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May
12

FCS Officer Meetings

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FCS has annual officer meetings (for officers and potential officers), usually on a work week evening at Dos Salsas restaurant (1600 E Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park, 512-260-7494).

Schedule: per the Agenda.

RSVPs are requested to Randy Rowley to ensure we’ll get a large enough table at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.  Also, let him know if you have any questions.

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FCS participates in the National Sporting Clays Championship (tournament) at the National Shooting Complex every October.

Here are pictures from their 10/21/17 – 10/29/17 NSCA National Sporting Clays Championship (tournament):

Bruce Crockett

Steve Baker

The most difficult station – a true pair quartering at 60 yards; only 32 of 1,570 shooters hit all 8 targets

There is an online registration form and there are multiple games in which you can choose from.

The National Shooting Complex is located at 5931 Roft Road, San Antonio, TX 78253.  Their phone numbers are 210-688-3371 or 800-877-5338 (Sporting Clays Department: Ext. 961).

Contact Bruce Crockett at bmc55@att.net or 512-970-7797 if you have any questions.

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May
12

Semi-guided Deer and Hog Hunts

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FCS occasionally goes on semi-guided deer and hog hunts.  We have hunted all over the state and presently hunt near Rocksprings with Ricky Ethridge.  We have had many successful duck hunts with Ricky and know that he’s a stand-up guy.

Here are a few pictures from our most successful hunts:

Costs:

  • Landowner, outfitter, or guide fee (varies per ranch). Landowner, outfitter, guide fees will be required in full by a due date.  Hunters who do not pay the guide fee by the due date will be removed from the list of people who RSVPed for the trip.  We typically don’t tip for semi-guided hunts where they only show you where the stands and cleaning station are and where to dump the guts.  However, if they provide more services than that (e.g., clean your deer and hogs for you), then a tip would be warranted.
  • Most ranches have bunk houses, trailers, etc.; however, if they don’t we’ll secure lodging and spit the fee.
  • For out-of-the-Austin-area hunts, we’ll carpool and split the vehicle gas.  If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • We’ll stop for drive-through food on the way to the hunt and will stop for drive-through food on the way home.

What to bring:

  • Hunting license if hunting public land.
  • Weapon of choice and ammo (note that some ranches limit what weapon and/or ammo you can use and how many shells you can have in your gun).  For example, some ranches do not allow buckshot, calibers smaller than .243/6mm, or more than three shells in your gun.  Deer rifles and bullets work fine on hogs.  But if you have a .243 and a .30-06, take the latter.  If you have 125 and 180-grain bullets, take the latter.  I do not recommend hunting hogs with a caliber smaller than .243 or 6mm.  A scoped rifle is better than one with iron sights, a red dot scope, or reflex scope.  Aim at the hog’s head or neck if it’s decent sized.  Don’t aim behind the shoulder of a big hog.  A hog’s heart and lungs are between his shoulders.  If you shoot behind his shoulder you’re going to hit his liver or gut and you could be in for a very long track.  Bring a lot of bullets.  Randy Rowley once fired 10 shots during one hog hunt.  For most hunts, you’ll be fortunately to fire one or two, but you just never know when you’ll run into an entire herd!  If we’re able to do a group stalk (we only do them if it is safe) you’re welcome to bring a shotgun with either rifled slugs and/or buckshot.  Fifteen 00 Buck pellets per shot at a running hog means a much better chance of a hit than one slug or rifle bullet per shot.  Most manufacturers recommend using a full choke for buckshot.  The next best choice is a modified choke, then improved cylinder.  However, this may not be true for your gun so the only way that you can find out what it prefers is to pattern it.  Do not shoot buckshot out of a turkey choke!  It will ruin it, and maybe you too (turkey chokes are too constricted to handle anything larger than 4 shot.  The best shotgun choice is a fast shooting (semi-automatic, pump, or double barrel) 12 gauge with 3-inch shells (or 2 ¾-inch if so chambered) filled with 000, 00, or 0 Buckshot.  Some guys alternate rifled slugs and buckshot in their magazines.  The idea is the first shot (slug) will be at a standing still hog.  If you don’t kill it, you’re follow up shots will be at a running hog, which is where buckshot excels.  The best choke to use if you put both buckshot and slugs in your gun (at the same time) is modified.  If you are only going to use slugs the best choke is cylinder, then skeet, then improved cylinder and tighter chokes.  For recommendations on guns and ammo see Hog Hunting Basics.
  • Standard deer hunting gear (knife, binoculars, laser range finder, headlamp or cap light, shooting sticks, etc.).
  • A comfy portable (folding) chair for your blind.
  • A rechargeable spotlight for night hunting with a green (recommended) lens, 1/2 to two million candlepower (two hunters can share a light and take turns being the light man and the shooter) or a constant-on light if there is a feeder.  See Hog Hunting Basics for recommendations.
  • Rubber boots and camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential, unless you’re hunting from an elevated stand).  If rain is predicted bring rain gear.  A hunter (blaze) orange cap and/or vest for ranches that allow group stalks.
  • Thermacell is highly recommended to repel bugs.  Bug sprays are not recommended (deer amd hogs will smell bug spray on you and won’t come anywhere near you).
  • Food (if more than a day hunt).  The Event Coordinator/leader will often buy food for everyone (he also might buy sodas if he can get everyone to agree to which ones to buy).  Participants will divide the costs.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).
  • Sleeping bag, pillow, towels, etc. (depending on the accommodations).
  • Game cleaning tools (knives, sharpeners, saw, loppers, gambrel, and rope) if the ranch doesn’t have them.
  • A large ice chest to take your deer and hog(s) home in.  It’s better to have one that is too big than one that is too small.
  • Hog bait and corn.  Here’s a hog bait recipe.
  • Rods and reels and lures (for ranches that have stocked tanks and allow fishing).

Randy Rowley has extras of many of the items that are listed above and will happily loan things if you let him know that you would like to borrow something before you leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it he will expect reimbursement.

Here is a simplified, and more printer-friendly, Hog Hunting Checklist.

These hunts are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s instructions, the land owner’s rules, and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of gas, food (if applicable), and motel rooms (if applicable).
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost.
  • Help.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Contact Randy Rowley at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484 if you have any questions.

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May
12

Semi-guided Hog Hunts

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FCS goes on at least one semi-guided hog hunt per year. We have hunted all over the state and presently hunt near Rocksprings with Ricky Ethridge.

Here are a few pictures from our most successful hunts:

Costs:

  • Landowner, outfitter, or guide fee (varies per ranch). Landowner, outfitter, guide fees will be required in full by a due date.  Hunters who do not pay the guide fee by the due date will be removed from the list of people who RSVPed for the trip.  We typically don’t tip for semi-guided hunts where they only show you where the stands and cleaning station are and where to dump the guts.  However, if they provide more services than that (e.g., clean your pig for you), then a tip would be warranted.
  • Most ranches have bunk houses, trailers, etc.; however, if they don’t we’ll secure lodging and spit the fee.
  • For out-of-the-Austin-area hunts, we’ll carpool and split the vehicle gas.  If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • We’ll stop for drive-through food on the way to the hunt and will stop for drive-through food on the way home.

What to bring:

  • Hunting license if hunting public land.
  • Weapon of choice and ammo (note that some ranches limit what weapon and/or ammo you can use and how many shells you can have in your gun).  For example, some ranches do not allow buckshot, calibers smaller than .243/6mm, or more than three shells in your gun.  Deer rifles and bullets work fine on hogs.  But if you have a .243 and a .30-06, take the latter.  If you have 125 and 180-grain bullets, take the latter.  I do not recommend hunting hogs with a caliber smaller than .243 or 6mm.  A scoped rifle is better than one with iron sights, a red dot scope, or reflex scope.  Aim at the hog’s head or neck if it’s decent sized.  Don’t aim behind the shoulder of a big hog.  A hog’s heart and lungs are between his shouldersIf you shoot behind his shoulder you’re going to hit his liver or gut and you could be in for a very long track.  Bring a lot of bullets.  Randy Rowley once fired 10 shots during one hog hunt.  For most hunts, you’ll be fortunately to fire one or two, but you just never know when you’ll run into an entire herd!  If we’re able to do a group stalk (we only do them if it is safe) you’re welcome to bring a shotgun with either rifled slugs and/or buckshot.  Fifteen 00 Buck pellets per shot at a running hog means a much better chance of a hit than one slug or rifle bullet per shot.  Most manufacturers recommend using a full choke for buckshot.  The next best choice is a modified choke, then improved cylinder.  However, this may not be true for your gun so the only way that you can find out what it prefers is to pattern it.  Do not shoot buckshot out of a turkey choke!  It will ruin it, and maybe you too (turkey chokes are too constricted to handle anything larger than 4 shot.  The best shotgun choice is a fast shooting (semi-automatic, pump, or double barrel) 12 gauge with 3-inch shells (or 2 ¾-inch if so chambered) filled with 000, 00, or 0 Buckshot.  Some guys alternate rifled slugs and buckshot in their magazines.  The idea is the first shot (slug) will be at a standing still pig.  If you don’t kill it, you’re follow up shots will be at a running pig, which is where buckshot excels.  The best choke to use if you put both buckshot and slugs in your gun (at the same time) is modified.  If you are only going to use slugs the best choke is cylinder, then skeet, then improved cylinder and tighter chokes.  For recommendations on guns and ammo see Hog Hunting Basics.
  • Standard deer hunting gear (knife, binoculars, laser range finder, headlamp or cap light, shooting sticks, etc.).
  • A comfy portable (folding) chair for your blind.
  • A rechargeable spotlight for night hunting with a green (recommended) lens, 1/2 to two million candlepower (two hunters can share a light and take turns being the light man and the shooter) or a constant-on light if there is a feeder.  See Hog Hunting Basics for recommendations.
  • Rubber boots and camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential, unless you’re hunting from an elevated stand).  If rain is predicted bring rain gear.  A hunter (blaze) orange cap and/or vest for ranches that allow group stalks.
  • A Thermacell is highly recommended to repel bugs.  Bug sprays are not recommended (hogs will smell bug spray on you and won’t come anywhere near you).
  • Food (if more than a day hunt).  The Event Coordinator/leader will often buy food for everyone (he also might buy sodas if he can get everyone to agree to which ones to buy).  Participants will divide the costs.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).
  • Sleeping bag, pillow, towels, etc. (depending on the accommodations).
  • Game cleaning tools (knives, sharpeners, saw, loppers, gambrel, and rope) if the ranch doesn’t have them.
  • A large ice chest to take your hog(s) home in.  It’s better to have one that is too big than one that is too small.
  • Hog bait and corn.  Here’s a hog bait recipe.
  • Rods and reels and lures (for ranches that have stocked tanks and allow fishing).

Randy Rowley has extras of many of the items that are listed above and will happily loan things if you let him know that you would like to borrow something before you leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it he will expect reimbursement.

Here is a simplified, and more printer-friendly, Hog Hunting Checklist.

These hunts are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s instructions, the land owner’s rules, and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of gas, food (if applicable), and motel rooms (if applicable).
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost.
  • Help.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Contact Raul Pena by email (his preference) or 210-364-0720 if you have any questions.

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May
10

Links Submissions Policy

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Per our Bylaws, submissions, including Links, from prospective FCS members (men and women who are not FCS members), will not be posted on the FCS website unless the requestor becomes a supporting member.  Here is Membership Information and How to Join.

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May
10

24-Hour Sporting Clays Shoots

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Our Annual 24-hour Sporting Clays Shoot at the 74 Ranch Resort Ranch near Campbellton (1 hour south of San Antonio) is usually held in April.  The cost is $300.00 per person for Friday noon to Saturday noon (double occupancy).  Single occupancy is $375 per person.

This includes 10 – 12 hours of shooting, four fantastic meals (from award winning Chef Tan Nguyen), and lodging.  The cost does not include your shotgun shells.  The average shooter shoots three to four cases of shells (40 boxes = $237.72 if shooting the Winchester Game Loads, available at Academy.  Figuring in your share of gas the total trip cost will be around $500, if you shoot three cases of the above or equivalent cost loads.  You may want to spread out the cost of the shells over several weeks.

We will arrive shortly before noon Friday and unload.  Lunch will be served, and then it’s off to the range in golf carts.  You can shoot as much as you like until dinner time.  You may shoot after dinner as well, but usually we have had enough shooting for one day.  The next morning starts with a super breakfast, followed by shooting, and another great lunch.  We will depart the ranch after lunch.

Here are pictures from past 24-Hour Sporting Clays Shoots:

One ounce 12 gauge loads are recommended as are either Past recoil shields (available at Academy), Bob Allen recoil shields (available at Walmart), or Browning Reactar gel pads (they can be inserted in a Browning vest or harness that are both designed for it and are available at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops) are wise investments.  As are shooting gloves, such as the Bob Allen Shotgunner (a mesh glove that is available at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops) as your gun will get very hot!

A round of 50 clay targets on the Sporting Clays course at Capitol City costs $25.44.  If you were to shoot 20 rounds (40 boxes or four cases) at Capitol City it would cost you $509.  For $300.00 at the 74 Ranch you get 20 rounds or so, four first class meals, and lodging equivalent to Best Western or La Quinta!  This is as much sporting clays shooting in 24 hours as we normally do in almost four years at Capitol City (if you shot every other month)!

The 74 Ranch has the following benefits:

  • Over 300 target combinations
  • 15 stations – minimum 4 traps per station
  • 75 Auto LaPorte Traps with Remotes
  • 20-foot, 40-foot, and two 100-foot Towers
  • 3 stations over water
  • 3 stations with targets 30 yards below your feet
  • Golf Carts

At the 74 Ranch, we also don’t keep score (like we do at Capitol City Clays) which speeds things up considerably.  At Capitol City we usually rotate shooters after every 8 – 10 shells.  At the 74 Resort Ranch we usually rotate after 2 – 3 boxes!  At the 74 Ranch you can literally “park” at a station until you figure it out.  Several of our members can testify how this has dramatically improved their shooting.

Note: The 74 Ranch Resort has changed their policy, and we must prepay a 50% deposit ($150.00) upfront, so Bruce Crockett will need your deposit by early February.  Make your check out to Bruce Crockett, and he will make one payment to the 74 Ranch Resort.  Send your check to Bruce no later than early February to:

Bruce Crockett

2119 Woodston Dr

Round Rock, Texas 78681

RSVP to Bruce Crockett at bmc55@att.net or 512-970-7797 on or before the due date, so Bruce can determine if we have adequate interest.  We will need a minimum of 4 people to secure our reservation and can take a maximum of 12 people.

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May
10

Chartered Bay Fishing Trips

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FCS has an annual chartered bay fishing trip usually usually in the spring of summer and usually our of Port O’Connor.  The most that we have taken is 15 participants, which required three guides/boats.  We have caught speckled trout, redfish, black drum, and several non-game fish.

Here are pictures from some of our chartered bay fishing trips:

If we have four fishermen on a boat the cost is $138 – $150 per person.  The guide(s) will supply the boat, rod and reel combos, landing nets, and a fish box.  They’ll clean the fish and bag them.  The price does not include bait (for some guides), shared gas, eating out on the way home, and an optional but highly recommended tip.  A 20% tip would be $28 – $30.

What to Bring

  • Saltwater fishing license.
  • Clothing appropriate for the season (including a cap).  You never know when it will rain, so bring rain gear.
  • A medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your fish home in (if you get any; leave it in your vehicle).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in the boats to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Sunglasses (optional, but highly recommended).
  • Bug repellent (optional).
  • Headlamp or cap light (optional)

The captains are required to have a life jacket for every passenger, so you won’t need one.

Expectations

These fishing trips are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the captain’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of vehicle gas.
  • Help when the captain asks you to.
  • Talk quietly – fish can hear you also and will swim away.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Don’t ask questions regarding information that has already been conveyed in the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails (and you would have known the answers if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s emails, phone calls, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

An RSVP and payment in full is required to Wayne Weilnau at txfalcon59@gmail.com or 512-589-4120.  Also contact Wayne if you have any questions.

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The following is the Rotation list for Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trips to Port O’Connor (POC).

To ensure fairness in determining who gets to go on these very popular trips with limited spots (and prevent just the fastest responders to Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trip notification emails from going), FCS maintains a Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trip Rotation.  If you want to go to on a Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trip, you must sign up to be placed on the Rotation, as the Event Coordinator will only communicate to people on the Rotation.

Here is how the Rotation works.

If you wish to be placed on the Rotation or have any questions email info@fcs-texas.org.

We’ve had many successful fishing trips but only one of our boat captains is a guide and three of them have full-time jobs and only fish on weekends, so don’t expect to always catch limits on these trips.

We primarily target redfish, black drum, and speckled trout but can also catch sheepshead, flounder, jack crevalle, sharks, rays, and a variety of non-game fish such as hardheads and lady fish, so be prepared.  For lure and line recommendations see the bottom of this page.

Here are pictures of some of our successes:

Boats can include Kevin McConnell’s, Randy Rowley’s, Daryl Shipper’s, and Wayne Weilnau’s bay boats, and possibly others.  Kevin, Randy, Daryl, and Wayne can take three hunters or fishermen on their boats in addition to them.  We fish from the boats, unless fishermen want to wade fish and the captain agrees.  In which case the captain’s will take the fishermen to the desired wade fishing spot(s), if possible (factoring in water level, the tide, etc.).

Costs:

  • The participants (excluding the captain) will split the vehicle and boat gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas), a boat wash after the event (to wash the salt and mud off), state or county park fees (if applicable), boat slip fees (if applicable), boat launch fees (if applicable), and toll road fees (if applicable).  The captains have to replace their boat batteries, trailer tires, wheel bearings, etc., and repair things like their trolling motors more quickly due to taking Rotation members on such trips than they would if they didn’t take Rotation members on such trips; therefore, they are exempt from the above expenses.
  • For Corpus Christi, we’ll stay in an Airbnb house or townhouse.  For Port O’Conner, Wayne Weilnau’s house can hold up to eight participants.  If we have more participants going than that, some will have to stay at The Inn at Clark’s (a waterfront inn on the Intercoastal), an Airbnb house, etc.  We’ll take the maid cleaning fee to clean Wayne’s house, the The Inn at Clark’s cost (including an extra boat slip fee (if applicable)) and divide it by the participants (not counting Wayne).  If Wayne’s house is not available, all participants will stay at The Inn at Clarks, an Airbnb house, etc.
  • We’ll eat out or get drive-through food.
  • Fishermen can buy live and/or dead bait (and/or use artificial lures).  Everyone in the boat must agree how we will fish before we go out as people who want to fish with lures will become frustrated if the boat isn’t moving often, people who want to fish with live bait will become frustrated if the boat is moving (as movement will drown the bait), and people who want to fish with dead bait will also become frustrated if the boat is moving.

What to Bring

  • Saltwater fishing license.
  • Rods and Reels (at least two in case you break one; ask your captain what the maximum number is that you can bring).
  • Lures and/or terminal tackle for live and/or dead bait.
  • Headlamp or cap light.
  • Clothing appropriate for the season (including a cap).  You never know when it will rain on the coast, so bring rain gear.
  • A fillet knife, fillet board (recommended), and knife sharpener (recommended).
  • Four gallon-sized Zip-Lok bags, as to be legal, you’ll need to have your fish in separate bags for separate days.
  • A medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your fish home in (if you get any).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in the boats to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Sunglasses (optional, but highly recommended).
  • Bug repellent (optional).
  • Waders (if you plan to do wade fishing; except during late spring, summer, and early fall trips; ask your captain if he plans to do any wade fishing).

The captains are required to have a life jacket for every passenger, so you won’t need one unless you wear an unusual size (ask your captain if he has your size).

Randy has extras of many of the items that are listed above (e.g., cap lights, rods and reels, lures, etc.) and will happily loan them if you let him know before we leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it he will expect reimbursement.

Expectations

Being on this rotation is a privilege and is not an FCS membership benefit.  This rotation is a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations.   Randy Rowley has and will remove people from the Rotation for violations of the below expectations (this list is not all-inclusive):

  • Follow the captain’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of the truck and boat gas, motel rooms, boat launch, and bait (if used) fees.
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including lures that you borrowed and broke or lost).
  • Help (including helping get the boats back on the trailers).
  • Be prepared to fish (if others have to help you rig properly on the boat, it takes away from their fishing time).  This does not apply to new fishermen.
  • Talk quietly – fish can hear you also and will swim away.
  • Don’t be rude.  Examples of rude behavior include deciding to go get coffee after the boat has already launched and your partners are ready to fish, throwing a cast net from the boat while your partners are actively fishing, and fishing with too many rods out – which prevents your partners from fishing at all.  All of these examples have happened on FCS Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trips.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Don’t ask questions regarding information that has already been conveyed in the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails (and you would have known the answers if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s emails, phone calls, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.
  • People on the Rotation who do not respond to any of the Event Coordinators emails during a calendar year will be removed from the Rotation the next year.

