Author Archive

Oct
18

Duck Hunt Rotation

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The following is a rotation list for self-guided duck hunts on central Texas lakes within 90 miles of Austin.  We will hunt either Lakes Granger, Stillhouse Hollow Belton, or Somerville in their Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).  All four lakes are administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CoE).  We will hunt until 9:00 – 10:30 AM, depending on how the ducks are flying and the weather conditions (ducks often fly longer when it is overcast). 

I, Randy Rowley, can take up to three adult hunters (four counting me).  We’ll hunt from my 20′ 3″ camo 2019 Excel Bay Pro 203 with a 115 HP Yahama motor, which has a camo blind.

Granger does not require a CoE lake hunting permit.  However, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) leases Granger’s WMA’s; consequently, a TPWD 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 WMAs.  Granger is 41 miles from my house.

Stillhouse and Belton do not require a TPWD Public Hunting Permit nor a CoE lake hunting permit (see http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/stillhouse/Recreation/Hunting.asp). If we decide to hunt Stillhouse we will hunt in the Union Grove WMA on the island (the side depends on the direction of the wind).  Stillhouse is 11 miles further from my house than Granger, so we’ll have to leave 15 minutes earlier than we would if we were going to hunt Granger.  If we decide to hunt Belton, we will hunt either the Owl Creek or the Iron Bridge WMAs.  Belton is 36 miles further than Granger, so we’ll have to leave 45 minutes earlier than we would if we were going to hunt Granger.

Somerville does not require a CoE lake hunting permit.  Nor does it require a TPWD Public Hunting Permit in the CoE day hunt area (you will need one if you hunt in the TPWD day hunt area; you also must hunt out of your boat at least 200 yards from shore if you hunt in that area).  Somerville is 54 miles further than Granger, so we’ll have to leave an hour earlier than we would if we were going to hunt Granger.

Hunters who want to participate must sign, if they have not already, a lifetime FCS Liability Waiver.

Cost:

  • We’ll split the vehicle gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas).
  • We’ll also stop at Whataburger on the way to the lake and will probably stop for brunch on the way home.

What to Bring:

  • Hunting license and stamps (state migratory bird stamp and federal duck stamp)
  • Shotgun
  • Shells (Winchester Xpert shells or equivalent in 2 shot (the 1550 FPS variant), chambered for 3 inch (if your gun is also chambered for 3 inch); I do 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, in my opinion; 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))
  • Headlamp/cap light (preferred) or flashlight
  • Bucket or stool
  • Camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential)
  • Waders (absolutely essential)
  • Snacks (optional)
  • Drinks (optional)
  • A small ice chest to take your ducks home in (there is a large ice chest on the boat to put your drinks and snacks in)

If you need to borrow an item(s) let me know before we leave.

I usually start out with an improved cylinder choke. If the ducks aren’t coming into the dekes (and my shots are passing shots) I’ll switch to a modified.

I have 90 decoys (24 redheads, 13 pintails, 13 gadwall, 13 teal, nine mallards, six canvasbacks, six buffleheads, a widgeon, a pulsator duck, two quiver ducks, a motorized duck, and a wind duck (that I only use when it’s windy enough to spin the wings and when it’s too windy to use the motorized duck).  In addition, FCS has 33 decoys (25 teal and 8 wood ducks) in its inventory.  Combining my decoys and the FCS decoys I have 123 decoys.  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 will stay in my garage when we go there.

Hunters who want to participate must sign, if they have not already, a lifetime FCS Liability Waiver.

After a hunter goes on a hunt I will move him or her to the bottom of the rotation.  If I contact a hunter and he or she cannot go I will contact the next person on the list.

