly enjoyed the scenery at the 1/19/15 Self-guided Freshwater Duck Hunt on Lake Granger.  We had a couple groups come in before legal shooting time.  We shot at a small group that came in at first light and then at a single duck, but didn’t bag any.

1/16/15 – 1/18/15 Father/Child Deer and Hog Hunt

10 hunters had a good time at the 1/16/15 – 1/18/15 Father/Child Deer and Hog Hunt on Frank Hamilton’s ranch near Trickham.  Although no deer was harvested a few were shot at.  No hogs were seen.  Thanks to Cade Roberson for bringing venison chili and steaks and thanks to Frank for making his ranch available.

1/17/15 Guided Freshwater Duck Hunt

One member and three first time guests (four total participants) went on the 1/10/15 Guided Freshwater Duck Hunt on the Colorado River near La Grange with guide Ronnie Ray.   The group shot five times and killed a gadwall and a widgeon.

1/17/15 Mudfest (Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt)

Four hunters walked in to Lake Belton near Winkler Park on 1/17/15.  After about a 1000 yard hike (some of it through very thick trees and bushes) we arrived about 50 yards from shore, and that’s when the trouble started.  The mud was so bad that most of us only made it to around 15 yards from shore.  Fortunately, Matthew Peterson put on an extra pair of Randy Rowley’s waders and was able to put out a dozen dekes.  We saw three flocks – one of around 60 birds.  Randy called in a flock of four but they saw us and flared.  We should have shot as they were marginally in range.  When it was time to go, Randy’s feet were stuck in the mud and he had to dig himself out by hand.  Randy states that this was his last walk-in duck hunt.

1/10/15 Guided Inland Duck Hunt

Four hunters, including one first time guest, mostly enjoyed the scenary at the 1/10/15 Guided Freshwater Duck Hunt on the Colorado River near La Grange with guide Ronnie Ray.   Burl Fulenwider was the only hunter to get off some shots.  Three groups of widgeons came in as they were picking up the decoys.

1/2/15 – 1/4/15 Self-guided Coastal Duck Hunt

Five hunters had a great time at the 1/2/15 – 1/4/15 Self-guided Coastal Duck Hunt near Corpus Christi/Port Aransas off of Wilson’s Cut.  It rained most of Friday and was cool for most of the weekend.  For the Friday afternoon hunt we couldn’t get Randy Rowley’s boat started.  Randy and Ron Denison found a boat repair shop while Burl Fulenwider, Ian Daniels, and Jake Denison hunted (they walked in).  The problem was simple (the kill switch had been pulled off).  Jake bagged two redheads and Ian bagged one.  On Saturday morning the group limited out on redheads in short order.  On Sunday morning the group also limited out, although the wind shifted from the north, which made hunting harder.  We ended up with 23 redheads bagged.  We didn’t see any other ducks.  We enjoyed our usual dinner at Trout Street on Friday night and cooked fajitas for dinner on Saturday night.  We also cooked brunch twice.  We also went to a gun show in Aransas Pass on Saturday afternoon.  Next year we’ll bring fishing poles!  Randy led a Bible study on Scratching Itches.

1/3/15 Guided Inland Duck Hunt

Three hunters had a good time at the 1/3/15 Guided Freshwater Duck Hunt on the Colorado River near La Grange with guide Ronnie Ray.   Jonathan Sherwin bagged a widgeon drake, a gadwall drake, and a gadwall hen.  Brian Hansen bagged two gadwall drakes.  Jonathan reported that they had a blast!

1/1/15 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Three hunters had a great time at the 1/1/15 Self-guided Freshwater Duck Hunt at the A-OK Ranch near Lometa.  We started at the NE tank and had a few birds come in at first light but nothing after that.  Kelvin Cheung then went and scouted the NW tank and it was loaded with ducks.  We tried to sneak up on them but most of them flushed while we were 40 yards out.  We still bagged three of them.  Randy Rowley ended up with a drake American widgeon (his first), two drake scalups, and a drake green winged teal (GWT).  Jonathan Sherwin bagged a drake GWT and a coot.  Kelvin Cheung bagged a hen shoveler.  Randy shot his GWT and was about to swing on another one when he saw that the one that he shot was falling straight at him.  He had to put his hand up to keep it from smacking into his face!  Thanks to Joel Kirby for allowing us to hunt his ranch.

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