The Rotation

The following people are on the Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trip Rotation (as stated in How the Rotation Works, the Event Hierarchy applies); Kevin, Randy, Daryl, and Wayne will always have Spot #’s 1 – 4, as they are the boat captains):

  1. Kevin McConnell
  2. Randy Rowley
  3. Daryl Shipper
  4. Wayne Weilnau
  5. Ryan and Claire Rowley (Claire will not go without Ryan)
  6. Steve Fusco
  7. Raul Pena
  8. Ken Miller
  9. Harold Terry (Harold and Edward Terry prefer to go on trips together)
  10. Edward Terry (Edward and Harold Terry prefer to go on trips together)
  11. Steve Ritter
  12. Zack Elmer
  13. Mark Kelton
  14. Mike Pozhenko and his minor son
  15. Ted Lieb (Ted, Blake, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on trips together)
  16. Isaac Lieb (Isaac, Ted, and Blake Lieb prefer to go on trips together)
  17. Jonathan Fleming
  18. Patrick Kelley
  19. Christian Bana
  20. Steven Babin
  21. Larry Mitchell
  22. Darvin Borgfeld
  23. Chris Rowley (Chris will not go without Randy)
  24. Zack and Yuri Tumlinson (Yuri will not go without Zack)
  25. Ron Campbell
  26. Barry Brown
  27. Jim McGee
  28. Burl Fulenwider
  29. Mike Curran
  30. Binh Chu and his minor son
  31. Roy Zengerle
  32. Blake Lieb (Blake, Ted, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on trips together)

Contact info@fcs-texas.org if you would like to be added to this rotation.  Let Randy Rowley know if you have any questions at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.

Lure recommendations

Soft plastics – Egret Baits’ VuDu Shrimp and VuDu Vixen, Z-Man’s EZ Shrimpz, scented Jerk Shad, Paddler, and Pogy, Berkley’s Gulp Alive Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, Shrimp, Swimming Mullet, Pogy, Ripple Mullets, Mud Minnow/coakers, Salt Strong’s Slam Shaddy, and Saltwater Jerk Shad, Zoom’s Salty Super Fluke, Norton Lures’ Sand Shad, Sand Eel, and Bull Minnow, and Bass Assassin’s BANG Die Dapper, Sea Shad, Saltwater Shad Assassin, and Saltwater Curly Tail Shad.

Soft plastics colors – salt and pepper (Bass Assassin calls it Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom), white/red, red/white, and Bass Assassin’s Chicken on a Chain (light green and white with black specks and a chartreuse tail).

Jig heads – H&H Lure Double-Eye, Pro Shad, Rattilize, Arrow Head, Cocahoe, Strike King Trokar, Bass Assassin, and Z-Man Redfish Eye and Trout Eye.  1/8, 3/16, 1/4, or 3/8 oz. in red, white, or lead.

Spoons – Nacho Daddy Loaded Nachos, Johnson’s Silver Minnow and Gold Minnow, H&H Lure’s Secret Weedless Redfish Spoon, Strike King’s Sexy Spoon, and Nichols Lures’ Mojo Flutter Spoon.  1/2 – 1 ounce in gold or silver.  These are particularly good for redfish and speckled trout.  Redfish seem to prefer gold and trout seem to prefer silver.

Topwaters – walk the dog lures like Bomber’s Badonk-A-Donk, Heddon’s Zara Spook, Zara Spook Jr., and Chug’n Spook Jr., Rapala’s Saltwater Skitter Walk and Skitter V, MirrOlure’s Series III, Pro Dog Jr., or Top Dog Jr., and Yo-Zuri 3DB Topwater Pencil and 3-D Inshore Pencil; poppers like MirrOlure’s C-Eye Poppa Mullet Surface Popper and Heddon’s Chuggar Spook; and torpedo lures like River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper.  The last two lures don’t come with saltwater hooks, so be sure to rinse the hooks with freshwater after use in saltwater.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Lipless crankbaits/twitch baits – Bill Lewis’s Magnum Force, Mag-Trap, Knock-N-Trap, and Rat-L-Trap, MirrOlure’s MirrODine, MirrODine XL, Paul Brown’s Fat Boy, MirrOMinnow, MirrOMullett, Series III Catch 2000, 52 MR, She Dog, She Pup, Glad Shad, and XXL, and Rapala’s X-Rap Twitchin’ Minnow and Twitchin’ Mullet.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Crankbaits – Bill Lewis’s Echo and MirrOlure’s MirrOLip 1/2 oz Suspending Crankbait.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Hard jerk baits/swim baits – Yo-Zuri’s Pin’s Minnow Floating Swim Bait, Crystal 3-D Minnow, Crystal Minnow, 3DS 2-3/4? Suspending Minnow, Mag Minnow, and 3-D Inshore, Bomber’s Jointed Long A, Saltwater Grade Heavy Duty Long A, and Magnum Long A, and Cotton Cordell’s Red-Fin.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Hard bait lure colors – white with red heads, silver with red heads, silver with black backs, silver with blue backs, silver with pink backs, gold with pink backs, bone, and chartreuse.

Line Recommendations for baitcasting and spinning reels (you can use lighter line with spinning reels)

For topwater lures use mono in 12 – 15 lb. test or braid in 30 lb. test.

For diving lures use fluorocarbon in 14 – 17 lb. test or mono in 12 – 15 lb. test.

Leader Recommendations

20 or 25 lb. test fluorocarbon or mono.

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Mar
30

Becoming a Registered User Policy

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There is no need or benefit to becoming a registered user on this website.  The Registered Users section is for website administrators/managers to create, revise, or delete posts.  Contact info@fcs-texas.org if you wish to have something posted or to reply to a post.  Only posts and replies from FCS members will be added or revised.

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Mar
30

Guests Articles Submission Policy

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Over the years we’ve received several requests from non-FCS members to submit ‘guest articles’ to be posted on our website.  As such requests were distracting us from our main purpose, we added the following to our Bylaws:III.  Membership:

    1. A prospective FCS member will receive FCS emails at his or her request or the request of an FCS member on the prospective member’s behalf.  Submissions from prospective FCS members (men and women who are not FCS members) will not be posted on the FCS website.

Furthermore, in order to be accepted by a member, an article would have to fit with what we do – hunt, fish, and sport shoot, or speak to Christianity, and be non-political, as our Bylaws state:

    1. Statement of Purpose:

FCS is a non-denominational, non-political, non-profit sportsmen’s club founded in Austin, Texas in 1988 by a group of Christian sportsmen.

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We’re a small huntingfishing, and sport shooting club with a very tight budget that focuses largely on Central Texas.  We don’t generate revenue, except through membership dues.  We aren’t interested in beating our competitors – on the contrary, we hope they succeed in bringing more sportsmen into their ranks, as that makes us all stronger.  We aren’t interested in generating much more web traffic than we presently have.  Our website mainly exists to convey upcoming events to our members – it does that very well and we have no need for apps, website enhancements (a new website, bug fixes, enhancements, website redesign), promotions, website optimization campaigns (SEO), etc.

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Mar
30

Ask Randy

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Send your questions to Randy at info@fcs-texas.org.  Questions are in red (bold).  Responses are in black.

Do you have a good list of rules for hunting camp/hunting together?  How about a list of gun range/sighting in rules?

Here are our FCS rules – https://fcs-texas.org/category/events/rules-of-conduct/.  FCS doesn’t have any range rules, but here are some from a local range – http://www.shadyoaksgunrange.com/wp-content/uploads/Annual-Waiver-SHADY-OAKS-GUN-ARCHERY-RANGE-03-11-2020.pdf.  Also, here are some rules on sighting in (although they’re really just range rules) – https://dwr.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/sighting-in-range-rules.pdf.  Lastly, here is information on sighting in procedures – 4 Rules for Effectively Sighting in Your Rifle and Sighting in your rifle.

How much do 3D archery shoots cost?

I have no idea – I’ve never shot one.  Contact Mike Walsh at duxmn@austin.rr.com or 512-560-7001 – he’s shot in Hill Country Bowhunters 3D shoots.

I didn’t receive my duck stamp in the mail.  What should I do?

Contact Amplex at duckstamp@amplex.com or 800/852-4897.  Do not contact the Federal Duck Stamp Office.

What accessories do I need to add to my stock/basic AR for hog and deer hunting and for home defense?

I recommend the following AR accessories for hog and deer hunting and home defense:

  1. Scope and scope mount.  For scopes see Choosing a Deer and Hog Rifle Scope.  For mounts I recommend the Burris Optics P.E.P.R. Riflescope Mount, Featuring Picatinny Ring Tops.  $75 at https://www.amazon.com/Burris-410343-Riflescope-Featuring-Picatinny/dp/B004P81FMU.  Note that they make them for 1”, 30mm, and 34mm scopes, so be sure to order one that fits your scope.
  2. Flashlight, either for nighttime hog or predator hunting or for home defense (as it’s very hard to hold and shoot a rifle with one hand and hold a flashlight in your other hand – attaching your flashlight to your rifle solves that problem; you also don’t have to spend time looking for your flashlight when seconds count).  If you can’t see the hogs or predators you won’t be able to shoot them.  Note that you can’t hunt deer at night, so if you’re only going to hunt deer and hunt hogs during the day a hunting flashlight isn’t a necessity.  For nighttime hunting – either an Odepro KL52Plus Zoomable Hunting Flashlight for $101 at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0755FQFP1 (800 lumens; comes with a red light (for predators), a green light (for hogs), infrared light (for blood tracking), and white light, which can be used as a tactical light; weather, water and shock resistant; they cover free repair for any purchases within 24 months if problems develop with normal use, does not include a Picatinny rail mount – you’ll need to buy a Magpul M-LOK Cantilever Rail/Light Mount for $33, see #3 below) or an Exclusive Wildlife Kill Light 250 XLR Flashlight for $150 at https://elusivewildlife.com/shop/hunting-lights/tactical-lights-94/kill-lightr-xlr-250-gun-package-single-mode-or-triple-mode-on-off-or-pressure.html (includes a low profile Picatinny rail mount, ready to be installed on Magpul 7 slot rail section – see #5 below; available in three color options: green (for hogs – 260 lumens), red (for predators – 270 lumens) or white (for tactical – 360 lumens), but you have to choose one for their base model; withstands the abuses almost any hunting environment can throw at it, but does not indicate whether it is water-resistant; has a money back 45 day guarantee on the entire package including shipping and a lifetime warranty on the light body and LED).  I bought a Kill Light with a green lens several years ago, before Odepro came on the market.  If I were buying today to mount on an AR, I’d buy the Odepro and the Magpul M-LOK Cantilever Rail/Light Mount and save $16, compared to the price for the Kill light, and get a more versatile and powerful light.  For home defense – either an Orion H40-W LED Tactical Flashlight for $60 at https://www.amazon.com/Orion-Tactical-Flashlight-Pressure-Switch/dp/B00BNFDQMU (1000 lumen; the bundle includes a Picatinny/Weaver single rail mount, ready to be installed on Magpul 7 slot rail section – see #5 below; recoil-proof and water-resistant; has a free replacement on any defective or broken parts) or an Ozark Armament 600 Lumen Light for $50 at https://www.amazon.com/Ozark-Armament-Remote-Pressure-Switch/dp/B06XH9JX3N/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1529773216&sr=1-2&keywords=ozark+600&linkCode=sl1&tag=pewpewtac-20&linkId=22f1c282f3dc179e3bcc0ccea237d094 (600 lumen; the bundle includes a Picatinny single rail mount, ready to be installed on Magpul 7 slot rail section – see #5 below; water resistant; lifetime warranty against any and all defects).  I’d buy the Orion as you get 400 more lumens for just $10 more.  All four lights come with an on/off pressure switch.
  3. Magpul M-LOK Cantilever Rail/Light Mount, Aluminum.  $33 at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MRB09NI/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1.  It will mount directly to your M-LOK rail, either one of the sides or the bottom, as far forward as possible.  This is not needed if you buy the Orion H40-W LED Tactical Flashlight, Ozark Armament 600 Lumen Light, or current Exclusive Wildlife Kill Light 250 XLR Flashlights (see #2 above).  They are only needed for the Odepro KL52Plus Zoomable Hunting Flashlight and older Exclusive Wildlife Kill Light 250 XLR Flashlights without a low profile Picatinny rail mount.
  4. Magpul angled foregrip. $35 at https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/magpul-afg2-angled-foregrip.  If you do a lot of shooting by just gripping your M-LOK rail you had better wear some thick gloves.  This foregrip also gives you better control of your rifle.  It should be mounted to your M-LOK bottom rail on a Magpul 7 slot rail section – see #5 below.  
  5. Magpul 7 slot rail section for the foregrip (see #4 above).  You won’t be able to mount the foregrip on a M-LOK rail without a rail section.  You can get one at https://www.amazon.com/Magpul-M-LOK-Polymer-Rail-Slots/dp/B00PDKO7LU/ref=pd_bxgy_1/135-1955353-2153913?pd_rd_w=MwdyG&pf_rd_p=c64372fa-c41c-422e-990d-9e034f73989b&pf_rd_r=NRY3WTJWPSMBXHSDYTVG&pd_rd_r=20f1222b-d540-4dfe-b90d-db4cb8a6d99f&pd_rd_wg=559Nc&pd_rd_i=B00NTZ5738&th=1 for $13.  
  6. EZshoot 2 Point Sling and Quick Release Sling Mount. $12 at https://www.ebay.com/itm/255104091413?hash=item3b65638515:g:lVQAAOSw2ftgutUb.  Slings make it easy to carry your rifle from your vehicle to your stand while you’re also carrying other stuff.  Also, if you’re just going to be stalking through the woods, a sling will put your rifle’s weight on your shoulders instead of your arms.
  7. Magpul ASAP – Ambidextrous Sling Attachment Point.  $27 at https://www.opticsplanet.com/magpul-asap-sling-plate.html.  This may not be needed if you have studs on your forearm and stock to attach a sling.
  8. Back Up Iron Sights (BUIS).  They’re mainly for home defense where a scope may make hitting a moving intruder difficult.  I got an open box one here for $26 – https://daggerdefense.com/products/open-box-dagger-defense-tactical-flip-buis-picatinny-rail-mounted-backup-iron-sights.  There wasn’t a scratch of ding on them.  However, if your scope isn’t mounted high you might have to use an angled BUIS like these (also $26) – https://daggerdefense.com/products/open-box-dagger-defense-flip-buis-45-degree-picatinny-rail-mounted-backup-iron-sightsThey mount directly to your Picatinny top rail – no Magpul rail section is needed.

What 5-gallon deer feeder and feeder battery charger should I get?

Academy and Bass Pro don’t have any 5-gallon feeders on their websites (just a 15-gallon Moultrie one, which would weigh 120 lbs. with three bags of corn in it and would require a lot thicker tree branch).

Best Deer Feeders for the Money recommends the American Hunter 5-Gallon Bucket Feeder.  You can get one on Amazon for $49.99.  However, it has more 1-star (bad) reviews than 5-star reviews on Amazon.  The downside is it comes with a plastic bucket, which isn’t as good as metal.  This one includes a varmint guard and appears to have a metal barrel – https://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/american-hunter-50-lb-hanging-feeder-treebark-camo?a=272788.  It costs $58.49 if you’re a Sportsman’s Guide member; $64.99 if you’re not.  I’d get that one, if I were you.

As to feeder battery chargers, I’d go with the HQRP Fully Automatic 6V/12V Sealed Lead Acid Smart Battery Charger SLA Maintainer, as it will shut off and won’t keep charging when the battery is fully charged.  They sell for $25.95.

Does the Club go deer hunting?  Does the Club hunt hogs for food, or is the intent just to kill them and leave them?

The Club rarely goes on day deer hunts.  As a lot of day leases are over hunted, I, as I’m in charge of big game hunts, only arrange day deer hunts with people who I know (and who let me know that they’re willing to let us hunt on their land).  Since 1988, we’ve only had five semi-guided day deer hunts.

Most of our deer hunters are either on season or year-round leases, so they’re not interested in also going on day deer hunts.  They’ve invested a lot of money in stands, feeders, corn, and maintaining their lease, so they have no interest in paying to hunt a place somewhere else that has worse odds (because they’re over hunted) than the places that they’re season or year-round leasing.

We require hunters to take home the meat that they harvest or donate it to the needy.  In our history, we’ve only had two hunters who didn’t want the hogs they shot, but other hunters took the meat home.  The following is in our Rules of Conduct – “Participants agree to: Never kill or shoot at birds or animals that they do not intend to eat or are not doing so to assist in wildlife depredation (e.g., shooting at sparrows and dragonflies.”

What decoys do I need for duck hunting?

The majority of the ducks that you’ll see and shoot on the Central Texas lakes are green-winged teal, gadwalls, redheads, and wigeons.  Pintails are a distant fifth place (but they’re good decoys to have as they’re highly visible).

Teal decoys really aren’t necessary, as teal will decoy to bigger decoys quite readily.  And redheads will decoy to pink decoys with purple polka dots – I’ve had them land close to me on afternoon hunts when I’m setting out decoys and on morning hunts when I’m picking decoys up.  So, I recommend starting out buying gadwalls and wigeons.

Scaups, shovelers (spoonbills), canvasbacks, buffleheads, mallards, wood ducks are rare.  It’s probably not worth buying decoys for them (except you often get 12 mallards per box, compared to six for the others).

As to brands, my Flambeau decoys have held up for more than 30 years and my Academy Game Winner Carvers Series decoys are holding up well.  My Greenhead Gear decoys aren’t holding up as well as my Flambeau’s.  I haven’t tried anything more expensive than Flambeau or Greenhead Gear.

Why not use a 20 gauge?

A 20 gauge has two distinct advantages.

The first is weight.  They’re between a 1/2 – 1 lb. lighter than the same model 12 gauge and their shells are lighter.  Again, given the above example, 1/8 ounce/shell = 3.125 ounces/box.  As most of the dove hunters that I know carry three boxes of shells with them in the field, that’s 9.375 ounces or a little more than half a pound.  For the 12 gauge dove hunter, a one pound heavier gun and half-pound heavier shells can mean a more fatigued hunter who will start to miss easy shots.  So, if you’re going to only hunt dove-sized game birds and shoot clay targets, a 20 gauge is a good choice.

The second is recoil.  Generally a 20 gauge of the same make and model will kick less than a 12 gauge.  However, there are exceptions.  Generally, the lighter the gun the more it will kick.  Just about the hardest kicking gun that I owned was a Franchi AL-48 recoil-operated 20 gauge that weighed five pounds.  I quickly traded it.  Recoil is more of a consideration for kids, people of smaller stature, and people who have sustained shoulder or neck injuries.  It’s also a consideration for heavier loads.

However, a 20 gauge has two distinct disadvantages.

The first is payload.  A 20 gauge has less pellets, given the same load type (for example, game load compared to game load).  For example, with 8 shot, a 1 oz. field load 20 gauge = 400 pellets.  A 1 1/8 oz. field load 12 gauge = 450 pellets.  The increased payload of the 12 gauge makes a big difference with ducks/pheasants and larger game birds or animals.  However, if your targets are only going to be dove-sized game birds or clay targets, then there isn’t a lot of difference (usually 12.5%) between the 12 gauge and 20 gauge payloads, given the same load type.

The second is cost.  To equal the payload of a 12 gauge 1 oz. game load you’d have to buy a 20 gauge 1 oz. field load, which will cost $1.50 – $2 more per box than a box of 12 gauge game loads, or $15 – $20 more per case.  Most hunters don’t want to pay more to get the same firepower.  But again, if you can live with 1/8 ounce less shot than the equivalent 12 gauge load type (i.e., game load to game load), you won’t have to spend more money.

The bottom line – if your targets are only going to be dove-sized game birds or clay targets and you aren’t bothered by having a 12.5% less payload compared to the same load type in 12 gauge, then a 20 gauge is a fine choice.  But if you plan to hunt ducks/pheasants or larger game birds or animals, you’ll probably find a 20 gauge lacking.

What caliber rifle should I get for my kiddo for deer and hogs?

The .243 is the minimum caliber that most manufacturers/sellers recommend for deer-sized game.  In fact, the Independence Ranch (where we used to hunt hogs) doesn’t allow anything smaller than a .243 to be used to hunt their hogs.  It’s offered in 80 and 100 grain loads, with the former being preferred for varmints and the latter being preferred for deer-sized game.  It’s the best choice for kids and many adults.  The 6mm Creedmoor and 6mm Remington (both are .244 caliber) have similar cartridge offerings to the .243, but their ammo is harder to find, as they’re not nearly as popular as the .243.