Being on this rotation is a privilege and is not a FCS membership benefit.  I can and will remove a person from the rotation for any of the following reasons (this list is not all-inclusive):

  • Not hunting in a safe manner, including deliberately not following my instructions and the FCS Safety and Shooting rules, Hunting and Fishing Rules, and Game Law Clarifications during a hunt.
  • Not paying for your share of the gas or fixing items (that are not yours) that you broke (including decoys that you shot and sank).
  • Not helping during a hunt (including not helping get the boat back on the trailer).
  • Not controlling your dog during a hunt.
  • Indicating that you will attend a hunt and then not showing up.
  • A pattern of being more than a few minutes late.
  • A pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Not returning my phone calls and/or emails.

The following people are on the Duck Hunt Rotation for the 2018/2019 season:

  1. Jim McGee
  2. Wayne Weilnau
  3. Jeff Peterson and two sons
  4. Ian Daniels
  5. Burl Fulenwider
  6. Garrett Eklund
  7. Earl Prochnick
  8. Binh Chu
  9. Ken Miller
  10. Ryan Rowley
  11. Steve Ritter
  12. Zack Tumlinson
  13. Jeff Morris
  14. Clayton Carrier
  15. Jonathan Fleming
  16. Mike Walsh
  17. David Pruitt
  18. Chris Campbell

The tentative dates for the hunts during the 2018/2019 seasons are:

  • Saturday, 11/10/18
  • Saturday, 11/17/18
  • Wednesday, 12/26/18
  • Tuesday, 01/01/19
  • Saturday, 01/19/19
  • Monday, 01/21/19
  • Saturday, 01/26/19

The following people are on the permanent Duck Hunt Rotation:

  1. Roy Brigman
  2. Tim Price
  3. Kevin Wall
  4. Harry Biggs
  5. Bill Bebee
  6. Jerry Stafford
  7. Thomas Palmer
  8. Jim Gault
  9. Jim McGee
  10. Robby Wilson
  11. Will Peterson
  12. Justin Painter
  13. Ron and Nathan Petru
  14. Ron Palmer
  15. Bruce Crockett
  16. Bill Smith
  17. Ron Denison
  18. Wayne Weilnau
  19. Jeff Cates
  20. Kyle Wickham
  21. Brian Suter
  22. Steve Bird
  23. David Lesser and son
  24. Mike Thibodeaux and sons
  25. Jonathan Sherwin
  26. Kelvin Cheung
  27. Jeff Peterson and sons
  28. Robert Butts
  29. Sam Martin
  30. Ian Daniels
  31. Chrispy Harden
  32. Burl Fulenwider
  33. Garrett Eklund
  34. Colin Jackson
  35. Jake Dumaine
  36. Earl Prochnick
  37. Binh Chu
  38. Ken Miller
  39. Ryan Rowley
  40. Steve Ritter
  41. Zack Tumlinson
  42. Ragan Brock
  43. Jeff Morris
  44. Clayton Carrier
  45. Jonathan Fleming
  46. Mike Walsh
  47. David Pruitt
  48. Chris Campbell

Let me know at randywrowley@gmail.com (my preference) or 512-922-2484 if you would like to be added to this rotation. You do not have to be an FCS member to be added to this rotation.  Also let me know if you have any questions.

Categories : Duck Rotation
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Oct
09

Groaning by Randy Rowley 10/09/18 ©

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Over many years of deer and hog hunting I’ve heard a lot of sounds – soft, barely audible sounds, loud frightening sounds, crashes, growls, howls, shrieks, and cries of agony.  But I never heard a buck grunt in person until a hot Saturday afternoon deer hunt in early October.

As I driving towards a property that I hunt near the west side of Round Rock, I was greeted by a doe that ran in front of my truck and then down towards the creek.  She was soon followed by a young 8-point buck in hot pursuit. Read More→

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Oct
05

Bass Rotation

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The following is a rotation list for largemouth bass fishing on central Texas lakes within 90 miles of Austin.  We will fish either Lakes Travis, Bastrop, Fayette, Decker, Stillhouse Hollow, Belton, Lady Bird, or Austin.  I, Randy Rowley, can take up to two fishermen on my boat (three, 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.  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.

