Dec
31

2023 Hunting Trips Reports

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12/31/23 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Four participants mostly enjoyed the scenery on Lake Granger.  Two ducks flew by the decoys but they were out of range.  The hunters didn’t shoot, of course.  They didn’t see any far-away flocks.  It was also a blue bird day.  Randy Rowley led his devotional called Duck Hunting with Mr. Murphy.

12/17/23 Self-guided Coastal Duck Hunt

Six hunters planned to hunt at Port O’Connor, but Mr. Murphy showed up at the boat ramp, unfortunately, as Randy Rowley’s boat wouldn’t start, even while jump starting it.  His three-bank charger was the problem.

12/16/23 Guided Inland Duck Hunt

Six hunters mainly enjoyed the scenery near Wharton.  They bagged two green wing teal.  Calab with Double Sprig Outdoors is a good guide and caller, and he put our hunters in a good blind (although it was about six inches too tall) and put out a good decoy spread, but the birds weren’t there.  The wind, which switched from south to north might have been the culprit.  Three guide friends of his were skunked, and Rayce Jenkins also only got two.

12/10/23 Semi-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Four participants mostly enjoyed the scenery on Lake Granger.  A flock of ducks came in 10 minutes before legal shooting time.  The hunters didn’t shoot, of course.  They saw a few more flocks but they were far away.  A cold front came in the day before the hunt and might have affected the birds.  It was also a blue bird day.

11/25/23 Semi-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Two participants had a good time on Lake Granger.  Randy Rowley bagged three green wing teal and Dusty Hunt bagged one.  Dusty’s dog Bleu made three excellent retrieves, one of which was very long.  They had three groups come within shotgun range and saw a few more flocks of teal and one flock of bigger ducks.  They also had a flock of geese fly over them and heard two more.  They hunted from shore and parked Randy’s boat about 100 yards from the decoys.

11/12/23 Semi-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Four participants mostly enjoyed the scenery and cooler weather on Lake Stillhouse Hollow.  They started up the Lampasas River, which was an adventure to get to as they were in danger of bottoming out before they got to the Hwy 36 bridge.  They only saw a couple of ducks there that were far away.

They then went over to the Union Grove Wildlife Management Area on the main lake.  They saw dozens of ducks there but most were up in the stratosphere, but a few landed with the coots.  They tied up to a couple of trees and pretended to be fishermen, but that didn’t convince the ducks that the ‘fishermen’ were harmless.  They managed to get one – two shots off each at some high fliers that flew over Randy Rowley’s boat.

10/15/23 Semi-guided Dove Hunt

Two participants mostly enjoyed the cool, breezy afternoon at the Carroll Ranch near Holland.  The dove didn’t start coming to the tank until two minutes before sunset.  Burl Fulenwider got one.  Either the two-day-long norther or Don and Isaac Herbert during their hunt the day before encouraged the dove to head further south.

10/14/23 Semi-guided Dove Hunt

Two participants had a good time at the Carroll Ranch near Holland on a breezy afternoon.  Don and Isaac Herbert got 13 dove between them, most in the last 45 minutes.

9/24/23 Self-guided Teal Hunt

Chris Campbell was called in to work last night, so he did a walk-in hunt in the Willis Creek WMA instead of hunting up the San Gabriel River with Randy and Ryan Rowley.  Ashley and Chad Easley joined him.  They got 18 (three limits).  Randy and Ryan didn’t even hear 18 shots!  They had six flocks and a couple of pairs come by, but only one flock was in shooting range on Ryan’s side of my boat.  Ryan shot at a dove.

The river was the stumpiest Randy’s ever seen.  Most, if not all the stumps in the would be underwater if the lake was at normal level, which is why you must go at idle speed when you spot the trees standing in the water.  Randy and Ryan were kicking up mud with Randy’s boat’s propeller in the channel on the way back.  Randy reported that he won’t hunt in the San Gabriel WMA again unless the lake comes up at least a couple of feet!

9/16/23 Semi-guided Dove Hunt

Three participants mostly enjoyed the scenery and cooler weather near Holland.  Randy Rowley bagged the only dove that came near him.  Ryan Rowley also bagged one, but got to shoot at two more.  They primarily hunted the pond, but also hunted the new pond briefly (which now has some water in it) – when they arrived at the corner there were about 15 dove there that flushed before they could get out of Ryan’s truck.  Randy also walked the draw/sunflower field – no dove were there.

9/10/23 Guided Teal Hunt

Four participants hunted teal with the Pradera Hunting Club near East Bernard.  Three groups of teal came in and five teal and one dove were harvested.

9/1/23 – 9/4/23 Semi-guided Dove Hunts

The season started out with a bang on opening day for twelve hunters.  The dove started flying late, but after they started flying they were very consistent.  At the tank, Randy Rowley limited by 8:10 AM.  Ryan Rowley and Burl Fulenwider both limited before 9:00 AM and Russ Gibbs bagged 13.  In the field, John McBryde and Tim Welbes limited and Eric Kendrich and Flint and Harrison DeShazo bagged around 10 each (Flint finished his limit in the afternoon).  It was our best opening day hunt since our San Saba days.

The hunts on 9/2/23 were very slow, compared to 9/1/23, for eleven hunters.  It appeared that most of the local birds had been killed or scared away.  At the tank during the morning hunt, Randy Rowley bagged four and Ryan Rowley and Burl Fulenwider bagged two each.  In the field Chris Campbell and Chad Easley bagged four each and Jonathan Fleming bagged two.  During the evening hunt in the field, Mike Walsh bagged six and Flint DeShazo bagged two.  Mike reported that he saw no pattern.