Don’t get anything in the .224 family (.223, .22-250, etc.).  Most of the loads for those calibers are varmint loads.  It says so right on the boxes.  Deer-sized game is not what they were designed for.  The few cartridges that are designed for deer-sized game use 62 grain loads or larger.  The 100 grain .243 has a 38% larger bullet.  With the .224 family there is less room for error so the hunter must have better shot placement than they would with calibers that are designed for deer-sized game.  Yes, many people have killed lots of deer-sized game with them, but most of those hunters have years of experience and have become expert shots.  Most kids don’t have years of experience and aren’t expert shots.  Put a .224 in their hands and you’ll be looking at a long track, and very possibly not recovering the game, which will cause it needless pain and suffering.  If  an inexperienced/not an expert shot kid uses a cartridge designed for deer-sized game, you probably won’t have a long track or any at all, and the game will expire quickly.

Don’t get anything bigger, such as a 6.5 Creedmoor, .25-06, .270, .280, 7mm-08, .308, .30-06, .30-30, etc.  They kick a lot more and your kiddo possibly will never want to shoot again.  Don’t get them any cartridge with the word “Magnum” in it’s name.  They can graduate to bigger calibers as they age/get bigger.  Also, .25-06, .280, 7mm-08, and .30-30 ammo are harder to find, as they’re not nearly as popular as the 6.5 Creedmoor, .270, .308, and .30-06.

For freshwater fishing here in central Texas, have you heard of any spot with good fishing reports that could be fished from the bank?  I’m wanting to take some friends who do not fish that much to a great spot.  But I don’t have access to a boat.

If this were the spring, I’d recommend to fish at The Steps on the San Gabriel River leading to Lake Granger or at Newman’s Bottom at Yegua Creek leading to Lake Somerville for white bass.  But, as the white bass run is long over, you wouldn’t get many bites at either place right now.

The best places, if you don’t mind traveling, include the Port Aransas south jetty, the Corpus Christi Packery Channel jetties, the Port Aransas Horace Caldwell Pier, or the Corpus Christi Bob Hall Pier.

We’re in the dog days of summer – you can find fish on lakes in Texas, but you’ll need a boat to get to most of them.  For example, there is a lot of shore access on Pace Bend Park on Lake Travis, but you’ll have to contend with the wakes from all the wake and ski boats and jet skiers.  If you’re using bobbers, those wakes will constantly push your bobbers back to shore.

There are lakes that have a lot of fishing access, such as Lake Granger, which is surrounded by Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s) and parks, but most banks in the WMA’s (which dominate the lake) have trees right by the shore.  This makes casting difficult, so I advise fishing from the parks.  Lakes Belton, Somerville, and Stillhouse Hollow also have several WMA’s and parks that you can fish at.  Those lakes and Granger don’t get anywhere near the wake and ski boat and jet ski traffic that Lakes Travis and Austin do.

Bastrop and Fayette have two parks each, so shore access is limited.  They also have trails near the water, but you’d be casting right next to trees.  Decker only has one park, so shore access is even more limited.  There are spots where you can fish on Lady Bird, but you have to watch to ensure that your back cast doesn’t snag a biker, jogger, or walker.

Here are five freshwater spots near Austin where you might have a good day:

  1. Lake Pflugerville – you can fish the banks of the entire lake, but it often gets choked with hydrilla, so throw something that can punch through it (e.g. a crawdad with a 1-ounce weight).
  2. Brushy Creek Lake and Brushy Creek – there are many fishing spots from shore.
  3. Colorado River – there are many places to fish from shore.  Heading east from Austin, there’s Little Webberville Park, Big Webberville Park (aka Webberville Park), McKinney Roughs Nature Park (about a 15-minute hike to the river), Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop, Vernon Richard’s Park in Stephenville, etc.
  4. Moby Dick’s Pond.  Requires reservations, a two-hour minimum, and their present rate is $10/hour.  They’re catch and release only.  As it’s a private pond no fishing license is required.
  5. Quarries Park Lake.  This 13-acre lake, owned by Hyde Park Baptist Church, requires an annual permit ($45/year) to fish it.  It used to hardly be used, but not many kayakers use it.  They’re catch and release only.  As it’s a private pond no fishing license is required.

I have a buddy who is an avid hunter but has been fighting a good fight over the last couple of years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  It would really be a special deal to get this guy out on a hog hunt.  The problem is he gets really tired real quick so not able to do a lot of walking/stalking and has to be a close drive from cedar park.  Are you aware of any place within a 30-45 min drive from Cedar Park that I could take him hog hunting?  We will use my night vision and thermals and really would not need a guide unless the property owner would require it.

The vast majority of hog hunts on game ranches are semi-guided (the guide shows you where the stands, feeders, cleaning station, and gut dump are and then leaves you on your own).  Rarely do game ranches allow self-guided hunts.  Rarer still do they offer fully guided hunts.

Some ranches have more success with group stalks.  Others have more success with stand hunting.  I’ve had success with both, although stalking should be limited to daylight hours.

Some ranches are geared for night hunting, with motion-activated lights under their feeders.  Some just have stands and feeders.

Unfortunately, hog hunting is an exhausting endeavor.  For example, Burl Fulenwider and I hunted last weekend at a ranchette just outside of Austin (unfortunately that property is no longer an option as the owners will move into their house on 6/1/21 and the wife wants all hunting activities to cease before then).  We arrived at 7:45 PM on Friday and hunted a makeshift stand until 3:30 AM on Saturday (and only saw five deer).  I got home at 4:00 AM and I’m still feeling the effects of staying up that late four days later.  We also just had four hunters hunt on a ranch near Rocksprings (186 miles away).  Two hogs were killed and one was missed.  All shots were during daylight hours.  They didn’t see anything at night, which is typically when you see hogs, as they’re predominantly nocturnal.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of any reasonable ranches within a 30 – 45 minute drive of Cedar Park.  Most hog hunting ranches are further east, south, west, or north.  Our previous hunt was near Crockett, 170 miles away.  The hunt before that was near Gonzales, 82 miles away.

I’m a member of several hog hunting and general hunting Facebook groups, including a moderator for Hunting Texas & Deer Leases, so I’ll let you know if I see an ad for a ranch within a 30 – 45 minute drive from Cedar Park.

How does someone get involved in the Austin Christian Bass Club?

I was a member of ACBC for two years, probably a decade ago.  They’re a great group of guys and I enjoyed fishing with them, but found that trying to keep up with my FCS duties, attend 40+ FCS events a year, and fish with them was too much for me to handle (and stay married), so I stopped going to their tournaments.

Back then, the annual dues were $24.  They’re probably higher now.  The way that their tournaments worked is the rigger paid for the boat and vehicle gas and the non-rigger paid for the tournament entry fee.  Back then it was $20.  It’s probably higher now.  I can’t remember how boat ramp fees/park entrance fees were handled.

Back when I was a member, they met on the third Thursday evening each month and fished the following Saturday (I think that they’re still doing it that way).  Teams are chosen by drawing.  They put all the riggers in one cap and the non-riggers in another.  A rigger won’t fish with a rigger.  They don’t allow you to fish with someone more than once a year – this encourages a fisherman to get to know more men.

Tournaments were/are “paper” tournaments (bass are not kept).  You record the bass that you catch on their weight sheet.  Then you add up your best five.  It’s based on the honor system.  Tournament prizes are either trophies or small brass plates to put on a perpetual plaque.  They primarily fishing local lakes (Decker, Fayette, Austin, Travis, Bastrop, and Stillhouse Hollow were their favorites when I was a member) but have (had) one tournament a year at a lake that was considerably further away (e.g., Richland Chambers).

Here is their website.  Here is their Contact Us web page.  I don’t see a way to join on their website, so I recommend that you contact them to find out what their procedures are.

Do you know of any company or individuals that do gun bluing work very well?

I had McBride’s Guns redo a shotgun barrel for me once with a matte finish.  Saltwater from duck hunting at the coast had started to make the barrel bluing splotchy.  However, within two years it started doing it again.  So I sold that gun and bought a camo one.

My cousin wants to come to Texas and go fishing with me.  Where do you suggest I take him and when do you think is the best time?

If you plan to bank fish, here is a list of Fishing Holes in the Austin Area.  Be aware that I haven’t updated the list since May 2019.

Mornings are usually best, as they wake up hungry.  Spring is generally the best time of year to fish.  Before the spawn, they’re eating like crazy to survive the spawn.  Bedded bass rarely eat during the spawn.  After the spawn, they’re trying to regain their lost weight.  They’ll spawn when the water temperature hits 60 degrees.   They usually spawn in mid to late March in central Texas.

Rather than bank fish or rent a boat, I recommend hiring a guide.  I highly recommend Ander Meine of Bassquash Fishing.  He’s a great teacher.

I also might be able to take the two of you on a self-chartered freshwater fishing trip, but it will have to fit my schedule, and, as you know, I’m fairly busy.  I guarantee you that we wouldn’t do as well as y’all would with Ander.

Do you use Loctite to keep fiberoptic shotgun sights from pivoting right or left?

I use Loctite Blue (removable) for my fiberoptic shotgun sights.  By so doing, if I decide that I want to try another one later, the old sight is easier to get off.
 

I know you duck hunt Granger, but have you ever bass fished it?  If you have, could you tell me anything about it?  Where did you put in?  Did you ever fish the river?

TPWD rates it poor for largemouths.  See Fishing Granger Lake.  I’ve never caught a largemouth there – only white bass.  It’s an excellent crappie and catfish lake.

The entire lake is surrounded by Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) – Sorefinger, Pecan Grove (below the dam), San Gabriel, and Willis Creek and parks Fox, Taylor, Willis Creek, and Friendship (going clockwise from the dam).  Here is a map of the lake – https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/granger/Brochures/Granger%20Lake%20Map.pdf.

The San Gabriel WMA has a lot of stumps and trees in the water and the Willis Creek WMA has a lot of trees in the water. Straying from the channel in the San Gabriel WMA and on the San Gabriel River is foolish.  I usually hit six stumps on my way (at idle speed) to where we hunt in the dark and hit six more on the way back to the ramp in the daylight.  I’ve seen bass boats blowing through the channel at 50 MPH, which borders on suicidal.

The lake’s water level varies considerably, so there are plenty of stumps that you can see when the lake is at its normal pool but if the lake raises a foot or two you won’t’ see them, and then – Wham!

Therefore, I recommend that you fish the Sorefinger WMA if you still want to fish it.  It has a lot fewer trees and stumps.  There is a 24-hour ramp at Friendship Park, which is on the east border of the Sorefinger WMA.  It’s on FM 971, near the dam.

You would think that with all the timber that the bass fishing would be good, but that’s definitely not the case.

Where I can get hog hunting lights like yours, either red or green?

I paid $123 for my Texasboars.com three red light unit (see the picture below) about 15 years ago.  It doesn’t have a motion detector feature.  I just clip the alligator clips on a 12-volt battery.  It also works on a 6-volt battery, but not well – the one time that I used a 6-volt battery I couldn’t see my crosshairs in my scope.  Since I bought my light they have continued to improve them and their prices have skyrocketed.  Their top of the line light, which illuminates 5200+ square yards, now sells for $349 – see https://texasboars.com/shop/recon-rv718-feederlight-c-65.html.  Their second best light, which illuminates 2000+ square yards, sells for $235 – see https://texasboars.com/shop/recon-rv709-feederlight-c-66.html.  Their least expensive light, which illuminates 1375 square yards, sells for $86 – see https://texasboars.com/shop/prohunter-feederlight-c-67.html.

This picture was taken from 17 yards away.

 

I paid $40 for my green Moultrie light (see the picture below).  It screws into the bottom of my 5-gallon Moultrie feeder.  I got it at Tractor Supply online (at https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/moultrie-feeder-hog-light?cm_mmc=SEM-_-Google-_-DynamicAdGroups-_-AllSiteTSCExtAd&gclid=Cj0KCQjwhIP6BRCMARIsALu9Lfmh3J5Qf4xQYroB2X3MxHPV-2AJcac9z0BdMn_W5P6xDzt-71wis6AaAvRYEALw_wcB) in the early summer of 2020.  Academy also sells them.  They operate on four C cell batteries.  I read that their motion detector is iffy, but it works on mine.  Mine died after six months but Moultrie sent me a new one.  I also bought a solar panel for it and have sent it back twice.  I don’t recommend it.

This picture was taken from 15 yards away (the picture was enlarged).

I’m really impressed with All Seasons Feeders feeder mechanisms, so I’ll bet their lights are great too.  This one is solar-powered, and sells for around $149 – see https://www.allseasonsfeeders.com/collections/huniting-accessories/products/asf-boar-light-xt.  Here is it’s little brother, which sells for $69 – see https://www.allseasonsfeeders.com/collections/huniting-accessories/products/lil-squealer.

I and several other FCS guys own and love KillLight250 flashlights made by Elusive Wildlife Technologies.  Here are a few of their hog lights:

Sniper Hog Lights is another brand that people swear by.  Their Exterminator III sells for $390 – see https://sniperhoglights.com/exterminator-iii-feeder-light/
 

What is the best fish finder to buy under 1K?  I looked at the Garmin Echomap.

Lowrance, Humminbird, and Garmin are the Ford’s, Chevy’s, and Dodge’s of the fish finder world.  You really can’t go wrong with any of them.

I have the Humminbird Helix 7.  My Minn Kota trolling motor is supposed to plot using the Helix, but I’ve never messed with it, as it’s on my center console.

A couple of friends love the Garmin Livescope, but they’re $2,500.

Here are some articles:

My son and I have never been deer hunting and were hoping to go this winter.  I do not see any events on your calendar for this.  Is that correct?  If you do not have a deer hunting event, where do you recommend going for beginners?

7/1/21 Update:

Kevin McConnell report that he has been a hunt master for the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) for over 20 years.  The Austin Woods and Waters club runs the largest youth hunt in the world every year out of Cave Creek, near Fredericksburg.  See http://TYHP.org to register and apply for the hunt.  It is usually the first or second weekend of January.  Let him know if you have any questions at kmcaustin@gmail.com.  Tom Hewitt reports that the TYHP is the largest in the USA.  Allen Hansen reports that TYHP does over 100 hunts a year.

Marc Ritter reported that the Safari Club International had/has? a youth hunt program with land owners to cull does.  For example, here’s an article on a ranch in Michigan that allowed youth hunters to harvest deer – Legends Ranch Hosts Special Youth Challenge Hunts for SCIF Youth Pathfinders.  Tom Hewitt reports that SCI clubs in Texas supports youth hunting organizations.  Dallas Safari Club, not affiliated with SCI, supports youth organizations.

Jim Bradley reports that the Texas Wildlife Association and TPWD has a Youth Hunting Program.

Tom Hewitt also reports that Operation Orphans actively offers children in homes the opportunity to be outdoors at host ranches.

We don’t have much demand for deer day hunts.  In our 31-year history, we have had five deer day hunts.  The vast majority of the guys in the Club who deer hunt are on season-long or year-round leases.  A problem with day hunt ranches is a lot of them are over hunted and, therefore, you don’t see many deer.

Here are four websites that advertise leases (including day leases):

And here are six Facebook Groups that advertise leases (you must join the groups):

  • Texas Hunting & Deer Leases
  • Texas Hunting and Deer Leases (they ripped off the first site’s name)
  • Texas Hunting Leases and Day Hunts
  • Texas Hunting Leases and Outfitters
  • Texas Hunting Guides & Outfitters
  • Texas Cheap Hunts and Fishing (this site tends to focus on day hunts)

Unfortunately, I don’t have a specific ranch/outfitter that I can recommend to you.  My advice is to find ones at the locations that you want to hunt in (or the distance that you want to travel) and within your price range and Google reviews on them.  If there have been bad experiences, people are quick to let the world know.  Generally speaking, South Texas has the biggest-racked deer and is the most expensive, Central Texas has the most deer, and West Texas, East Texas, and the Panhandle have the fewest deer North Texas comes has the second most deer.

Fort Hood allows deer hunting, but with quite a few strict rules, as one would expect on an Army base, such as you can’t go beyond sight of your blind while looking for a wounded deer and they will pick you up at a specific time (and you had better be where you’re supposed to be at that time).  Hunters hunt from box blinds.  See https://fthood.isportsman.net/.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers also offers deer hunts on some of their lakes.  See https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/lake/SWF_Hunting_Guide_Final_2020_2021.pdf.

I’ve also read about good hunts on the Caddo/LBJ Grasslands.

I’ve done a lot of walk-in duck hunting up at Granger and the coast and have had a lot of trouble with hunters setting up on top of me.  Obviously, that’s public hunting at its finest.  Do you have any recommended walk-in areas where you’ve done well?

Granger – that’s a tough one, as the entire lake (except the parks) can be walked into, as it’s surrounded by Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s).  However, the San Gabriel WMA gets less traffic than the Sore Finger and Willis Creek WMAs.  The problem there is if you go up the river you’ll be setting out your dekes where guys drive their boats.  I’d park at the end of CR 378 (Number 5 on https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/granger/Brochures/Granger%20Lake%20Map.pdf). Also see https://www.google.com/maps/@30.6860252,-97.4030205,14z?hl=en.  Granger gets a lot of traffic from Austin hunters.

The Coast – walking in at the coast is a whole lot tougher as the bottom can be really sticky.  I’ve seen walk-in hunters at Wilson’s Cut on Hwy 361 between Corpus Christi and Port A (about five miles north of Corpus Christi).

Here are other lakes that I’ve done walk-in hunts at:

Belton – tougher as there are only three WMA’s where you can walk in – Owl Creek WMA (very tough walking with lots of trees and vines to trip over if you come in from Grove Road – so come in from Owl Creek Park – https://www.google.com/maps/@31.2234113,-97.5270029,15z?hl=en), White Flint WMA (https://www.google.com/maps/@31.2337599,-97.4790235,15z?hl=en – the problem with this area is the water by shore can be too deep for your dekes; there’s a pond in that WMA that sometimes has water in it, but it’s surrounded by trees, which makes shooting challenging), and Iron Bridge WMA (https://www.google.com/maps/@31.304313,-97.4931195,15z?hl=en but you’ll have the same problem there as you will going up the San Gabriel on Granger – the river will be too skinny to set out decoys).  Also, Belton has some of the stickiest mud that I’ve ever encountered.  Belton gets a lot of traffic from Fort Hood hunters.  See https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/belton/images/BELTON_LAKE_OVERALL_RECREATION_MAP.pdf for more details.

Stillhouse Hollow – Even tougher as there are only two WMA’s to walk in to – at the end of Union Grove Road in the Union Grove WMA – https://www.google.com/maps/@31.0117237,-97.5982209,16z?hl=en and south and west of Cedar Gap Park (https://www.google.com/maps/@31.016002,-97.6527159,15z?hl=en – it’s a long walk to get to huntable areas and if you go up the river in a boat you’ll run into the same problem that you’ll find going up the San Gabriel on Granger or in the Iron Bridge WMA on Belton – you’ll be putting your dekes out where guys will come through with their boats).  The point to the north in the Union Grove WMA is a good spot, but if you want to get away from the other hunters, head east.  Stillhouse gets a lot of traffic from Fort Hood hunters.  See https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/stillhouse/images/STILLHOUSE_HOLLOW_OVERALL_RECREATION_MAP.pdf for more details.

Somerville – the toughest as there is only one day hunt area to walk in to – the “cup bottom” to the east of the end of Iron Bridge Rd. (https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2901251,-96.6281178,16z?hl=en).  The shortest walk involves parking at the end of Iron Bridge Rd. and heading east.  Be aware that it’s almost as thick there as it is at the Owl Creek WMA, so skirt the shore if you can.  You can also park at the end of Frischer Rd., but it’s a longer walk to get to the “cup bottom” to the west (see https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2898657,-96.619685,16z?hl=en).  Somerville gets a lot of traffic from College Station hunters.  See https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/somerville/Information/Waterfowl%20Hunting%20Lake%20Map.pdf for more details.

As to how I’ve done:

  • Granger – three good walk-in hunts in the San Gabriel WMA.
  • Stillhouse Hollow – one good walk-in hunt in the Union Grove WMA.
  • Belton and Somerville – no good walk-in hunts.  In fact, for Belton, I’ve had no good hunts via boat either and for Somerville, I’ve had one good hunt via boat (it was in the walk-in area before I knew that you had to hunt from shore in that area).

So, I’d focus on Granger and Stillhouse Hollow for walk-in hunts.

You must possess the Annual Public Hunting Permit to hunt Granger.  The other three do not require it (unless you go into the boats-only section of Somerville (with a boat) that is leased by the TPWD).  Here is the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Fort Worth District Hunting Guide.

My massage guy’s brother has started manufacturing 9mm with some Army friends as a business and has a large capacity press.  I am considering buying a brick of 500 9mm 115-grain bullets for $350.  What are other details I should ask and know before deciding?  The projectile type, powder measurements, etc.?  Do you know of a reliable source for ammo that I should review first?

The pressure of the rounds should not be greater than the recommended maximum pressure – 35,000 psi.  However, as these are undoubtedly target rounds (FMJ) that shouldn’t be a problem.  Another thing to be concerned about is the cases.  Brass cases are preferred, followed by aluminum, then steel.  Some guns have trouble chambering and/or ejecting aluminum and/or steel cased ammo.  As these are Army guys I’d bet my lunch that they’ll be brass.