We will fish with artificial lures.  I’m willing to fish part of the time with live or dead bait, but everyone in the boat must fish with live or dead bait or none of us will, as the boat needs to be moving for artificial lures and it shouldn’t move when fishing with minnows (as movement will drown the minnows).  If one guy is trying to fish with live or dead bait and another guy is trying to fish with lures then one or the other will be unhappy.

Cost:

  • We’ll split the vehicle and boat gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas).
  • There is also often a per person park entrance fee (usually $5 each) or a boat launch fee that we will split (no more than $5 each).
  • We’ll also stop at Whataburger on the way to the lake and will probably stop for brunch on the way home.

What to Bring:

  • Freshwater fishing license
  • Rods and Reels
  • Lures
  • Headlamp/cap light (preferred) or flashlight (to help ready the boat for launch)
  • Cap/hat (optional)
  • Sunglasses (optional)
  • Sunscreen (optional)
  • Snacks (optional)
  • Drinks (optional)
  • A small ice chest to take fish home in, if we decide to keep them (there is a large ice chest on the boat to put your drinks and snacks in)

If you need to borrow an item(s) let me know before we leave.

Fishermen who want to participate must sign, if they have not already, a lifetime FCS Liability Waiver.

After a fisherman goes on a fishing trip I will move him or her to the bottom of the rotation.  If I contact a fisherman and he or she cannot go I will contact the next person on the list.

Being on this rotation is a privilege and is not a FCS membership benefit.  I can and will remove a person from the rotation for any of the following reasons (this list is not all inclusive):

  • Not fishing in a safe manner, including deliberately not following my instructions and the FCS Fishing Rules during a fishing trip.
  • Not paying your fair share of gas and park entrance fees/boat launch fees.
  • Not paying for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including losing lures that you borrowed).
  • Not helping during a fishing trip (including not helping get the boat back on the trailer).
  • Indicating that he or she will attend a fishing trip and then not showing up.
  • A pattern of being more than a few minutes late.
  • A pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Not returning my phone calls and/or emails.

The following people are on the Bass Fishing Rotation list for the 2018 season:

  1. Jeff Cates
  2. Ryan Rowley
  3. Jim McGee
  4. Lena Olivarez
  5. Chris Rowley
  6. Mark Shackleford
  7. Roland Olivarez
  8. Roy Zengerle

The following people are on the Master Bass Fishing Rotation list:

  1. Bill Smith
  2. Flint and Harrison DeShazo
  3. Jeff Cates
  4. Dustin Rhodes
  5. Ryan Rowley
  6. DaLee Trevino
  7. Jeff Peterson and son
  8. Burl Fulenwider
  9. Chris Rowley
  10. Jim McGee
  11. Rex Yokum
  12. David Lesser and sons
  13. Nathan Hoeft
  14. Roland Olivarez
  15. Lena Olivarez
  16. Mark Shackleford
  17. Roy Zengerle

Lure recommendations

Topwaters – walk the dog lures like Heddon’s Zara Spook, Zara Spook Jr., or Zara Puppy or Xcalibur’s Spittin’ Image; poppers like Heddon’s Chuggar Spook or Hula Popper, Storm’s Rattlin’ Chug Bug, or Rebel’s Pop-R; torpedo lures like 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 topwaters or plastic frogs such as Lunkerhunt Lunkers, Strike King KVD Sexy Frogs, Scum Frogs (including the Scum Frog Popper) and toad style baits such as Stanley Ribbits.

Lipless crankbaits – Rapala Rattlin’ Rapala, Xcalibur Xr75 , Strike King Red Eye Shad, hard swimbaits, etc.  Colors – bass, shad, perch, red (best in spring), and chartreuse (best in the summer). Crankbaits – Norman Little N, Strom Wiggle Wart, Strike King KVD 2.5 or Pro-Model 3XD, Rapala Shad Rap, Bandit 200, and similar.