The afternoon hunt on 9/3/23 was also slow for most of the five hunters.  Alex Denison and Michael Staff bagged eight each and Ron Denison bagged three at the tank.  Ryan Rowley got two and Hunter Rowley got one (his first dove) in the field.

The morning hunt on 9/4/23 was slower still for seven hunters.  At the tank, Randy Rowley bagged two (including a Eurasian dove) and Ryan Rowley bagged one.  In the field David, Grant, and Luke Featherston bagged eight between them.  The afternoon hunt was much better in the field for four additional hunters (11 hunters hunted for the day).  Cade, Grant, Jeff, and Trey Knebel bagged 20 between them.  A non-FCS hunter bagged eight.  At the tank there were very slim pickings.  Randy bagged one.  Randy saw a short pattern of around 25 birds heading west from the trees lining the creek, but by the time Burl Fulenwider and him got over there they had mainly quit flying.

So far there is no discernable pattern other than the birds mainly come from the east.  For the 9/3/23 hunt the field had very slim pickings with three doves bagged but on 9/4/23 at the same spot 28 dove were bagged.  The tank was a hot spot in the afternoon last season, but so far this season that hasn’t materialized.

4/28/23 – 4/30/23 Self-guided/chartered Blast and Cast (Hog and Turkey hunt and Bass fishing trip)

Four participants mostly enjoyed the scenery and deer on Roy Zengerle’s land near Cuero.  No hogs or turkeys were seen.  For bass fishing, Ken Miller led the way with two bass.  Another one got off his Fluke’s hook.  Randy Rowley had a bass get off his Fluke’s hook.  Binh Chu and Roy opted for naps.

3/2/22 Guided Upland Bird Hunt

Seven hunters and one spectator (eight total participants) had a great time again with Mike Schumann at the old Dismukes/Bieberstein Ranch near Dime Box.  The total bag was 86 birds.  Jonathan Fleming’s group (three hunters) bagged 42 birds including 36 quail and 6 chukars (an average of 14 birds/hunter) and Randy Rowley’s group (four hunters) bagged 44 birds including 37 quail and 7 chukars (an average of 11 birds/hunter).

The morning started out with damp air, which made the birds reluctant to fly, and fly low to the ground when they did.  The dogs that Randy’s group hunted behind snatched around six low-flying quail out of the air.  As the morning progressed it became windier, which made it harder for the dogs to find the birds.

1/29/23 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Four men hunted up the Lampasas River on Lake Stillhouse Hollow.  Clayton Carrier, Dusty Hunt, and Randy Rowley combined to kill the only drake green-winged teal that came into the spread (Burl Fulenwider didn’t have his gun fully loaded).  They saw around five other ducks while they hunted but they weren’t in range, including a beautiful drake canvasback that landed around 70 yards away from them, but wouldn’t swim any closer than 60 yards away (probably because the decoys were like statues, due to no wind).  Randy led a devotional on Duck Hunting with Mr. Murphy.

1/19/23 – 1/22/23 – Self-guided/chartered Coastal Blast and Cast (Duck Hunt and Bay Fishing Trip)

Six members participated in the annual Port O’Connor Blast and Cast.

They had two unguided duck hunts back at Port O’Connor.  The number of ducks flying was down from previous years.  They commandeered a very nice blind build by somebody else but only picked up two ducks (by Daryl Shipper on Saturday and Jonathan Fleming on Sunday).  Most of the ones coming in flared about 80 yards out or passed by and didn’t give us many shot opportunities.

Fishing was equally tough.  A few small fish were caught.  Jonathan had the highlight of the trip with a beautiful 39 inch redfish caught on cut crab on Saturday.

1/20/23 Guided Coastal Duck Hunt

On Friday six members hunted with Captain Jon Mahan in a freshwater marsh near Bayside.  Normally Jon’s clients hide in the reeds to hunt but the recent freeze had knocked them back so they had to hunt from a crude blind he built just for the hunt.  It was a good looking setup and the weather was perfect but the ducks didn’t cooperate.  They ended the day with five ducks (another one couldn’t be found).  (On a subsequent hunt a week later they hunters got a three-man limit by 11:00)

The highlight of the hunt was getting to ride in an Argo (an eight-wheeled ATV/boat hybrid).  It went through some very nasty mud although they did have to get out and push at one point.  (As a side note, Jon says he has fewer birds at the start of the season but they decoy much better, so he recommends early season.)

Randy Rowley, who was on the far right of the blind, killed two ducks one-handed.  On the first one he was swinging on a left-to-right crosser and the blind wouldn’t allow him to keep swinging two-handed, so he kept swinging with just his right hand.  On the second one, he was holding Burl Fulenwider’s and his shotguns (as Burl was pulling his boots out of the mud) and shot an incoming duck with his shotgun with his right hand.

1/15/23 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

Burl Fulenwider, Dusty Hunt, and Randy Rowley hunted on Lake Granger.  No ducks were bagged and no shots were taken at a duck that flew by the right side of Randy’s boat/blind.  They saw one other duck.

1/7/23 Self-guided Inland Duck Hunt

First-time guest Michael Adams, Chris Campbell, Burl Fulenwider, and Randy Rowley hunted on Lake Granger.  No ducks were bagged and two shots were taken at a fast-moving duck on the right side of the boat/blind.  They saw about 15 other flights, but they were too high and/or too far away.

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Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

Bible Verse of the Day

Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, For they are the rejoicing of my heart.