Lastly, foreign components (cases, powder, primers, and bullets) can be a concern.  However, again, as these are Army guys I’d bet my lunch and dinner that everything is at military specifications (Mil-Spec) and made in the USA.

Be aware that some gun manufacturers will void their warranty if you shoot non-factory ammo and especially if you shoot reloads.  Your gun’s manufacturer may consider these shells to be reloaded.  I recommend that you read your warranty and check with your gun’s manufacturer if in doubt.

Gunbroker has a lot of ammo for sale from businesses and individuals.  Most are in cases of 10 or more boxes.  They have auctions like eBay and “Buy it now.”  That price is in line with prices that I’ve seen on Gunbroker.  Academy, when it has them, doesn’t allow you to buy more than three boxes.

David Featherston shared the following:

Just FYI, I’ve found Academy (in Sunset Valley on Brodie Lane) to be the BEST price on 9mm ammo these days (Federal, Winchester, etc. brands).  I just bought a box of 200 (full metal jacket) for $49.99 and a box of 100 for $26.99.  You just need to call ahead of time to see if it is in stock for a certain morning during the week.  They accommodate folks by opening at 8:30 vs. 9:00 am only for ammo seekers.  Their limit is 3 people at a time, so you need to start standing in line about 8:00 or 8:15.  They limit you to 3 boxes of any kind… no matter the quantity in the box.  The Brodie Lane store says that Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings are typically when they have new stock ready to sell.

They’re not gouging anyone and I sure appreciate that!  (I tell them each time I go.)

What baitcaster rod and reel combo is your pick?  Do you do a right-handed or left-handed retrieve?

I don’t spend more than $100 for a rod/reel combo.  To me, there’s not much difference between a $100 combo and a $150 combo in performance.

Bass Pro Shops

This one has good reviews, including one from a beginner – https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-100187478.  I’d get the 7′ medium rod strength (Jack-of-all-trades) version.

This one also had good reviews – https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/abu-garcia-mlf-baitcast-combo.  It only comes in a 7′ version.  Get the medium instead of the medium-heavy rod.

But if you’re willing to spend more then this is the one to get – https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/Abu-Garcia-Revo-SXBass-Pro-Shops-Johnny-Morris-CarbonLite-20-Baitcast-Rod-and-Reel-Combo.  The Revo has an excellent reputation.  Its drawbacks are the rod only comes in medium-heavy and it’s out of stock.

Academy

Lew’s combos (they have a good reputation) that are worth looking at include:

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/lews-speed-spool-lfs-7-ft-mh-baitcast-rod-and-reel-combo#repChildCatid=8216508.  It has three 5-star reviews.  It comes with a 7′ rod, in medium-heavy only.

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/lews-mach-smash-slp-6-ft-10-in-mh-baitcast-combo#repChildCatid=8190502.  Similar reviews to the first one and it’s $20 cheaper.  It comes with a 6′ 10″ rod, in medium-heavy only.

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/lews%C2%AE-american-hero%C2%AE-7-mh-baitcast-rod-and-reel-combo#repChildCatid=1480325.  It’s cheaper than the last one but has better reviews.  It comes with a 7′ rod, in medium-heavy only.

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/lews-laser-txs-6-ft-10-in-mh-baitcast-rod-and-reel-combo#repChildCatid=7988009.   It comes with a 6′ 10″ rod, in medium-heavy only.

For rods, I go by feel.  I fake cast them in the store.  If it feels like a broom handle or like a whip I put it back on the rack.  Both Bass Pro Shops and Academy have sales on combos frequently.  Academy sometimes runs all of their combos 25% off.

Probably 95% of right-handed guys go with a right-handed retrieve.  However, some don’t like casting the rod with their right hand and then switching it to their left hand to hold it while the right-hand is retrieving the lure, as that takes a couple of seconds of precious fishing time to make that switch.  To me, it feels awkward to retrieve with my left hand.  However, that may just be because that’s the way I’ve always done it.  Try them both and see what feels best for you.

What bullet types should I use for a .300 Blackout AAC for hog hunting?

It’s important to know when using a .300 Blackout to hunt medium-sized game such as hogs and deer, that it is a short-range caliber.  Supersonic ammo is limited to 200 yards and subsonic ammo is limited to 150 yards?, preferably a lot less.

The .300 Blackout was designed to provide a bullet that was a more viable medium-sized option for the AR platform than a .223, which was originally designed for varmints.  It was also designed to shoot suppressed and when it comes to suppressors, slower is better.  A subsonic round lacks the supersonic crack.  A suppressor only stops the blast at the muzzle – it does nothing for the supersonic crack.  A subsonic round through a suppressor is nice and quiet – although not movie-quiet.  A supersonic round through a suppressor defeats the purpose of the suppressor.

So, if you’re going to use a suppressor then use subsonic rounds, which is what they were designed for.  And if you’re going to shoot subsonic rounds then you need to do headshots on hogs (behind the eye to the ear – some guys shoot them in the ear) because the bullet is moving too slow to expand.  By doing so you’ll either kill them instantly and they’ll take a “dirt nap” or you’ll miss and they’ll run away.  Tracking a wounded hog at night is not easy and potentially dangerous.  A headshot eliminates the need to track.

With headshots, especially on big hogs with thick skulls, penetration is key.  If you shoot a hog with a bullet that is designed for the vitals (e.g., a hollow point or expanding soft point) it may flatten on the skull and not penetrate or adequately penetrate.  The solution is a solid, non-expanding bullet, such as a full metal jacket (FMJ).  This is where subsonic rounds with solid bullets really shine.

A 190+ grain solid core bullet in a .300 Blackout (such as a Sellier & Bellot Subsonic FMJ 200 grain) is moving a lot slower (1060 Feet Per Second – FPS) than a 125 grain or 110 grain expanding bullet (which travel at around 2200 FPS).  It is, without a doubt, the best bullet for head shooting hogs.  But you never should use a FMJ when shooting hogs or deer in the vitals, as they don’t expand and that won’t ensure humane kills.  Some ammo makers make supersonic hollow points for the .300 blackout but those bullets are designed to be shot into the vitals, not the head.  Some people say they don’t adequately expand to ensure a one-shot kill.  I’ve yet to have a chance to try one, but when I do I’ll revise this section.

If you’re not using a suppressor then an expanding fast bullet is the way to go, such as the copper Barnes VOR-TX Tipped Triple-Shock X Hollow Point 110 grain.  Barnes is a premium ammo maker and the VOR-TX Tipped Triple-Shock X Hollow Point comes at a premium price ($40 for 20 rounds, if you can find it).  With that bullet and similar ones, you should shoot hogs and deer in the vitals where the bullet’s expanding qualities can be maximized.  As it penetrates it’s also going to expand.  As it expands it leaves a wake of destruction which increases your chances of a one-hit kill.  This is a humane round that will put a hog or deer down without issue if you shoot it in the vitals.  Just don’t shoot a hog in the head with one.

I want to buy a rifle and scope for hog hunting.  I’d prefer for it to kick less than a .243.  My budget is $1500.

I do not recommend anything below a .243 with a 100-grain bullet for hogs.  The .243 is the minimum caliber that most manufacturers/sellers recommend for deer-sized game.  It’s offered in 80 and 100 grain loads, with the latter being preferred for deer-sized game.  The problem with .224 bullets, such as the .223/5.56, is they were designed for varmints (just look at the boxes of their typical 55-grain ammo and they’ll tell you what they were designed for).  Over the years the ammo makers developed heavier bullets for those calibers (typically 62-grain and up) to make them usable for up to deer-sized game.  But if a 300 lb.+ hog comes to your bait I would want to be holding something with more power.  You can kill hogs with .22’s but you have to hit them in the ear or just behind it, which is not easy to do in the dark (which is usually when hogs are out and about).  Nor is it easy to hit that spot with their frequently moving heads.

As you would like something that kicks a little less than a .243, going with a lesser caliber is not the answer.  A semi-auto will kick less than a bolt action, pump, or lever action (I guarantee you that a .300 Blackout in an AR kicks less than a bolt action .243).  Browning (BAR), Remington (Model 7500), and Benelli (R1) make semi-automatic rifles but none of them are as accurate or customizable as AR’s.  Typical AR’s are offered in calibers that are good choices for hogs.  These include (in my order of preference):

  1. .300 Blackout AAC (commonly called .300 Blackout) – it’s .308 caliber and the .223 is the parent cartridge (you can use these shells in AR .223 magazines).  It was designed to shoot suppressed with subsonic rounds.  It’s not a long-range cartridge, but hog hunting is not a long-range sport.  I bought one a couple of months ago and can’t wait to try it out on a piggie.  It hardly kicks at all and I don’t have a suppressor on mine (yet).  With a suppressor on it, the recoil will be minimal.
  2. 6.5mm Creedmoor (commonly called 6.5 Creedmoor) – was actually developed in 2007 but is just becoming popular now.  It has a reputation for long-range accuracy.  It is a great caliber for hogs.  When I go to Academy I almost always see it on their shelves.  I see more discussions on it than any other caliber in the FB groups that I’m a member of.  There are many who think that it’s the cat’s meow.  It’s #2 on my list as it probably will kick more than the .300 Blackout and it’s not designed for suppressors.
  3. .308 Winchester (very similar but not identical to the military 7.62x51mm NATO) – a fantastic caliber that can put down anything on this continent.  It has had two offspring – 7mm-08 and .243 and has very similar ballistics to the .30-06.  The one knock on it is AR’s that are chambered for it are not cheap (they’re called AR-10’s).  It’s #3 on my list due to the cost of the rifles.
  4. 6.5mm Grendel (AKA 6.5 Grendel) and 6.8mm Remington Special Purpose Cartridge (AKA 6.8 SPC, 6.8 SPC II, and 6.8×43mm – has the .30 Remington as its parent cartridge) are both great calibers for hogs but ammo for them is very hard to find right now and expensive.  A gun is no good if you can’t find ammo for it.

Remington makes an AR (the R-25) with typical deer calibers (.243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, .308 Winchester) but it’s very expensive ($1700 for just the rifle) and hard to find.

As to AR’s, there are several that have good reputations, including Colt, Bushmaster, SIG, Daniel Defense, Anderson, Springfield Armory, Ruger, DPMS, and many more.  But after a lot of research, I settled on two – the Diamondback DB15 and the CORE CORE15.  I watched a lot of YouTube reviews and read a lot of reviews and it was hard to find any that said anything that was less than flattering.  Best of all they have the best warranties in the industry.

I settled on the Diamondback DB15 in .300 Blackout as they were cheaper than the CORE and I only had 1K to spend (which is what I sold my O/U Classic Doubles shotgun for).  I got it new on Gunbroker for $655 (plus $25 shipping and a $20 FFL receiving fee).  I added a SIG Romeo 5 Red Dot ($132), two Magpul rail sections ($31 total), a Surefire flashlight (M300 is $269; mine was given to me by my son), a Magpul angled foregrip ($45; mine was given to me by my son), an EZshoot 2 Point Sling and Quick Release Sling Mount ($24), Tool Parts 1pcs Quick Detach Clamp-on Single Point Sling Swivel Attachment Buffer Tube Adapter – CN (a better place to attached your sling) ($15), and three 30-round  Magpul P-mags ($36).  So, I spent $941 on the above and my remaining $59 on ammo.

It has the following features:

  • Pistol Length Gas Impingement System
  • 4140 Chrome-Moly Free Float Barrel
  • 1:8 Twist
  • A2 Flash Hider
  • 15″ Diamondback Aluminum Key Mod Handguard
  • Shot-Peened, MPI Mil Spec 8620 Bolt Carrier
  • A3 Flattop Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum, T-Marked Upper
  • Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum Lower
  • Collapsible Stock
  • A2 Pistol Grip
  • Anodized Black Finish
  • Weight 6.65 Pounds
  • Length 32.5″-36.25″

As to scopes, given your budget, you won’t be able to afford a Day/Night scope if you get everything that I listed above (although you won’t need the Red Dot and can do without the flashlight and three extra magazines for a hog hunting rifle).  But if you can swing it I’d get an ATN X-sight 4K Pro 3-14X for $650 (you can get a refurbished one with a full factory warranty – the same as a new one – at Walmart for $100 less).  A friend of mine bought one and let me look through it at night – it’s amazing!

But if that breaks the bank I’d get a Vortex Crossfire II Hog Hunter 3-12X56 with a 30mm tube, and V-brite illuminated reticle.  Amazon has them for $300.

For either of these options, you’ll need a cantilever style mount made for an AR-15 such as the Burris Optics P.E.P.R. Scope Mount, Includes Both Smooth and Picatinny Ring Tops, 30mm ($90 on Amazon).  The cool thing about using the Picatinny ring tops is it allows you to put a Red Dot on the Picatinny ring top (on top of the scope).  This will give you precision shots with the scope at standing still hogs and shots at running hogs with the Red Dot.  Don’t spend more money on the quick-detach version of the mount – you won’t need it (it’s for guys who put a rifle scope on their AR one day and a Red Dot on it the next).

Instead of the Surefire Weapons Light (which is used primarily for home defense), I’d get an Odepro KL52Plus Zoomable Hunting Flashlight with Red Green White and IR850 Light LED Lamps Remote Pressure Switch Hunting Kit.  Amazon has them for $101.  Use the green lamp.

In summary, I recommend the following for a hog hunting rifle:

$700 – Diamondback DB-15 in .300 Blackout AAC

$650 – ATN X-sight 4K Pro 3-14X

$90 – Burris Optics P.E.P.R. Scope Mount, Includes Both Smooth and Picatinny Ring Tops, 30mm

$101 – Odepro KL52Plus Zoomable Hunting Flashlight with Red Green White and IR850 Light LED Lamps Remote Pressure Switch Hunting Kit

$16 – Magpul rail section (to hold the foregrip)

$45 – Magpul angled foregrip

$15 – Tool Parts 1pcs Quick Detach Clamp-on Single Point Sling Swivel Attachment Buffer Tube Adapter – CN

$24 – EZshoot 2 Point Sling and Quick Release Sling Mount

$1641

If you swap the Vortex Crossfire II for the ATN you’d be at $1291, which would give you plenty of money left over for ammo and be below $1500.

For other options see:

My son lives in Seattle and wants to hunt deer and elk.  He wants some advice and any possible leads you might have for a good gun to use.  Do you recommend new or used?  What’s a good all-around gun with abundant and cheaper ammo?  30-06?   Plastic or wood stock?  Best reasonable scope?

Here are a couple of articles that will get you started:

I haven’t updated the first article since 2009, so the prices for those guns are higher now.  Also, there are different versions of the manufacturers’ rifles or they offer new rifles entirely.  For example, Browning now offers an X-bolt, which is basically an A-bolt on steroids.

I updated the second article on 9/10/20.  I will eventually update the first article.

As to calibers, since elk is in the equation, I’d recommend at least a .270 or 7mm08.  I’d definitely go with the more popular calibers, especially right now, as there has been a substantial ammo shortage and your odds of finding ammo for a .280 Remington (for example) will be lower.  They’ve been making .30-06 since 1906 and it comes in bullet weights from 110 – 220 grains.  I’d use 150 – 165 grain on deer and 180 grain on elk.  The 6.5 Creedmore has become a very popular caliber and I see several boxes of it every time that I go to Academy.  It’s supposed to be a flat shooter.  But it’s only 0.2559, which would be iffy on elk (a .270 Winchester is actually .277).  My order of preference would be .30-06, .308 (very available ammo and just slightly less performance than the ’06), and .270.

I’d go with a bolt action, as I’m a traditionalist.  However, I recently bought an AR in .300 Blackout for hogs, and if the riots come to my neighborhood.  For years I despised them and called them “toy guns.”  But I’m starting to like it and upgrading parts and adding things is fun.  The problem with an AR is most are chambered in .223/5.56 which was designed for varmints (but they make a few deer capable bullets for it).  .300 Blackout is a short-range cartridge.  6.5 Grendle is very hard to find and expensive.  The ammo is very hard to find.  .308 would be your best bet but those AR-10’s are expensive.  Remington makes an AR with typical deer calibers but it’s very expensive.  Pumps aren’t as accurate.  Neither are lever actions with the exceptions of the Browning BLR and the Savage Model 99.  Lever actions have mostly short-ranged calibers (with the above exceptions).  All of the bolt guns in my article are accurate, reliable, and similarly priced.  The Remington will be the most readily available.  I have a Model 700 BDL but if I were buying today I’d buy the CDL with the box magazine.

As to where to find one – I’m seeing more rifles show up at Academy.  I’ve also had good luck on www.gunbroker.com  I’ve bought five guns there and sold three.  It’s like eBay.  There are auctions and “Buy it Now.”  You must have the rifle shipped to an FFL dealer (my son is now one, in Liberty Hill).  Gunbroker has a list of FFL dealers per state.  They all do the same service, so I’d go with the cheapest one.  For example, Ryan charges $20 to receive a gun.  Find the rifle you want and shop.  It doesn’t take long to find the best price.  Just know that what guys are asking for on gunbroker is often not what the going rate is.  Some guys ask a high price and are counting on guys who don’t like to shop or are impulsive.  Follow/watch some auctions that are going on for the gun you want.  When it sells it will show you what it sold for.

I bought a Browning Gold shotgun on eBay for $480 several years ago.  The going price at the time was $750.  The reason that it was cheaper was it came only with one screw-in full choke.  After I receive it I bought two new chokes (Improved Cylinder and Modified) at Academy for $20 each and had a complete gun for $520.  But I was patient – I looked for around six months to find that diamond in the rough.

I’m not averse to buying a used gun, although I’d avoid used AR’s.  They’re often shot to hell and back and you just never know what’s about to break.  There aren’t too many things that can break on a bolt-action.  If you use gunbroker you’ll get it in the mail, unless you can find one where they’re selling it where you live and allow it to be picked up.  Texas Gun Trader is 100% face-to-face exchanges.  So, if you buy a used one from gunbroker make sure that the ad allows an examination period/return policy. You might need to send it back if it is not in the condition that was advertised.  Good sellers will post several pictures of the gun they’re selling.  Beware of stock photos unless it’s new.  If you see that a new rifle is only $50 or so more than a used one buy it as you’ll get the warranty.

I’m a wood and blue steel guy but have come to appreciate synthetic.  For rifles, it doesn’t change the point of impact from the weather changing, which wood is notorious for.  So if you get wood make sure that the barrel has been floated (you should be able to slide a dollar bill all the way down the length of it).  I’m also a big fan of 2.5 – 3.5 lb. triggers.  Most factory triggers are set at 7.5 lbs. to avoid lawsuits.  A trigger job makes a rifle much more accurate.

I go into copious details in my Choosing a Scope article.  As he won’t be hunting hogs a 3-9X40 will be adequate.  I really like Vortex and Burris.  They both have forever warranties.  I have a Vortex Crossfire II 3-9X50 with an illuminated V-bright dot in the reticle on my deer rifle.  It cost me $209 new.  Optics Planet is a good place to get optics.  As is Midway USA, Natchez Shooting Supply, and even Amazon (which has competitive prices).  Find the scope you want and shop.  As with rifles, it doesn’t take long to find the best price.

What depths do the lures in the below pictures run?

On the top are plastic worms with some brass and beads for Carolina rigging and what looks like spinnerbait trailer hooks.  Worms will not sink unless you use a worm weight to make them sink.  Here is an assortment – https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-xps-60-piece-worm-weight-kit?hvarAID=shopping_googleproductextensions&affcode_c=&gclid=CjwKCAjwyo36BRAXEiwA24CwGfb5QuvO-GMBTNJ-asJtcPPOy0vEZbXdRBdK7aq6VFFmFZfSUw_vehoCOuAQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Rigging tips – https://www.wideopenspaces.com/4-ways-to-rig-a-worm-weight/.

Texas rig – https://shopkarls.com/blog/texas-rig-101-need-know-t-rig/.

Carolina rig – https://officiallakeforktrophybass.com/how-to-setup-a-carolina-rig/.  Brass weights work best for Carolina rigs.  See https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-carolina-weights.

How quickly they sink depends on the weight you choose, which depends on the wind and worm size/weight.  They’ll eventually sink to the bottom.  Worm fishing is a very slow way to fish.  Be sure to use offset gap worm hooks in sizes 2/0 – 5/0 and not the spinnerbait trailer hooks that are in the picture.

The two square-bill crankbaits below the worms will run 4 – 6′ deep.  They’re great to use around trees and rocks, as they bounce off structure.  They, and round-bill crankbaits, only sink when you start to retrieve them.  Fish them medium to fast.  The faster you retrieve them the deeper they sink.  Stop and go is a good technique for them.  Stop the retrieve, wait for a second or two, then start it again.  The stop and go method makes bass think the baitfish is wounded.  They’ll often hit it when it stops.  However, don’t stop it for too long as it will float back up to the surface.

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Mar
18

Hall of Fame/Shame

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Hall of Fame

FCS had good experiences with the below businesses/outfitters/guides and will rehire/recommends them.  Included is the event(s) that we did with them, other activities that they offer, and their location.  For more detailed recommendations see our Guide and Outfitter Reviews and Recommendations web page.

  • 74 Ranch Resort (24-hour sporting clay shoots; they also offer hunting for several species of big game, dove, quail, and turkeys; near Campbellton)
  • Alpine Shooting Range (sporting clays shoot; they also have skeet and trap ranges and clay target throwers, rifle and handgun ranges; near Fort Worth)
  • Capital City Clays (sporting clays, 5-stand, and skeet shoots; and sporting clays tournaments they also have trap ranges; near Austin)
  • Captain Ander Meine (largemouth bass fishing guide; Central Texas)
  • Captain Brian Parker (largemouth bass fishing guide; Central Texas); contact Brian at 817-808-2227 or lakeaustinfishing@yahoo.com
  • Captain (and FCS member) Kevin McConnell (largemouth and hybrid/striped/white bass fishing guide; Central Texas); contact Kevin at 512-428-6315
  • Captain Rick Loveday (bay fishing guide; Corpus Christi area); contact Rick at 361-368-2422 (Home) or 361-946-1182 (Cell)
  • Captain Ron Pierson (deep sea fishing Guide; Port Aransas)
  • Captain Scott Hibbitts (bay fishing guide; Corpus Christi area); contact Scott at 361-960-2537
  • Todd Condiff (guided duck hunt; DFW area)
  • Copperhead Creek Shooting Club (sporting clays tournaments; they also have skeet, trap, rifle, and handgun ranges; near Marble Falls)
  • Eagle Peak Shooting Range (rifle and handgun ranges and clay target throwers; near Jonestown)
  • Elm Fork Shooting Sports (sporting clays shoot; they also have skeet, trap, rifle, handgun, and archery ranges; DFW area)
  • J.B. Hunting Ranch (hog and sheep hunts; near Blessing).  Contact Jimmy Cohenour at 361-588-6845 (Home) or 979-240-9445 (Mobile) for more information.  Jimmy offers a discount to FCS members.
  • Limitless Outdoor Adventures/Jacob Orr (guided duck hunt; DFW area)
  • Ricky Ethridge (guided duck hunts and semi-guided hog hunts; he also offers guided teal hunts and semi-guided deer and axis deer hunts; near Marquez, Cameron, Lockhart, Rocksprings, and in Mexico)
  • Rayce Jenkins (guided duck, teal, goose, and sandhill crane hunts; near El Campo)
  • Mike Schumann (guided upland bird hunts; near Dimebox)
  • Tenney Creek Outfitters/Jack Chamberland (guided duck and semi-guided hog hunts; they also offer guided upland bird hunts; near McMahan)
  • Texas Wild (semi-guided hog hunts and dove hunts; they also offer season leases for duck and semi-guided turkey and deer hunts; near Pleasanton)
  • Three Curl Outfitters/Bret Jepsen (guided duck hunt; they also offer semi-guided hog and dove hunts, and guided quail hunts; DFW area)

Hall of Shame

FCS had bad experiences with the below outfitters/guides and will not rehire or recommend them.  These experiences included lack of game/false representations of the amount and type of game that is being seen, lack of scouting/effort, and/or misrepresentation of lodging and/or food.  Included is the event that we did with them and their location.

  • Blue Roan Bend Outfitters (goose and duck hunt – lack of game; near Eagle Lake)
  • Brett Manry (hog hunt – lack of game – sent several pictures of hogs, our six hunters only saw one hog and it was on a neighbor’s property; near Cherokee)
  • Dove Heaven/Double H Outfitters/Justin (dove hunt – not enough game for the number of hunters they had and they put 30 hunters 100 yards from us that shot most of the dove that were heading our way; near San Antonio)
  • Elm Creek Outfitters (an affiliate of theirs) (dove hunt – lack of game; near Hutto)
  • Haun Ranch (deer and hog hunt) – did not tell us until after we arrived that does were by permit only and only two of  our hunters could take one; near Victoria)
  • Heart of Texas Guided Hunt/Texas Thermal Hog Hunts (hog hunt – lack of game, poor quality/worn out thermal sights, and deceptive trade practices on lodging and food; near Hubbard)
  • Pinoak Ranch (duck hunt – lack of game; near Tehuacana)
  • Simmons Waterfowl Service (duck hunt – lack of game and his idea of concealment is laughable (sitting on rectangular hay bales in the open); near Fort Worth)
  • Triple Play Outfitters (dove hunt – lack of game; near New Braunfels)

Members – if you have an outfitter from an FCS trip that you’d like Randy Rowley to consider adding to either of these lists, send an email to him at randywrowley@gmail.com.  It would be helpful if you would also submit details of the encounter.

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For all FCS events, harvests are not guaranteed.

After guided events, the guides usually will clean the fish or game and divide the total number of fish caught or the total number of ducks or upland birds killed by the number of participants to arrive at an equal share.

For example, if on a guided striped bass fishing trip 20 striped bass were caught and there were five fishermen, then each fisherman will receive four bass each (20 bass divided by five fishermen = four bass each). It doesn’t matter if you caught five and another fisherman caught three, you’ll both receive the same amount of fish. It also doesn’t matter if your party of two thinks you should go home with 10 bass (as the limit is five each), which would leave the other three fishermen with only 3.33 each (10 divided by three = 3.33).

Also, guided upland bird hunts are not grocery shopping trips – preferences are not ‘orders’ and are not guaranteed. We’ll provide each hunter’s preference to the upland bird hunt outfitter. For example, if there are four hunters and one prefers a pheasant package (six pheasants) and the other three prefer a mixed bird package (two pheasants each) that is a preference of 12 pheasants (six + two + two + two = 12).

However, how many pheasants the outfitter puts out will depend on bird availability, and how many pheasants are split among the hunters will depend on how many the hunters killed. If the outfitter only has seven pheasants in his supply that’s all he’ll be able to put out. Given the above scenario, he would probably divide those seven pheasants, if the hunters killed all of them, as four + one + one +one, which would give each hunter about half the number of birds he preferred. It doesn’t matter that one hunter preferred six pheasants – he won’t get six and leave the other three hunters with one to split among themselves.

Hunters and fishermen who take more than their share of birds or fish at guided FCS events will not be allowed to participate in future chartered, guided, self-chartered, and self-guided FCS events.

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At the 3/7/22 FCS Officers Meeting, the officers discussed our annual ministry event, which has been cooking and serving a wild game (and other meats) dinner to people in need for the past several years.

Wayne Weilnau proposed we give an incentive to those who participate in ministry events – being first in line for Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trips (after the captains) and other FCS events.

The officers agreed with this proposal and defined ‘participation’ as working before (doing food prep) or at an event(s) and/or donating to the event (e.g., wild game and monetary).

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Feb
12

Classified Ads

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This web page is solely a service provided by the Fellowship of Christian Sportsmen (FCS).  This service does not constitute or imply FCS’ association, endorsement, or recommendation of any of the following listings. Read More→

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Relisted 5/12/22

Randy Rowley offers gun cleaning and very limited gun work, such as adding a fiber-optic sight to a shotgun, replacing a recoil pad, etc.  He cannot do factory-level repairs and renovations, such as making or fitting special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms, customizing, refinishing, or repairing firearms (gunsmithing).  He will use chemicals that are readily available at Academy, Walmart, etc.

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Paul Ellis highly recommends the Cabelas Northern Flight Deluxe Swivel Stool, available at Cabelas stores, but not online at https://www.cabelas.com. Read More→

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I, Randy Rowley, host several self-guided inland duck and hunts on central Texas lakes, within 110 miles of Austin.

Do not expect limits on these hunts, as I have a full-time job, am not a guide, hunt on Saturdays or state of Texas holidays (usually), and hunt on highly pressured lakes in an area of Texas that is not known for great duck hunting.  Our results have usually been far from great on the lakes, especially since the 2017/2018 season.  Here is our scorecard to date:

Season Number of Ducks Bagged Number of Hunts Number of Hunters Average Number of Ducks Per Hunt Average Number of Ducks Per Hunter
2021/2022 6 (3 on a pond) 6 16 1.00 0.38
2020/2021 1 5 20 0.20 0.05
2019/2020 50 (44 on a pond) 11 39 4.55 1.28
2018/2019 5 (5 on a pond) 6 24 0.83 0.21
2017/2018 8 6 18 1.33 0.44
2016/2017 0 4 24 0.00 0.00
2015/2016 9 5 15 1.80 0.60
2014/2015 10 (6 on a pond) 7 28 1.43 0.36
2013/2014 11 (2 on a pond) 6 18 1.83 0.61
2012/2013 16 6 18 2.67 0.89
2011/2012 16 5 17 3.20 0.94
Total 132 (72 on lakes and 60 on ponds) 67 (average of 6.09 hunts/ season) 237 1.97 0.56

Some of our successes include:

I can take up to three adult hunters (four including me) on my 2019 20-foot 3-inch camo Excel Bay Pro 203 with a 115 HP Yamaha motor, which has a camo blind that sits on top of it (see below).

Here is my first motor boat, Bob, all brushed out (below the hunter’s head).

We will hunt either Lakes GrangerStillhouse Hollow (aka Stillhouse), Somerville, or Waco in their Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).

All four lakes are administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  We will hunt until 8:30 – 10:30 AM, depending on how the ducks are flying and the weather conditions (ducks often fly longer when it is overcast).

We will not hunt Lake Georgetown.  The USACE requires a Small Game Permit to hunt waterfowl.  The Lake Georgetown Project Office will only issue 50 small game permits each season.  Small game permits will be administered through an application and a random drawing process and there is a $25 application fee.  See https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/georgetown/Recreation/Hunting.asp.

We won’t hunt Lake Belton any longer as we’ve hunted it six times (three times in the Owl Creek WMA, twice in the Iron Bridge WMA, and once in the White Flint WMA) and didn’t fire a shot.  We also didn’t see hardly any ducks within range.  In order to hunt Lake Belton successfully you need a flat bottom boat, which I don’t have, to get up the shallow Leon River.

We have had our best hunts on Granger and Stillhouse Hollow, so they’re tied for my first choice.

Granger does not require a USACE lake hunting permit.  However, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) leases Granger’s WMA’s; consequently, a TPWD annual public hunting permit is required.  The cost is $48/year.  If we decide to hunt Granger we will hunt in the San Gabriel, Willis Creek, or Sore Finger WMA’s.  Friendship Park on Granger is 47 miles from my house.

Stillhouse and Waco do not require a TPWD annual Public hunting permit nor a USACE lake hunting permit (see http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/stillhouse/Recreation/Hunting.asp).

If we decide to hunt Stillhouse we’ll launch at Riversbend Park (51 miles from my house) and hunt in the Union Grove WMA on the island (the side depends on the direction of the wind) or in a small cove.  Or we’ll launch at Cedar Gap Park and hunt in the Gravel Crossing or Twin Creek WMA’s, up the Lampasas River, but that area is very stumpy so I usually don’t hunt it.

If we decide to hunt Waco we will hunt either in the Flat Rock hunting area or in the Hog Creek or Middle Bosque hunting areas.  Depending on where we hunt, Waco is 58 – 65 miles further than Granger (99 – 106 miles from my house), so we’ll have to leave an hour earlier than we would if we were going to hunt Granger.  Note that all hunters who hunt on Lake Waco must sign a Disclaimer and Waiver of Liability and have it in their possession while hunting.  Also, duck hunters on Lake Waco must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material (144 square inches on both chest and back) and some type of orange headwear when leaving their hunting destinations.  In addition, no hunting is permitted around Waco Wetlands.  We’ve yet to hunt Waco, so the jury is still out on it.

Somerville does not require a USACE lake hunting permit.  You’ll need a TPWD annual public hunting permit if we hunt in the TPWD day hunt area (the undeveloped area designated by the yellow line on the below map).  We must hunt from my boat, be far enough from the shoreline that our shot will not fall on dry land, and must not set up so that we’re shooting in the direction of the shoreline.  If we hunt in the “developed” area of Nails Creek Park (the area designated by the orange line on the below map) we must hunt from my boat at least 200 yards from shore.  We cannot hunt in the area designated by the red line on the below map.  The USACE day hunt area does not require a TPWD annual public hunting permit, although we can only hunt from the shore in that area (we can’t hunt from my boat), so it’s my last choice.  Somerville is 54 miles further than Granger (95 miles from my house), so we’ll have to leave an hour earlier than we would if we were going to hunt Granger.  We’ve only had one good hunt on Somerville, so it’s my next to last choice.

Where we hunt will depend on hunting reports that I received from various sources and lake levels.

Costs:

  • The participants (excluding me, if my boat is being used) will split the vehicle and boat gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas), boat launch fees (if applicable; no more than $5 each), and toll road fees (if we take any).  I have to replace my boat’s starter battery, trailer tires and wheel bearings, etc. more quickly due to taking FCS members and guest on such trips than I would if I didn’t take FCS members and guests on such trips; therefore, I am exempt from the above expenses.
  • If we’re not using my boat then I’ll join in with the other participants on splitting the vehicle gas and toll road feeds (if we take any).
  • We’ll stop at Whataburger on the way to the lake and might stop for second breakfast or brunch on the way home.

We typically launch at free ramps so there isn’t a boat launch or state or county park fee.

What to Bring:

  • Texas hunting license and migratory bird endorsement and federal duck stamp.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license and migratory bird endorsement but does not include a federal duck stamp.
  • Shotgun.  A 12 gauge piston operated semi-automatic with a 3-inch chamber is recommended.  A plug is required for semi-automatics and pumps capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine while hunting migratory game birds.
  • Camo or dull non-cloth shotgun case.  If we’re hunting from a boat a floating case is recommended.
  • Non-lead 3″ (if your gun is also chambered for 3 inches) shotgun shells (HEVI-Steel, Winchester Xpert, or equivalent) in 2 or 3 shot – the 1550 FPS variant for steel shot and the 1500 FPS variant for HEVI-Steel) are recommended.   I don’t recommend anything smaller than 4 shot.  10 gauges and 3 1/2 inch shells in 3 1/2 inch-chambered 12 gauges are overkill for ducks.  Steel shot (if of adequate size) will kill ducks – there is no need for HEVI-shot, Tungsten, Bismuth, etc.  You’ll pay a lot more for those shells and they aren’t needed.  You’ll not need more than three boxes and will probably shoot less than two boxes.
  • Camo or dull blind bag, shell bag, vest, or bandoleer.  If we’re hunting from my boat a floating blind bag is recommended.
  • Waterproof headlamp or cap light.
  • Camo outer hunting clothes, including cap/hat and a face mask or face paint (face coverings are absolutely essential as oily skin glows in a duck’s eyes).  If rain is predicted, bring rain gear.
  • Waders (absolutely essential except for hunts during the early teal season).  Uninsulated breathable waders are recommended for warmer hunts.  Neoprene breathable waders are recommended for colder hunts (if you wear 5mm thick neoprene waders on an early season hunt you might cook yourself).  We don’t put our waders on until we reach the lake (unless you have uninsulated breathable waders).
  • If we hunt from my boat you’ll not need a bucket, stool, or chair, as my boat has fishing chairs and benches.  However, if we have to hunt from shore (because the cover is too far from shore and my boat will stick out like a sore thumb) we’ll use my boat to ferry us to where we’ll hunt, park it 100 or so yards away, and sit in the cover.  In which case you’ll need a bucket, stool, or chair.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in my boat to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Non-mirrored sunglasses (optional).
  • Bug repellent (optional).  Recommended if we have to hunt from shore.
  • Game shears and small fillet knife.
  • Gallon sized Zip-Lok bag.
  • A small ice chest or bag to take your ducks home in.

I have five life jackets in my boat so you won’t need one.  I also have three ponchos and bug repellent in my boat.

I have extras of many of the items that are listed above (such as waders, stools/bucket, cap lights, etc.) and will happily loan things if you let me know that you would like to borrow something before we leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it I will expect reimbursement.  I’ll also expect reimbursement if folks shoot my decoys or if my motorized duck is submerged while in their care (water will fry its motor).

Here is an example of sitting in cover:

I usually start out with a modified choke.  If the ducks are coming into the dekes, I might switch to an improved cylinder choke.  If all we’re getting is shots as they fly past, I might switch to a full choke that’s designed for waterfowl hunting.  Most modern screw-in chokes are designed for lead and non-lead shot without a change in the pattern density.

I have 109 decoys (38 mallards (including 33 decoys, two motorized ducks, two quiver ducks, and a wind-activated duck that I only use when it’s windy enough to spin the wings and when it’s too windy to use my motorized ducks), 28 pintails, 17 redheads, 14 gadwalls, six canvasbacks, six buffleheads, and a widgeon.  However, I’ll only bring decoys for the types of ducks found on the lake that we’re going to.  For example, I’ve never seen canvasbacks or buffleheads on Somerville or Granger, so those decoys will stay in my garage when we go there.  I usually only bring around 48 decoys on the big lakes, due to boat space limitations.  For ponds I’ll usually just bring a dozen.

Expectations

These hunts are a service to FCS members and guests, but I will enforce the below expectations:

  • Follow my instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of truck and boat gas and and park entrance fees/boat launch fees.
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including decoys that you shot and sank).
  • Help (including helping get the boat back on the trailer).
  • Control your dog (a dog that wants to go play with the decoys or charge the ducks as they are coming in will ruin the hunt).
  • Talk quietly, especially when ducks are coming into the decoys (ducks can hear you and will veer away).
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read my emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return my phone calls and/or emails, if I ask a question or ask you to acknowledge something.

Let me know at randywrowley@gmail.com (my preference) or 512-922-2484 if you have any questions.

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Jan
25

Events Policies

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The below links provide information on some of our most important events policies:

If you have any questions contact info@fcs-texas.org or Randy Rowley at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.

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Jan
23

1/23/22 State of the Club Report

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Jan
21

Semi-guided Dove Hunts

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FCS usually goes on a central zone and a south zone hunt each season.  We have hunted all over the state and presently hunt on a ranch near Hubbard and with Texas Wild near Jourdanton.

We have gotten our limits several times.  Here are pictures of some of our successes:

9/03/16 - San Saba Dove hunt

9/03/16 - San Saba - Steve Baker & Lamar Denney

9/19/15 - San Saba Dove Hunt - Jeff Knebel

10/12/13 - San Saba Dove Hunt - Hunters

Costs:

  • The hunt fee is usually $100.  Hunt fees will be required in full by a due date.  Hunters who do not pay the hunt fee by the due date will be removed from the list of people who RSVPed for the trip.  We usually do not tip for semi-guided dove hunts.
  • We’ll split the vehicle gas.  If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • We’ll eat out or get drive-through food.
  • Depending on how far we have to travel, we might stay in a motel.  If so, we’ll split the fee.

What to Bring:

  • Texas Hunting license and migratory bird endorsement.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license and migratory bird endorsement.
  • Shotgun.  A 12 gauge piston-operated semi-automatic with a 2 3/4-inch or 3-inch chamber is recommended.  A plug is required for semi-automatics and pumps capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine while hunting migratory game birds.
  • Three – four boxes per hunt of Remington Shur Shot Heavy Dove Load or equivalent in 8, 7 1/2, or 6 shot.
  • Bucket, stool, or folding chair.
  • Camo outer hunting clothes, including cap, appropriate for the season.  You never know when it will rain, so bring rain gear.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).
  • Shooting glasses or sunglasses (optional but highly recommended).
  • Bug repellent (optional).
  • Sunscreen (optional).
  • Game shears.
  • A gallon-sized Zip-Lok bag.
  • A medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your birds home in.

Expectations:

These hunts are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s instructions, the land owner’s rules, and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of vehicle gas.
  • Control your dog (if you brought one).
  • Talk quietly (dove can hear you and will veer away from the noise).
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Contact Mike Walsh at duxmn@austin.rr.com or 512-560-7001 if you have any questions.

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The following people are on the Self-guided/chartered Blast and Cast (Duck Hunt and Bay Fishing Trip) Rotation (the Event Hierarchy also applies; Kevin, Randy, Daryl, and Wayne will always have Spot #’s 1 – 4, as they are the boat captains):

  1. Kevin McConnell
  2. Randy Rowley
  3. Daryl Shipper
  4. Wayne Weilnau
  5. Ryan and Claire Rowley (Claire will not go without Ryan)
  6. Steve Fusco
  7. Raul Pena
  8. Ken Miller
  9. Harold Terry (Harold and Edward Terry prefer to go on trips together)
  10. Edward Terry (Edward and Harold Terry prefer to go on trips together)
  11. Steve Ritter
  12. Zack Elmer
  13. Mark Kelton
  14. Mike Pozhenko and his minor son
  15. Ted Lieb (Ted, Blake, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on trips together)
  16. Isaac Lieb (Isaac, Ted, and Blake Lieb prefer to go on trips together)
  17. Jonathan Fleming
  18. Patrick Kelley (bay fishing only)
  19. Christian Bana (bay fishing only)
  20. Steven Babin (bay fishing only)
  21. Binh Chu and his minor son
  22. Larry Mitchell
  23. Roy Zengerle
  24. Darvin Borgfeld
  25. Chris Rowley (Chris will not go without Randy)
  26. Zack and Yuri Tumlinson (Yuri will not go without Zack)
  27. Ron Campbell
  28. Barry Brown
  29. Blake Lieb (Blake, Ted, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on trips together)
  30. Jim McGee
  31. Burl Fulenwider
  32. Mike Curran
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Jan
21

Self-guided Hog Hunting Rotation

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The following people who are on the Self-guided Hog Hunt Rotation (the Event Hierarchy also applies):

  1. Ted Lieb (Ted, Blake, and Isaac prefer to go on hunts together)
  2. Blake Lieb (Ted, Blake, and Isaac prefer to go on hunts together)
  3. Isaac Lieb (Ted, Blake, and Isaac prefer to go on hunts together)
  4. Ian Daniels
  5. Mike Pozhenko
  6. Jonathan Fleming
  7. Don Hebert and his minor son
  8. Jim McGee
  9. Steve Fusco
  10. Dan Ahlfield
  11. Larry Mitchell
  12. Ken Miller
  13. Zack Elmer
  14. Patrick Kelley
  15. Christian Bana
  16. Steven Babin
  17. Randy Rowley
  18. Burl Fulenwider
  19. Barry Brown
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The following people are on the Freshwater Fishing Trip Rotation (the Event Hierarchy also applies):

  1. Randy Rowley (I will always have Spot #1, as I’m the boat captain)
  2. Kevin McConnell
  3. Harold Terry (Harold and Edward Terry prefer to go on fishing trips together)
  4. Edward Terry (Edward and Harold Terry prefer to go on fishing trips together)
  5. Zack and Yuri Tumlinson (Yuri will not go without Zack)
  6. Jonathan Fleming
  7. Tim Cadena
  8. Mark Kelton
  9. Patrick Kelley
  10. Steve Fusco
  11. Steven Babin
  12. Ryan and Claire Rowley (Claire will not go without Ryan)
  13. Roy Zengerle
  14. Darvin Borgfeld
  15. Mike Walsh
  16. Ron Campbell
  17. Dustin Rhodes
  18. Christian Bana
  19. Burl and Daniel Fulenwider (Daniel will not go without Burl)
  20. Jim McGee
  21. Chris Harden
  22. David Atkins
  23. Jacob Bonugli
  24. Burtis and Dee Shedd
  25. Chris Rowley
  26. Barry Brown
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The following people are on the Self-guided Inland Duck and Teal Hunt Rotation (the Event Hierarchy also applies):

  1. Randy Rowley (I always will have Spot # 1 for hunts from my boat, as I am the boat captain)
  2. Raul Pena
  3. Dion Moore
  4. Daryl Moczygemba
  5. Binh Chu
  6. Steve Fusco
  7. Edwin Zamora and his minor son
  8. Mike Pozhenko and his minor son
  9. Rob Peterson
  10. Ragan Brock
  11. Wayne Weilnau
  12. Jeff Cates
  13. Mario Garza
  14. Ian Daniels
  15. Blake Brosig
  16. Jim McGee
  17. Chris Rowley (Chris and Ryan Rowley prefer to go on hunts together)
  18. Ryan Rowley (Ryan and Chris Rowley prefer to go on hunts together)
  19. Chris Campbell
  20. Zack Elmer
  21. Kevin McConnell
  22. Zack Tumlinson
  23. Jonathan Fleming
  24. Ken Miller
  25. Mark Kelton
  26. Jeremy Franks
  27. Colin Jackson
  28. Patrick Kelley
  29. Roy Zengerle
  30. James Carney
  31. Will Voges
  32. Barry Brown
  33. Don Hebert and his minor son
  34. Clayton Carrier
  35. Burl Fulenwider
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Jan
21

Ministry Events (Wild Game Dinners)

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FCS puts on an annual Ministry Event (Wild Game Dinner) on a weekday night.  We start preparing food at 4:30 PM and are usually done by 7:30 PM.  We have had them at the St. George’s Court apartment complex and the Pathways at Northgate apartment complex.  St. George’s Court primarily houses elderly people, some of whom are physically disabled.  Northgate houses primarily single women and their children.

5/21/15 - Wild game Dinner - Getting ready to eat

The following are needed to make these events successful:

  1. Volunteers (setting up and breaking down tables and chairs, preparing food for cooking, cooking, and shuttling food to the serving area, bringing empty pans back to the cooking area, and clean up).
  2. Donations of ready-to-cook wild game (e.g., deer and hog sausage, deer and hog steaks, dove and waterfowl breasts (preferably deboned for the latter), pheasant, chukar, quail, turkey, and filleted fish).  Wild game that we can’t use includes ground venison and pork, whole birds and fish (just gutted), and game that is freezer burnt.
  3. Donations of money – if you don’t have wild game but would like to contribute, we’ll happily take monetary donations.

If you would like to volunteer or make a donation, contact Binh Chu at binh_chu@yahoo.com.  Also contact Binh if you have any questions.

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Jan
21

Guided Upland Bird Hunts

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FCS hunts upland birds with Mike Schumann usually each February or March at the old Dismukes/Bieberstein Ranch near Dime Box.  They have 900 acres of blackland prairie covered with native grass and short brush, post oak savannah with improved pasture, lightly wooded uplands, and heavily wooded bottomlands – an ideal match for upland birds like quail, pheasants, and chukars.  Mike’s address is 1011 Cr 453, Dime Box TX 77853 (GPS: 30.35372 -96.88686).

We had several highly successful hunts with Mike Schumann (see the many hunting reports).  For example, on 2/23/19, eight FCS hunters killed a record 101 birds, including 63 quail, 22 chukars, and 16 pheasants.  And here’s a picture from the 3/3/18 hunt.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 030318_Shumann-Bros-hunt_group-300x169.jpg

The hunts start at 9:00 AM and end around 3:00 PM (not counting travel time).  As with all ranches in Central Texas, these will be pen raised birds.  The hunts includes:

  • Kids (15 years old & under) hunt FREE with paid adults
  • FREE shooting lessons
  • Sporting clays and bird processing included (lunch not included)
  • Hunting dogs will be provided (if you would like to bring your well-trained (for upland bird hunting) and well-mannered dog, you can, but only one or two dogs can come, and we must clear your dog with Mike and the other hunters)
The Event Hierarchy applies.  We can usually take up to 12 hunters.  An RSVP is required to Steve Fusco at steven.fusco@gmail.com or 512-584-6258.  Payment in full is required to Mike – he accepts cash, PayPal, and checks.

You can choose from the following packages:

  • 18 quail
  • 9 chukars
  • 6 pheasants
  • A mix of 6 quail, 3 chukars, and 2 pheasants
  • A mix of 9 quail and 4 chukars
  • A mix of 4 chukars and 3 pheasants
  • A mix of 9 quail and 3 pheasants

Costs:

  • The guide fees runs $250.  Guide fees will be required in full by a due date.  Hunters who do not pay the guide fee by the due date will be removed from the list of people who RSVPed for the trip.  We recommend a 20% tip ($50), based on the effort, not the results.
  • We’ll split the vehicle gas.  If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • We’ll eat out or get drive-through food.

What to Bring:

  • Texas Hunting license and upland game bird endorsement.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license and upland bird endorsement.
  • Shotgun.  A 12 gauge piston-operated semi-automatic with a 2 3/4-inch or 3-inch chamber is recommended.  A plug is NOT required for semi-automatics and pumps capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine while hunting upland game birds.
  • Four – five boxes of Remington Shur Shot Heavy Dove Load or equivalent in 8 shot (for quail and clay targets), 7 1/2 shot (for chukar), or 6 shot (for pheasant).  Randy Rowley recommend a box of 8 shot, two boxes of 7 1/2 shot, and a box of 6 shot.
  • Blaze orange cap and hunting vest and clothing appropriate for the season.  You never know when it will rain, so bring rain gear.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).
  • Shooting glasses or sunglasses (optional but highly recommended).
  • A medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your birds home in.

Expectations:

These hunts are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the guide’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of vehicle gas.
  • Help when the guide asks you to.
  • Control your dog (if you brought one).
  • Talk quietly (upland birds can hear you and can run away from the noise).
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Contact Steve at the email or phone number listed above if you have any questions.

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FCS participates in Capital City Clays sporting clays tournaments, which are held on Saturdays or Sundays.  Capital City Clays hosts up to 10 sporting clays tournaments a year.

Here are pictures from a couple of the Capital City Clays tournaments:

There is an online registration form (pre-registration is requested, not required).  The main event (100 targets) price is $70.  We can have groups of up to five but must have at least three (not all have to be FCS members).  There will also be a 50 Target 5-Stand Event, 50 Target Side Event, and Concurrent options.  We may have time to shoot a practice round of skeet.

If you are not a National Association (NSCA) member, you will shoot Hunter (or Shooter) Class, which means you will not be eligible to win the prize money, and your score will not be posted on their website.  Membership with the NSCA is $40 per year.

Capital City Clays is located at 8707 Lindell Lane.  Their phone number is 512-272-4707.

Contact Bruce Crockett at bmc55@att.net or 512-970-7797 if you have any questions.

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Jan
21

Self-guided Hog Hunts

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Note that we do not currently have a place to hunt on, so these hunts are on hold.

Here are a few pictures from our most successful hunts:

Costs:

  • We’ll split the vehicle gas.  If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • We’ll eat out or get drive-through food.
  • Depending on how far we have to travel, we might stay in a motel or camp if it’s not blazing hot.

What to Bring:

  • Hunting license if hunting public land.
  • Weapon of choice and ammo (note that some ranches limit what weapon and/or ammo you can use and how many shells you can have in your gun).  For example, some ranches do not allow buckshot, calibers smaller than .243/6mm, or more than three shells in your gun.  Deer rifles and bullets work fine on hogs.  But if you have a .243 and a .30-06, take the latter.  If you have 150 and 180-grain bullets, take the latter.  I do not recommend hunting hogs with a caliber smaller than .243 or 6mm.  A scoped rifle is better than one with iron sights, a red dot scope, or reflex scope.  Aim at the hog’s head or neck if it’s decent sized.  Don’t aim behind the shoulder of a big hog.  A hog’s heart and lungs are between his shouldersIf you shoot behind his shoulder you’re going to hit his liver or gut and you could be in for a very long track.  Bring a lot of bullets.  Randy Rowley once fired 10 shots during one hog hunt.  For most hunts, you’ll be fortunately to fire one or two, but you just never know when you’ll run into an entire herd!  If we’re able to do a group stalk (we only do them if it is safe) you’re welcome to bring a shotgun with either rifled slugs and/or buckshot.  Fifteen 00 Buck pellets per shot at a running hog means a much better chance of a hit than one slug or rifle bullet per shot.  Most manufacturers recommend using a full choke for buckshot.  The next best choice is a modified choke, then improved cylinder.  However, this may not be true for your gun so the only way that you can find out what it prefers is to pattern it.  Do not shoot buckshot out of a turkey choke!  It will ruin it, and maybe you too (turkey chokes are too constricted to handle anything larger than 4 shot.  The best shotgun choice is a fast shooting (semi-automatic, pump, or double barrel) 12 gauge with 3″ shells (or 2 3/4″ if so chambered) filled with 000, 00, or 0 Buckshot.  Some guys alternate rifled slugs and buckshot in their magazines.  The idea is the first shot (slug) will be at a standing still pig.  If you don’t kill it, you’re follow up shots will be at a running pig, which is where buckshot excels.  The best choke to use if you put both buckshot and slugs in your gun (at the same time) is modified.  If you are only going to use slugs the best choke is cylinder, then skeet, then improved cylinder and tighter chokes.  For recommendations on guns and ammo see Hog Hunting Basics.
  • Standard deer hunting gear (knife, binoculars, laser range finder, headlamp or cap light, shooting sticks, etc.).  A chair for your blind.
  • A rechargeable spotlight for night hunting with a green (recommended) lens, 1/2 to two million candlepower (two hunters can share a light and take turns being the light man and the shooter) or a constant-on light if there is a feeder.  See Hog Hunting Basics for recommendations.
  • Rubber boots and camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential, unless you’re hunting from an elevated stand).  If rain is predicted bring rain gear.  A hunter (blaze) orange cap and/or vest for ranches that allow group stalks
  • A Thermacell is highly recommended to repel bugs.  Bug sprays are not recommended (hogs will smell it and won’t come anywhere near you).
  • Food (if camping and more than a day hunt).  The Event Coordinator/leader will often buy food for everyone (he also might buy sodas if he can get everyone to agree to which ones to buy).  Participants will divide the costs.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).
  • Camping gear (if we’re camping) – tent, cot, camp chair, sleeping bag, pillow, lantern, stove, and cookware.
  • Game cleaning tools (knives, sharpeners, saw, loppers, gambrel, and rope) if the ranch doesn’t have them and if it allows hogs to be cleaned on the ranch.
  • A large ice chest to take your hog(s) home in.  It’s better to have one that is too big than one that is too small.
  • Hog bait and corn.  For a hog bait recipe see https://fcs-texas.org/hog-bait-by-randy-rowley/#more-813.
  • Rods and reels and lures (for ranches that have stocked tanks and allow fishing).

Here is a simplified, and more printer-friendly, Hog Hunting Checklist.

Randy Rowley has extras of many of the items that are listed above and will happily loan things if you let him know that you would like to borrow something before we leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it he will expect reimbursement.

Expectations

These hunts are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s instructions, the land owner’s rules, and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of gas, food (if applicable), and motel rooms (if applicable).
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost.
  • Help.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Contact Raul Pena by email (his preference) or 210-364-0720 if you have any questions.

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I, Randy Rowley, host several self-chartered freshwater fishing trips on central Texas lakes within 90 miles of Austin.  We primarily target largemouth bass but can also go after crappie, white bass, and/or hybrids, so be prepared (for reel type, line, and lure recommendations see the bottom of this page).

Do not expect limits on these fishing trips, as I have a full-time job, am not a guide, fish on Saturday’s or state of Texas holidays (usually), and fish on highly pressured lakes.  However, we usually have some success, including:

We will fish either Lakes Travis, Bastrop, Fayette, Decker, Stillhouse Hollow, Belton, Lady Bird, Austin, Somerville, a river, such as the San Gabriel off of Lake Granger, or a creek, such as Yegua Creek off of Lake Somerville during the white bass run.  I can take up to two fishermen (three if they’re very experienced) on my boat (not counting me).  Trips will usually be six to ten hours, counting travel time, unless the fish are biting well, in which case we may decide to fish later, or if they’re not biting well or at all, in which case we may decide to quit earlier.

We will fish out of my 20′ 3″ 2019 Excel Bay Pro 203 with a 115 HP Yahama motor, an 80 lb. thrust trolling motor, and two fish finders (unless we’re fishing a creek during the white bass run, in which case we’ll be on foot).  I usually will have at least one of these trips a month during non-hunting months (February through August), but will not guarantee a set number of times.

Decker and Bastrop have 14 – 21″ slot limits, which allows you to keep up to five bass under 14″ or up to four bass under 14″ and one bass over 21″.  Any bass between 14 – 21″ must be returned to the water.  The reason that the authorities have slot limits is those lakes are small and; therefore, can easily be depleted of bass.  Slot limits ensure that there will be a lot of 1 – 5 lb. bass for people to catch.  Fayette has a 14 – 24″ slot limit for the same reason.

Costs:

  • The participants (excluding me, if my boat is being used) will split the vehicle and boat gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas), state or county park fees (if applicable), boat launch fees (if applicable), and toll road fees (if applicable).  I have to replace my boat’s batteries, trailer’s tires and wheel bearings, etc., and repair things like my trolling motor more quickly due to taking FCS members and guests on such trips than I would if I didn’t take FCS members and guests on such trips; therefore, I am exempt from the above expenses.
  • We’ll stop at Whataburger on the way to the lake and will probably stop for brunch on the way home.
  • Fishermen can use artificial lures and/or buy live and/or dead bait.  The default is artificial lures.  Everyone in the boat must agree how we will fish before we get to the lake as people who want to fish with lures will become frustrated if the boat isn’t moving often, people who want to fish with live bait will become frustrated if the boat is moving (as movement will drown the bait), and people who want to fish with dead bait will also become frustrated if the boat is moving.

What to Bring:

  • Freshwater fishing license.
  • Rods and Reels (at least two in case you break one and no more than four).
  • Lures and/or terminal tackle for fishing with live and/or dead bait.
  • Headlamp/cap light (preferred) or flashlight (to help ready my boat for launch).
  • Cap/hat (optional) and clothing appropriate for the season.  You never know when it will rain, so bring rain gear.
  • A small ice chest or bag to take fish home in if we decide to keep fish (I usually return largemouth bass to the water; there will be a large ice chest on my boat to put your drinks in and storage compartments to put your snacks in).
  • A fillet knife, fillet board (recommended), sharpener (recommended), gallon-sized Zip-Lok bag, and a small ice chest, if we decide to keep fish.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in my boat to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Sunglasses (optional but highly recommended).

I have five life jackets in my boat so you won’t need one.  I also have three ponchos, sunscreen, and bug repellent in my boat.  

I have extras of many of the items that are listed above and will happily loan things if you let me know that you would like to borrow something before we leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it I will expect reimbursement.

Expectations

These fishing trips are a service to FCS members and guests, but I will enforce the below expectations:

  • Follow my instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay your fair share of truck and boat gas and park entrance fees/boat launch fees.
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including lures that you borrowed and broke or lost).
  • Help (including helping get the boat back on the trailer).
  • Be prepared to fish (if I or others must help you rig properly while on the boat, it takes away from our fishing time).  This does not apply to new fishermen.
  • Talk quietly (fish can hear you and will swim away from the noise).
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read my emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return my phone calls and/or emails, if I ask a question or ask you to acknowledge something.

Let me know at randywrowley@gmail.com (my preference) or at 512-922-2484 if you have any questions.

Lure recommendations for Bass

Topwaters – walk-the-dog zigzag lures like River2Sea’s Rover, Lucky Craft’s Sammy and Gunfish, Heddon’s Zara Spook and Zara Spook Jr., Xcalibur’s Spittin’ Image, and Rapala’s Skitter V; poppers like Heddon’s Chugger Spook and Hula Popper, Storm’s Rattlin’ Chug Bug, and Rebel’s Pop-R; torpedo lures like River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper and Heddon’s Baby Torpedo; and Buzz baits like Booyah’s Buzz Clacker.  Colors – bass, shad, chartreuse, bone, and clear.  For lakes with a lot of grass (such as Bastrop, Decker, and Fayette) you can add frog-colored soft plastic frogs such as River2Sea’s Phat Mat Daddy, Bully Wa II, and Spittin’ Wa, Lunkerhunt’s Lunker Frog, Strike King’s KVD Sexy Frogs, American Baitworks’ Scum Frog Bigfoot, Scum Dog, and Scum Frog Popper, and toad style baits such as Stanley’s Ribbits.

Lipless crankbaits – Rapala’s Rippin’ Rap and Rattlin’ Rapala, Xcalibur’s Xr75 or Xr50, Strike King’s Red Eye Shad, 6th Sense’s Quake 70, 80, and THUD and Snatch 70X, Berkley’s Warpig, BOOYAH’s One Knocker, Yo-Zuri’s Rattl’n Vibe and 3DB Vibe, and Bill Lewis’s Rat-L-Trap.  Colors – bass, shad, perch, red (best in spring), and chartreuse (best in the summer).

Crankbaits – Norman’s Deep Little N and Little N, Strike King’s Pro-Model 3XD and 3XD, Rapala’s DT-10, DT-8, DT-6, Scatter Rap, and Shad Rap, 6th Sense’s Crush 250 MD, Curve 55, and Cloud 9 C6 and C10, Bomber’s Flat A, 5A, and 6A, Bandit’s 100, 200 and 300 Series, and Storm’s Wiggle Wart.  Use the same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

Deep diving crankbaits – Norman’s DD-22, Bomber’s Deep Fat Free Shad and Fat Free Shad, Strike King’s 5XD, 6XD, 8XD, and 10XD, and 6th Sense’s Cloud 9 C15, C20, and C25 and Crush 300DD and 500DD.  Use the same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

Square bill crankbaits – River2Sea’s Biggy Poppa, Strike King’s KVD 2.5, Rapala’s Crankin’ Rap 03, Storm’s Arashi, Spro’s Little John, Zoom’s W.E.C. E-1, E-2 and E-3, Luck-E-Strike’s Rick Clunn RC2, 6th Sense’s Fishing Crush 50X and Cloud 9 Magnum Squarebill, Yo-Zuri’s 3DB, BOOYAH’s XCS Series, and Rebel’s Bluegill.  Use the same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

Jerk baits (stick baits) – Bomber’s Long A, Rapala’s Husky Jerk and X-Rap, Smithwick’s Rattlin’ Rogue, and Storm’s Thunderstick.  Same colors as the crankbaits.

Spinnerbaits/chatterbaits (aka bladed swim jigs and vibrating jigs) – white, yellow, chartreuse, combo white/yellow or white/chartreuse, watermelon (green), red (in the spring), and black/blue or black/red when it’s dark or there is a heavy overcast.  I prefer spinnerbaits with two blades over one.  The type is not that important but I tend to prefer the Colorado blade, as they dive deeper.  Spinnerbait brands include River2Sea, Nichols, Strike King, BOOYAH, Terminator, and War Eagle.  Chatterbait brands include Z-man, Strike King, BOOYAH, and Terminator.  Spinnerbaits on steroids include Umbrella/Alabama rigs.

Slabs/spoons – 1/2 – 1 1/2 ounce in white, silver, chartreuse, or combos of those colors.  These are particularly good for white bass, hybrids, stripers along steep rocky ledges.

Soft plastics (usually will only attract largemouth bass – not whites, hybrids, or stripers) – Zoom’s finesse worms, flukes, crawdads, lizards, or baby brush hogs, Berkley’s power worms, crawdads, or lizards, Gary Yamamoto’s Senko and Swimming Senko worms, Yum Dinger’s worms, Big Bite worms and grubs, Grandebass’s rattlesnakes, and Blakemore’s Road Runner with grub tails.  Colors depend on the time of year and such things as if it’s overcast or sunny.  The general rule is darker colors work best when it’s overcast and during the winter.  Lighter colors work best in the fall, spring, and summer and when it’s sunny.  Some of my favorite colors include Smokin’ Green, Watermelon, Watermelon Red, June Bug, Red Bug, Red Shad, Motor Oil, Pumpkinseed, Dark Blue, and Camo.  Zoom’s Baby Brushhog in pumpkinseed is a good choice for Travis in the fall.  Lizards and crawdads in pumpkinseed are good in the spring.  Soft swimbaits are good in the grass.

Lure Recommendations for Crappie (also good for white bass)

Crappie jigs (1/16, 1/8, or 1/4 ounce and crappie grubs such as the Bobby Garland Mo’Glo (glow-in-the-dark) 2″ Baby Shad or Hyper Grub in Ghost Sparkle or Ghastly Minnow).

Spinners – Blakemore’s Road Runner (the grub version is preferred, 1/8 ounce in white, yellow, or chartreuse), Johnson’s Beetle Spin (1/8 or 1/4 ounce in white, yellow, or chartreuse), or inline spinners such as Mepp’s Aglia Ultra Lite spinner (1/18 ounce with a gold blade and yellow wool).

Line Recommendations for Bass Reels

Baitcasting reels

For topwater baitcasting reels use mono in 12 – 15 lb. test.  The exception is fishing with soft plastic frogs, in which case 50 – 65 lb. braid is the best (to cut through weeds, lily pads, etc.; braid also floats).

For crankbait/spinnerbait/chatterbait/jerk bait baitcasting reels use fluorocarbon in 12 – 15 lb. test.

For soft plastics, reels use fluorocarbon in 12 – 15 lb. test or braid in 30 – 50 lb. test (braid does not have the same thickness as fluorocarbon or mono – 40 lb. braid = 12 lb. fluorocarbon or mono).

Spinning reels

Spinning reels shine using light lures, which most baitcasting reels have trouble with.  Therefore, I recommend 8 – 10 lb. fluorocarbon or lighter.

Spincast reels

These are the least desirable reels for bass reels.  Most are cheaply made and will not last long if used regularly.  Generally, for most spincast reels you don’t want to use anything heavier than 10 lb. mono.

Line and Reel Recommendations for Crappie Reels

Spinning reels (preferred)

Use fluorocarbon or mono in 2 – 8 lb. test, the lighter the better.

Spincast reels (ultralights)

Use mono in 2 – 8 lb. test, the lighter the better.

Baitcasting reels

Don’t use.  They won’t be able to cast the light lines and lures that are required for crappie fishing.

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FCS goes on usually two self-guided/chartered blasts and casts (duck hunts and bay fishing trips) per duck season – one at Corpus Christi and the other at Port O’Connor (POC).

We’ve had many successful duck hunts and fishing trips but our boat captains are not guides and three of them have full-time jobs and only hunt and/or fish on weekends, so do not expect to always bag and/or catch limits on these trips.

We’ve had many successful duck hunts at both locales and have often gotten our two-duck limit of redheads.  We’ve killed a few other ducks but redheads are the predominant species on the coast, but we’ve also killed wigeons, scaups, pintails, buffleheads, green wing teal, and mergansers.

We’ve also had many successful bay fishing trips, but generally don’t do as well in the winter as we do during the warmer months.

We primarily target redfish, black drum, and speckled trout but can also catch sheepshead, flounder, jack crevalle, sharks, rays, and a variety of non-game fish such as hardheads and lady fish, so be prepared.  For lure and line recommendations see the bottom of this page.

Here are pictures of some of our successes.

Boats can include Kevin McConnell’s, Randy Rowley’s, Daryl Shipper’s, and Wayne Weilnau’s bay boats, and possibly others.  Kevin, Randy, Daryl, and Wayne can take three sportsmen in their boats, in addition to them.  For duck hunting, the boats are used to ferry the hunters to the hunting spots and then beached or anchored about 100 yards away.  We fish from the boats, unless fishermen want to wade fish.  In which case the captain’s will take the fishermen to the desired wade fishing spot(s), if the captain agrees to wade fishing.

Costs:

  • The participants (excluding the captain) will split the vehicle and boat gas, a boat wash after the event (to wash the salt and mud off), state or county park fees (if applicable), boat slip fees (if applicable), boat launch fees (if applicable), and toll road fees (if applicable).  The captains have to replace their boat batteries, trailer tires and wheel bearings, etc., and repair things like their trolling motors more quickly due to taking FCS members and guests on such trips than they would if they didn’t take FCS members and guests on such trips; therefore, they are exempt from the above expenses.
  • We’ll eat out or get drive-through food.
  • For Corpus Christi, we’ll stay in an Airbnb house or townhouse.
  • For Port O’Conner, Wayne Weilnau’s house can hold up to eight participants.  If we have more participants going than that, some will have to stay at The Inn at Clark’s (a waterfront inn on the Intercoastal) or an Airbnb house.  We’ll take the maid cleaning fee to clean Wayne’s house, the Inn at Clark’s/Airbnb cost (including an extra boat slip fee (if applicable)) and divide it by the participants (not counting Wayne).  If Wayne’s house is not available, all participants will stay at The Inn at Clarks or an Airbnb.
  • Fishermen can buy live and/or dead bait (and/or use artificial lures).  Everyone in the boat must agree how we will fish before we go out as people who want to fish with lures will become frustrated if the boat isn’t moving often, people who want to fish with live bait will become frustrated if the boat is moving (as movement will drown the bait), and people who want to fish with dead bait will also become frustrated if the boat is moving.

What to Bring If Duck Hunting

  • Texas hunting license and migratory bird endorsement and federal duck stamp.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license and migratory bird endorsement, and saltwater fishing license but does not include a federal duck stamp.
  • Shotgun.  A 12 gauge piston operated semi-automatic with a 3-inch chamber is recommended.  A plug is required for semi-automatics and pumps capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine while hunting migratory game birds.
  • Camo or dull non-cloth shotgun case.  Cloth cases during waterfowl hunts tend to get muddy.  A floating case is recommended.
  • Non-lead 3″ (if your shotgun is also chambered for three inches) shotgun shells (HEVI-Steel, Winchester Xpert, or equivalent) in 2 or 3 shot – the 1550 FPS variant for steel shot and the 1500 FPS variant for HEVI-steel) are recommended.   Randy Rowley does not recommend anything smaller than 4 shot.  10 gauges and 3 1/2 inch shells in 3 1/2 inch chambered 12 gauges are overkill for ducks.  Steel shot (if of adequate size) will kill ducks – there is no need for HEVI-shot, Tungsten, Bismuth, etc.  You’ll pay a lot more for those shells and they aren’t needed.  You’ll not need more than three boxes and will probably shoot less than two boxes.
  • Camo or dull blind bag, shell bag, vest, or bandoleer.  If your shell bag is bright (e.g., a red HEB shopping bag) you’ll need to hide it well.  A floating blind bag is recommended.
  • Waterproof headlamp or cap light.
  • Camo outer hunting clothes, including cap/hat and a face mask or face paint (face coverings are absolutely essential as oily skin glows in a duck’s eyes).  You never know when it will rain on the coast, so bring rain gear.
  • Waders (absolutely essential).  Uninsulated breathable waders are recommended for warmer hunts.  Neoprene breathable waders are recommended for colder hunts (if you wear 5mm thick neoprene waders on an early season hunt you might cook yourself).  We don’t put our waders on until we reach the boat ramp, unless we’re wearing uninsulated breathable ones.
  • Bucket, stool, or folding chair.  We’ll build a blind or hunt from natural cover, so you’ll need to see over it.
  • Game shears, a fillet knife, fillet board (recommended), sharpener (recommended), three gallon-sized Zip-Lok bags (as to be legal, you’ll need to have your ducks in separate bags for separate days).
  • A medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your ducks home in.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in the boats to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Non-mirrored sunglasses (optional).
  • Bug repellent (optional).

What to Bring If Bay Fishing

  • Saltwater fishing license.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your saltwater fishing license.
  • Rods and Reels (at least two in case you break one; no more than four).
  • Lures and/or terminal tackle for live and/or dead bait.
  • Headlamp or cap light.
  • Clothing appropriate for the season (including a cap).  You never know when it will rain on the coast, so bring rain gear.
  • A fillet knife, fillet board (recommended), sharpener (recommended), three gallon-sized Zip-Lok bags (as to be legal, you’ll need to have your fish in separate bags for separate days), and a medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your fish home in (if you get any).  If on a blast and cast you won’t need a medium-sized ice chest for your ducks and a medium-sized ice chest for your fish – one will do.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in the boats to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Sunglasses (optional, but highly recommended).
  • Bug repellent (optional).
  • Waders (if you plan to do wade fishing; except during late spring, summer, and early fall trips).

The boat captains are required to have a life jacket for every passenger, so you won’t need one.

Randy has extras of many of the items that are listed above (e.g., waders, cap lights, stools, small ice chests, cap lights, rods and reels, lures, etc.) and will happily loan them if you let him know before we leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it he will expect reimbursement.

For ducks, Randy usually starts out with a modified choke.  If the ducks are coming into the dekes, he’ll switch to an improved cylinder.  If the ducks are only offering long pass shots he’ll switch to full.  Most modern screw-in chokes are designed for lead and non-lead shot without a change in the pattern density.

Here is what sitting in the typical cover looks like:

Or, if we find a blind that someone isn’t using, we can try to hunt it.  Here’s what one looks like:

Randy has 59 decoys that he can bring to the coast (28 pintails, 17 redheads, six canvasbacks, six buffleheads, and two motorized mallards).  Daryl, Kevin, and Wayne also have at least a dozen decoys each.

Expectations

These blasts and casts are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinator/leader will enforce the below expectations:

  • Follow the captain’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of the vehicle and boat gas, motel rooms, and boat launch fees.
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including decoys that you shot and sank and lures that you borrowed and broke or lost).
  • Help (including helping get the boats back on the trailers).
  • Be prepared to fish (if others have to help you rig properly on the boat, it takes away from their fishing time).  This does not apply to new fishermen.
  • Control your dog during a hunt (a dog that wants to go play with the decoys or charge the ducks as they’re coming into the decoys will ruin the hunt for everyone).
  • Talk quietly, especially when ducks are coming into the decoys (ducks can hear you and will veer away).  Fish can also hear you and will swim away.
  • Don’t be rude.  Examples of rude behavior include deciding to go get coffee after the boat has already launched and your partners are ready to fish, throwing a cast net from the boat while your partners are actively fishing, and fishing with too many rods out – which prevents your partners from fishing at all.  All of these examples have happened on FCS bay fishing trips.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Let Randy know if you have any questions at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.

Lure recommendations

Soft plastics – Egret Baits’ VuDu Shrimp and VuDu Vixen, Z-Man’s EZ Shrimpz, scented Jerk Shad, Paddler, and Pogy, Berkley’s Gulp Alive Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, Shrimp, Swimming Mullet, Pogy, Ripple Mullets, Mud Minnow/coakers, Salt Strong’s Slam Shaddy, and Saltwater Jerk Shad, Zoom’s Salty Super Fluke, Norton Lures’ Sand Shad, Sand Eel, and Bull Minnow, and Bass Assassin’s BANG Die Dapper, Sea Shad, Saltwater Shad Assassin, and Saltwater Curly Tail Shad.

Soft plastics colors – salt and pepper (Bass Assassin calls it Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom), white/red, red/white, and Bass Assassin’s Chicken on a Chain (light green and white with black specks and a chartreuse tail).

Jig heads – H&H Lure Double-Eye, Pro Shad, Rattilize, Arrow Head, Cocahoe, Strike King Trokar, Bass Assassin, and Z-Man Redfish Eye and Trout Eye.  1/8, 3/16, 1/4, or 3/8 oz. in red, white, or lead.

Spoons – Nacho Daddy Loaded Nachos, Johnson’s Silver Minnow and Gold Minnow, H&H Lure’s Secret Weedless Redfish Spoon, Strike King’s Sexy Spoon, and Nichols Lures’ Mojo Flutter Spoon.  1/2 – 1 ounce in gold or silver.  These are particularly good for redfish and speckled trout.  Redfish seem to prefer gold and trout seem to prefer silver.

Topwaters – walk the dog lures like Bomber’s Badonk-A-Donk, Heddon’s Zara Spook, Zara Spook Jr., and Chug’n Spook Jr., Rapala’s Saltwater Skitter Walk and Skitter V, MirrOlure’s Series III, Pro Dog Jr., or Top Dog Jr., and Yo-Zuri 3DB Topwater Pencil and 3-D Inshore Pencil; poppers like MirrOlure’s C-Eye Poppa Mullet Surface Popper and Heddon’s Chuggar Spook; and torpedo lures like River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper.  The last two lures don’t come with saltwater hooks, so be sure to rinse the hooks with freshwater after use in saltwater.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Lipless crankbaits/twitch baits – Bill Lewis’s Magnum Force, Mag-Trap, Knock-N-Trap, and Rat-L-Trap, MirrOlure’s MirrODine, MirrODine XL, Paul Brown’s Fat Boy, MirrOMinnow, MirrOMullett, Series III Catch 2000, 52 MR, She Dog, She Pup, Glad Shad, and XXL, and Rapala’s X-Rap Twitchin’ Minnow and Twitchin’ Mullet.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Crankbaits – Bill Lewis’s Echo and MirrOlure’s MirrOLip 1/2 oz Suspending Crankbait.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Hard jerk baits/swim baits – Yo-Zuri’s Pin’s Minnow Floating Swim Bait, Crystal 3-D Minnow, Crystal Minnow, 3DS 2-3/4″ Suspending Minnow, Mag Minnow, and 3-D Inshore, Bomber’s Jointed Long A, Saltwater Grade Heavy Duty Long A, and Magnum Long A, and Cotton Cordell’s Red-Fin.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Hard bait lure colors – white with red heads, silver with red heads, silver with black backs, silver with blue backs, silver with pink backs, gold with pink backs, bone, and chartreuse.

Line Recommendations for baitcasting and spinning reels (you can use lighter line with spinning reels)

For topwater lures use mono in 12 – 15 lb. test or braid in 30 lb. test.

For diving lures use fluorocarbon in 14 – 17 lb. test or mono in 12 – 15 lb. test.

Leader Recommendations

30 or 25 lb. test fluorocarbon or mono.

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Jan
21

FCS Sporting Clays Shoots

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FCS hosts sporting clays shoot on even months from 9:00 – 11:30 AM at Capital City Clays.  We’ll shoot one round of 50 sporting clays.  We’ll shoot their red course (formerly called the corporate or hunter course), which has covered stations.

Capital City Clays requires masks for the unvaccinated.  They are currently out of 20 gauge ammo.  Non-Capital City Clays members may not buy ammo from them. 

You can shoot singles, report pairs, or true pairs.  Or you can follow the menu at each station which is a mix of true pairs and report pairs.  We keep score just for fun.

Here are a couple of pictures from our shoots:

Schedule:

  • 9:00 AM – Sporting clays
  • 11:00 AM – Scores and announcements
  • 11:30 AM – Depart

Who should come: Members and guests, including ladies and youth, and both new and experienced shooters.  We average 10 participants, so we break up into groups.  We recommend all shooters be at least 10 years old.  For youths, we suggest a 20 gauge that fits the child (if a youth shoots a .410 he or she will probably miss a lot and may get discouraged).  We often have new shooters and delight in teaching others what we have learned.

Cost and what to bring:

  • Each 50 round course costs $25.44/person (includes tax).
  • You’ll need a shotgun (of course).  Most of us shoot a 12 gauge, but a 20 gauge is good also.  Most of the targets on the Capital City Clays Red course are close enough for skeet chokes, but IC works fine.  If you don’t have a shotgun some of us will be happy to share our gun with you, but let Bruce Crockett know before you arrive.
  • You’ll also need to bring at least two boxes of shells.  A few extra shells are recommended in case you have any misfires or need to reshoot a station because a second clay broke in flight before you had a chance to shoot it (in such cases we shoot both targets again).  Capital City Clays sells shotgun shells if you need them (but you can get them cheaper at Academy, Walmart, etc.).  Randy Rowley recommends Winchester Game Loads / Federal Game and Target Loads / Estate Dove Loads / Rio Game Loads / Remington Sure Shot Heavy Dove Loads / Estate Dove and Target Loads.  All of which are sometimes available at Academy, Bass Pro Shops, Walmart, etc.  (Due to the ammo shortage we highly recommend that if you see any shells anywhere buy them!)  1 oz. or 1-1/8 oz. loads, 1200-1300 FPS, and 7-1/2 or 8 shot work well.  They sell for $10 – $11.50/box.  All six are great dove/quail loads in addition to being good clay target loads.  If you’re a dove/quail hunter, Randy recommends that you shoot sporting clays with the same load that you use to hunt dove/quail.  This enables you to develop consistent leads for similarly sized targets.
  • Capital City Clays requires eye and ear protection.  You can bring your own or it is available free of charge at Capital City Clays.

Location and phone number: 8707 Lindell Lane (near the Travis County Exposition Center and Lake Decker), 512-272-4707

In the event of rain: Light rain – we shoot; heavy rain – we stay home and Bruce or Randy will send out a cancellation notice.

Questions:  Contact Bruce at bmc55@att.net or 512-970-7797.

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Jan
21

FCS Meetings (Social Activities)

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FCS has bi-monthly meetings (social activities) on even months.  The meetings feature a dinner and training presentation, devotional, and/or DVD with a Christian message.  The cost ranges between $5 – $20/person (depending on what we’re cooking).

Schedule:

7:00 PM – cook, fellowship, and eat dinner

8:00 PM – president’s report, upcoming events, and training presentation, devotional, and/or DVD with a Christian Message

9:30 PM – depart

RSVPs are required to Randy Rowley to ensure that we’ll have enough food at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.  Also, let him know if you have any questions.

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Jan
21

Chartered Bass Fishing Trips

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FCS has an annual chartered hybrid/striped/white bass fishing trip usually on Monday afternoons each Mary or June.  We’ve fished on Lakes Belton, Buchanan, and LBJ.  The most that we have taken is sixteen participants, which required three guides/boats.  In addition to catching hybrid/striped/white bass, we have largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie.

Striped bass grow larger than hybrid striped bass.  For both species, the minimum length is 18″ and the limit is five.  If you catch white bass the minimum limit is 10” and the daily bag limit is 25.

Here are pictures from some of our chartered hybrid/striped/white bass fishing trips:

5/12/16 - Lake Buchanan - Jim McGee - 25-1/2" Striper

051216_FCS Guided Fishing_Vince Berry

051216_FCS Guided Fishing_Group 1

6/16/14 - Lake Belton - Fishermen with 25 Hybrid Bass & 2 White Bass

6/16/14 - Lake Belton - Vicky McGee - 8 lb Hybrid Bass

6/15/15 - Stripped Fishing Trip

66/1 - Lake Belton - Hybrid Bass

6/16/14 - Lake Belton - Chris Rowley

If we have four to five fishermen on a boat the cost is $120 per person.  The guide(s) will supply the boat, rods, bait, landing nets, and a fish box.  They’ll clean the fish and bag them.  The price does not include shared gas, eating out on the way home, and an optional but highly recommended tip.  A 20% tip would be $24.

FCS also had a chartered largemouth bass fishing trip on 4/2/22.  Zack Tumlinson and Chris, a friend of guide and FCS member Kevin McConnell, fished with Kevin on Lake Fayette.  They ended up with 19 bass – two of which were 5 pounders!  Zack loaded the boat using green crawdad soft plastics.  Here are a couple of pictures from that trip:

What to Bring

  • Freshwater fishing license.
  • Clothing appropriate for the season (including a cap).  You never know when it will rain, so bring rain gear.
  • A medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your fish home in (if you get any; leave it in your vehicle).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in the boats to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Sunglasses (optional, but highly recommended).
  • Bug repellent (optional).
  • Headlamp or cap light (optional)

The captains are required to have a life jacket for every passenger, so you won’t need one.

Expectations

These fishing trips are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the captain’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of vehicle gas.
  • Help when the captain asks you to.
  • Talk quietly – fish can hear you also and will swim away.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Don’t ask questions regarding information that has already been conveyed in the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails (and you would have known the answers if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s emails, phone calls, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

An RSVP and payment in full is required to Daryl Shipper at shipperdog@gmail.com or 512-638-6971.  Also contact Daryl if you have any questions.

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Jan
21

Semi-guided Hog Hunt Rotation

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The following people who are on the Semi-guided Hog Hunt Rotation (the Event Hierarchy also applies):

  1. Mike Smith
  2. Steve Fusco
  3. Isaac Lieb (Isaac, Ted and Blake Lieb prefer to go on hunts together)
  4. Jim McGee
  5. Robert Ochoa
  6. Monalisa Almanza and one of her minor sons
  7. Larry Mitchell
  8. Jose Primera
  9. Jonathan Fleming
  10. Greg Moerbe
  11. Dan Ahlfield
  12. Edwin Zamora
  13. Mike Pozhenko
  14. Don Hebert and his minor son
  15. Patrick Kelley
  16. Steven Babin
  17. Randy Rowley
  18. Ken Miller
  19. Ted Lieb (Ted, Blake, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on hunts together)
  20. Blake Lieb (Blake, Ted, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on hunts together)
  21. Burl Fulenwider
  22. Christian Bana
  23. Barry Brown

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Jan
21

Guided Waterfowl Hunt Rotation

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The following people are on the Guided Waterfowl Hunt Rotation (the Event Hierarchy also applies):

  1. Don Hebert and his minor son
  2. Jonathan Fleming
  3. Clayton Carrier
  4. Chris Campbell
  5. Raul Pena
  6. Zack Tumlinson
  7. Mike Smith
  8. Jeff Cates
  9. Mark Kelton
  10. Mike Pozhenko and his minor son
  11. Ian Daniels
  12. Ryan Rowley (Ryan and Randy Rowley prefer to go on hunts together)
  13. Ted Lieb (Ted, Blake, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on hunts together)
  14. Isaac Lieb (Isaac, Ted, and Blake Lieb prefer to go on hunts together)
  15. Patrick Kelley
  16. Roy Zengerle
  17. James Carney
  18. Barry Brown
  19. Kevin McConnell
  20. Burl Fulenwider
  21. Jim McGee
  22. Wayne Weilnau
  23. Randy Rowley (Randy and Ryan Rowley prefer to go on hunts together)
  24. Blake Lieb (Blake, Ted, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on hunts together)
  25. Daryl Shipper
  26. Mike Curran
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Jan
19

Removed from the Calendar

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Details on events that will soon take place have dark blue hyperlinks.  We will not post details for events that are several months away, as many things can change for such events.

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Jan
10

Guided Waterfowl Hunts

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FCS goes on at least one guided waterfowl hunt per season.  We usually hunt ducks but have also hunted geese and sandhill cranes.

We have had hunts for the past several seasons with Ricky Ethridge (near Donie, Marquis, Cameron, and Lockhart), Rayce Jenkins (near El Campo), Bret Jepsen (near DFW), Jack Chamberland (near McMahan), and Matt Strayer (near Altair).  Our most successful hunts have been with Rayce, Bret, and Ricky.  Our most inexpensive hunts have been with Ricky.

We have gotten our limits several times.  Here are pictures of some of our successes:

Costs:

  • Guide fees run between $125 – $225.  Guide fees will be required in full by a due date.  Hunters who do not pay the guide fee by the due date will be removed from the list of people who RSVPed for the trip.  We recommend a 20% tip, based on the effort, not the results.
  • We’ll split the vehicle gas.  If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • We’ll eat out or get drive-through food.
  • Depending on how far we have to travel, we might stay in a motel.
  • Most guides clean the birds for you.  If they do not offer this service, that will be stated in the information about the hunt.

What to Bring:

  • Texas hunting license and migratory bird endorsement and federal duck stamp.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license and migratory bird endorsement but does not include a federal duck stamp.
  • Shotgun.  A 12 gauge piston-operated semi-automatic with a 3-inch chamber is recommended.  A plug is required for semi-automatics and pumps capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine while hunting migratory game birds.
  • Camo or dull non-cloth shotgun case.  Cloth cases during waterfowl hunts tend to get muddy.  We’ll leave the cases in the bed of the guide’s truck.  If we’re hunting from a boat a floating case is recommended.
  • Non-lead 3″ (if your gun is also chambered for 3 inches) shotgun shells (HEVI-Steel, Winchester Xpert, or equivalent) in 2 or 3 shot – the 1550 FPS variant for steel shot and the 1500 FPS variant for HEVI-Steel) are recommended.   Randy Rowley does not recommend anything smaller than 4 shot.  10 gauges and 3 1/2 inch shells in 3 1/2 inch-chambered 12 gauges are overkill for ducks.  Steel shot (if of adequate size) will kill ducks – there is no need for HEVI-shot, Tungsten, Bismuth, etc.  You’ll pay a lot more for those shells and they aren’t needed.  You’ll not need more than three boxes and will probably shoot less than two boxes.
  • Camo or dull blind bag, shell bag, vest, or bandoleer.  If your shell bag is bright (e.g., a red HEB shopping bag) you’ll need to hide it well.  If we’re going to be hunting from a boat a floating blind bag is recommended.
  • Waterproof headlamp or cap light.
  • Camo outer hunting clothes, including cap/hat and a face mask or face paint (face coverings are absolutely essential as oily skin glows in a duck’s eyes).  If rain is predicted, bring rain gear.
  • Waders (absolutely essential except on the pond hunts).  Uninsulated breathable waders are recommended for warmer hunts.  Neoprene breathable waders are recommended for colder hunts (if you wear 5mm thick neoprene waders on an early season hunt you might cook yourself).  We don’t put our waders on until we reach the pond, lake, or river (unless you have uninsulated breathable waders).  If we’re hunting a pond bring boots that you don’t mind getting muddy, but waders will not be required.
  • Bucket, stool, or folding chair (if the guide does not have a bench in his blind; if hunting from the natural cover this is optional as you can sit on the ground, but you won’t be able to see the ducks as easily).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).
  • Non-mirrored sunglasses (optional).
  • Bug repellent (optional) for hunts during the early part of the season.
  • A small ice chest or bag to take your ducks home in (if you get any).

Randy has extras of many of the items that are listed above (waders, cap lights, buckets/stools, etc.) and will happily loan things if you let him know that you would like to borrow something before we leave at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it he will expect reimbursement.

Randy usually starts out with a modified choke.  If the ducks are coming into the dekes, he’ll switch to an improved cylinder.  Most modern screw-in chokes are designed for lead and non-lead shot without a change in the pattern density.

Depending on the guide and location, you could be hunting from a traditional blind, lay-out blind, pit blind, panel blind, or natural cover.

Traditional blind (outside)

Traditional blind (inside)

1/18/16 - El Campo Duck Hunt - Ken Miller in pit blind

Pit blind

Layout blinds

Panel blind

Natural cover

Expectations

These hunts are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the guide’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of vehicle gas and motel rooms (if applicable).
  • Help when the guide asks you to.
  • Control your dog (a dog that wants to go play with the decoys or charge the ducks as they are coming in will ruin the hunt).
  • Talk quietly, especially when ducks are coming into the decoys (ducks can hear you and will veer away).
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Contact Randy at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484 if you have any questions.

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Dec
19

2021 Hunting Trips Reports

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I recommend a floating camo blind bag.  They’re not waterproof, but if your bag gets knocked off your boat it won’t sink, unless you have a lot of weight in it. Read More→

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Nov
24

Slack Channel

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FCS has added a Slack Channel, which enables a group to work on a project by holding online meetings, sharing documents, and making decisions.  For example, if we have a group going on a Blast and Cast they can have discussions on our Slack Channel on travel arrangements, how to handle food, hunting and fishing spots to target, etc.
 
You’ll need to create a username and password, but that’s fairly easy.  After you establish a username and password you’ll be notified of ongoing Slack Channel discussions.  Join in on the ones that interest you.  Ignore the ones that don’t.
 
Working with a Slack Channel is similar to text messaging or email except that once you’re in the Channel, you can immediately communicate to everyone.
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The first FCS Self-guided/chartered Coastal Blast and Cast of the season will be at Corpus Christi.  We have one bay boat committed to this event – Daryl Shipper’s.  Randy Rowley is leading an audit on 12/10/21 and, therefore, cannot commit to this event.  This trip is limited to four people, including Daryl.  The Blast and Cast Rotation will apply, as will the Event Hierarchy.  If you’re new to the rotations here is How the Rotations Work.  If you’re towards the bottom don’t let that discourage you – if folks above you on the Rotation don’t respond then you’ll have a spot.  The deadline to RSVP is 10/26/21.

Redheads dominate the area, but we’ve bagged wigeons, pintails, scaups, buffleheads, mergansers, and even a GWT.  We’ve caught redfish, trout, flounder, mangrove snapper, and a variety of non-game fish in that area in December.

For duck hunting we’ll launch at Wilson’s Cut.  For fishing, we’ll either launch at the Packery Channel, the Marker 37 Marina, Clem’s, or at the Port A ramps (depending on weather, tides, and fishing reports).  The plan presently is to fish on Friday (duck season doesn’t resume in the South Zone until Saturday, 12/11/21) and either hunt or fish on Saturday morning and do the opposite that evening.  Then, depending on which activity has been the most successful, do that on Sunday morning.  If fishing is bad, we might forget about it and focus on hunting and vice versa.

A payment of $108/person will be due before 11/6/21 for the following Airbnb house (unless someone beats us to it) – https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/45010770?adults=4&children=1&location=Corpus%20Christi%2C%20TX%2C%20United%20States&check_in=2021-12-17&check_out=2021-12-19&translate_ugc=false&federated_search_id=03d3e24e-0613-4373-b294-7f8dfe0c3f2d&source_impression_id=p3_1632960329_550cVlqRFD56pxIt&guests=1.  It has a king in one bedroom and a queen and two singles (bunk bed) in the other bedroom.  It’s $432 for two nights ($108/sportsman or $54/night).  We’ll eat out.  Everyone will buy his own bait and/or you can use artificial lures.  The participants, not including Daryl, will share truck and boat gas and pay for a boat wash and any boat launch fees.

Let Randy know if you would like to be added to the Rotation or if you have any questions that the Blast and Cast Rotation page does not answer at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.  Also, he has extras of many of the items you’ll need for this hunt (such as waders, floating gun cases, stools, cap lights, etc.) and will happily loan things if you let him know that you would like to borrow something before you leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it, he will expect reimbursement.

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We require full payments for all landowner, outfitter, and guide fees and for Airbnb lodging and some other lodging providers in advance by a due date.  RSVPed Hunters or fishermen who don’t make their payment to the Event Coordinator by the due date will be removed from the list of people who RSVPed for the trip and another person on the waiting list (if applicable) will be given an opportunity to take their place and make an immediate payment the day after the due date.  On that day, the Event Coordinator will tell the landowner, outfitter, or guide exactly how many have paid and send a combined payment via the landowner’s, outfitter’s, or guide’s preferred method (e.g., PayPal, Venmo, check, etc.).  The Event Coordinator will also make adjustments to the number of rooms that he reserved, if needed.

If something happens to change a participant’s status, the president will be willing to email the Club to let everyone know that a hunter or fisherman wants to sell his spot and that payment will be made to him (as he did twice in August 2021 for hunters on the Bartlett dove lease who changed their minds after paying for their spots) but he’ll be the mailman and not the middleman.  If he receives complaints from potential buyers of a spot that the seller isn’t responding to them, he’ll try to contact the seller and find out why they aren’t responding.  If their reason for not responding isn’t a good one or they don’t respond to him, he’ll email the Club to let everyone know that the spot is no longer available.

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There will be no refunds once an event’s Event Coordinator has made a group’s payment to the landowner, outfitter, or guide for an event and for Airbnb and some other lodging providers lodging.

If something happens to change a participant’s status, the president will be willing to email the Club to let everyone know that a hunter or fisherman wants to sell his spot and lodging (if applicable) and that payment will be made to him (as he did twice in August 2021 for hunters on the Bartlett dove lease who changed their minds after paying for their spots) but he’ll be the mailman and not the middleman.  If he receives complaints from potential buyers of a spot that the seller isn’t responding to them, he’ll try to contact the seller and find out why they aren’t responding.  If their reason for not responding isn’t a good one or they don’t respond to him, he’ll email the Club to let everyone know that the spot and lodging (if applicable) is no longer available.

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Oct
05

RSVPing to Event Coordinators

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RSVP for events to the event’s Event Coordinator – don’t RSVP to the landowner, outfitter, guide, or another member of the hunting or fishing party!

The event coordinators are usually told dozens of things each day at work.  They also are frequently told numerous things pertaining to FCS.  With the amount of information they receive they will inevitably forget some of it.  Therefore, it’s much better for you to RSVP via email than to text them, call them, or tell them in person (if you do so please follow up with an email).  If you text them be sure to let them know who you are.  Email is still preferred, as they’ll just have to forward your text to their email address, which causes double work for them.

In addition, if we will be hunting under the jurisdiction of a particular entity (such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) we’ll include a link to their website.  From there you can go to the lake’s Recreation page then its Hunting page to see what their rules are (for example).  Please do not ask the event coordinator to look up a Corps rule (for example) for you that you can look up just as easily as he can.

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Oct
05

Participant Expectations

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An event participant is expected to sign a FCS Release of Liability Waiver for events that involve risks, if he or she has not already done so, and follow the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct, while on FCS events.

We require full payments for all landowner, outfitter, and guide fees in advance by a due date.  RSVPed Hunters or fishermen who don’t make their payment to the Event Coordinator by the due date will be removed from the list of people who RSVPed for the trip and another person on the waiting list (if applicable) will be given an opportunity to take their place and make an immediate payment the day after the due date.

We also have a no refunds policy once the Event Coordinator has made the group’s payment to the landowner, outfitter, or guide.  If something happens to change a participant’s status, the president will be willing to email the Club to let everyone know that a hunter or fisherman wants to sell his spot and that payment will be made to him (as he did twice in August 2021 for hunters on the Bartlett dove lease who changed their minds after paying for their spots) but he’ll be the mailman and not the middleman.  If he receives complaints from potential buyers of a spot that the seller isn’t responding to them, he’ll try to contact the seller and find out why they aren’t responding.  If their reason for not responding isn’t a good one or they don’t respond to him, he’ll email the Club to let everyone know that the spot is no longer available.

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Sep
29

Hunting at the Campbell Family Pond

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We will hunt either Lakes GrangerStillhouse Hollow (aka Stillhouse)SomervilleBelton, or Waco in their Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) or a local pond.

We also might hunt a pond just east of Austin.  If so, there is a $20/hunter charge and we won’t be using my boat.  We’ll walk a short distance and hunt behind a blind or camo netting or use natural cover.  If we hunt the pond we can take up to five hunters, counting Chris Campbell, the host.

The pond
The outside of the blind
The inside of the blind
The view from the inside of the blind

If we’re hunting a pond bring boots that you don’t mind getting muddy, but waders will not be required.

NOTE: Do not attempt to arrange a hunt with Chris on your own.  To be fair to everyone the pond hunts need to go through me.  If I decide that it won’t over-pressure the ponds, I will first contact Chris.  If he is agreeable to it, I’ll let everyone on the rotation know so the other people on the rotation will have an opportunity to go.  If guys are trying to arrange their own hunts it is bypassing the other guys on the rotation and that’s not fair to them.  It would also contribute to over-pressuring the pond.  If we over-pressure it then it will ultimately result in poor future hunts, as ducks will start to shun the pond.  That’s why good guides have a half dozen or more ponds that they rotate their hunters among.  I have asked Chris to refer any requests to hunt the pond from guys on the FCS Duck Hunt Rotation to me.

In addition, Chris is concerned about guys letting their friends know about the pond and then them starting to contact his family directly.  If you have friends who might want to hunt have them contact me and I’ll add them to the rotation.  If we have people start knocking on his family’s door asking to hunt it will shut the door on this pond and ruin it for everyone.

Not complying with either of the above will result in removal from the rotation.

Costs:

If we hunt the pond east of Austin, there is a $20/hunter charge.

We’ll stop at Whataburger on the way to the lake/pond and might stop for second breakfast or brunch on the way home.

What to Bring:

Camo or dull non-cloth shotgun case.  If we’re hunting from a boat a floating case is recommended.  Cloth cases during duck hunts at ponds tend to get muddy, so I recommend that they be left in the vehicles.

Camo or dull blind bag, shell bag, vest, or bandoleer.  If we’re hunting from my boat a floating blind bag is recommended.  If your shell bag is bright (e.g., a red HEB shopping bag) you’ll need to hide it well during duck hunts at ponds.

Waders (absolutely essential except on the pond hunts).  Uninsulated breathable waders are recommended for warmer hunts.  Neoprene breathable waders are recommended for colder hunts (if you wear 5mm thick neoprene waders on an early season hunt you might cook yourself).  We don’t put our waders on until we reach the pond, lake, or river (unless you have uninsulated breathable waders).  If we’re hunting a pond bring boots that you don’t mind getting muddy, but waders will not be required.

Bucket, stool, or folding chair for pond hunts.  We’ll hunt from behind a mesh blind, so you won’t be able to see if you sit on the ground.  If we hunt from my boat you’ll not need a bucket, stool, or chair, as my boat has fishing chairs and benches.  However, if we have to hunt from shore (because the cover is too far from shore and my boat will stick out like a sore thumb) we’ll use my boat to ferry us to where we’ll hunt, park it 100 or so yards away, and sit in the cover.  In which case you’ll need a bucket, stool, or chair.

Expectations

  • Don’t contact Chris Campbell directly and attempt to arrange your own hunts at his family’s pond, which is effectively bypassing others on the rotation.
  • Don’t let your friends know about Chris’s family pond.
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FCS will host a Semi-guided Deer (Axis Doe and/or Whitetail Doe) and Unlimited Hogs Bowhunt on Friday, 10/1/21 – Sunday, 10/3/21 (hunt on Saturday and Sunday) with Ricky Ethridge on a 2,000-acre ranch near Rocksprings.  We have had many successful duck hunts with Ricky and know that he’s a stand-up guy.

This is a bow-only hunt but any type of bow (crossbow, compound, recurve, or longbow) is allowed.

The cost of the hunt is $500 for the weekend for two does (axis and/or white-tail) and unlimited hogs.  As the white-tail season will start on Saturday, 10/2/21, the hunts will be on Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning and afternoon. Hunters are welcome to come in on Friday, 10/1/21 afternoon/evening. The ranch has seven box blinds, tripods, feeders filled with corn, and a cleaning station with ropes and gambrels.

Lodging is a trailer that sleeps five, with a kitchen and electricity and water (that Ricky will bring in). The toilet is an outhouse. Food is included.

The maximum number of hunters that we can bring is five and two spots are open.

Contact Randy Rowley if you would like a spot at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.  Also contact Randy if you have any questions.

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Jul
06

12/4/21 – 12/6/21 Guided Duck Hunt

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FCS will hunt ducks with MF (Mallicote Family) Waterfowl on Saturday, 12/4/21 – Monday, 12/6/21 (the opening weekend of the split season) near Paris.  MF Waterfowl is featured on the Outdoor Channel.  Their FB page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Sports—Recreation/Mfwaterfowl-1928680590584853/.

The cost is $300 per day per hunter.  Three days of hunting and a 5-hunter group are required for private group privileges.  Hunting includes the guide and dog.  Lodging is $250 per night divided by 5 hunters or $50 a night per hunter.

RSVP is required to Mike Walsh at duxmn@austin.rr.com or 512-560-7001.  1/2 of the fee ($525 each) is required for a deposit to hold the dates.  Mike will Venmo one deposit for everyone, as the outfitter prefers.

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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/

NOAA Weather

Austin, Texas

Last Updated on Jun 5 2022, 10:53 pm CDT

Current Conditions: Partly Cloudy

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Wind: SE at 12mph

Humidity: 63%

Heat Index: 85°F

Your 5-Day Forecast at a Glance

Bible Verse of the Day

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.

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