Deep divers include Norman’s DD-22, Strike King’s 5XD and 6XD, and Bomber’s Fat Free Shad.  Same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

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

Spinnerbaits – 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.

Soft plastics – Zoom finesse worms, flukes, crawdads, lizards, or baby brushhogs, Berkley power worms, crawdads, or lizards, Senko worms, Yum Dinger worms, Big Bite worms and grubs, Grandebass rattlesnakes, and Roadrunner’s with grub tails.  Colors depend on the time of year and such things as if it’s overcast of 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.  Frogs like Ribbits, Scum Frogs, and Strike King’s KVD Sexy Frog are good in early morning in grassy areas or lily pads.  Soft swimbaits are good in the grass.

Line Recommendations

It depends on the reels that you are using.  Generally for spin cast reels you don’t want to use anything heavier than 10 lb. mono.

For baitcast and spinning reels: Topwater rod/reel – mono 12 – 15 lb. test.  The exception is fishing with frogs, in which case 20 – 50 lb. braid is the best (to cut through weeds, lily pads, etc.; braid also floats).

Crankbait/spinnerbait/jerk bait (stick bait) rod/reel – flurocarbon (preferred) or mono 12 – 15 lb. test. Soft plastics rod/reel – braid, fluro, or mono.  Fluro or mono- 12 -15 lb. test.  Braid – 20 – 50 lb. test (braid does not have the same thickness as mono of fluro (20 lb. braid = 6 lb. mono).

Let me know at randywrowley@gmail.com (my preference) or at 512-922-2484 if you would like to be added to this rotation.  You do not have to be an FCS member to be added to this rotation.

Categories : Bass Rotation
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In late March, David Chalmers, Warren Hoke and I headed to the El Portillo Ranch near Charlotte for a weekend of hog hunting.  When we arrived we were met by the outfitter, who took our money and then showed us around the ranch.

Later that afternoon I took David and Warren to their chosen stands and then headed for mine.  As I was driving down the dirt road I saw what I thought was a stick standing straight up about 50 yards ahead.  I was a little perplexed, as I didn’t remember the stick being there during our tour. Read More→

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It was a warm Saturday morning on Lake Decker, but that was the norm for early June.  My son (Ryan), his future wife (Claire), and I headed over to the hot water discharge.  I’d caught bass there on a couple trips in the late spring and thought that it would be a good place to start.

I went halfway up the discharge, shut down the main motor, and started the trolling motor.  After the wake from Bob (my boat at the time) had dissipated we saw several tiny splashes on the surface of the water.  It looked like rain, but we knew it wasn’t as we weren’t getting wet.  It took a few seconds to figure it out due to the darkness – the little splashes were caused by small minnows hitting bugs on the surface.

With great anticipation, I cast a Heddon Zara Spook Jr. to the far bank.  I walked it back to me, bracing for the strike that would surely happen, but it never came.  Ryan and Claire also threw topwater plugs with the same results.  We chunked topwaters for a good 15 minutes and had nothing to show for it.  We all eventually gave up on topwaters.  Ryan and I started to throw lipless crankbaits, while Claire covered her head with a seat cushion to escape the rain that has started to come down. Read More→

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Sep
18

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.

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Sep
18

Fallow Deer (Buck) Hunt

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Charles Batts’ friend, Richard, has a good Fallow deer buck for someone to hunt.  The hunter will stay in a house.  Simple food will be provided.  Charles will probably guide the hunter.  They can also replace the Fallow buck with a giant Sika buck.  The ranch is near Mason.  Charles will furnish a picture off of a game camera to interested parties.  The price is $1100.  Contact Charles Batts at charlesbatts@cbhardware.com or 512-750-2225 for more information.

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Sep
17

Deer Day Bow Hunts for Sale

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Ricky Ethridge (one of our long-standing duck guides) is offering a limited number of bow hunts in October, 2018 on his land near Marquez.  The price is $750 for a buck (mature bucks only) and doe.  Contact Randy Rowley for Ricky’s number at (512) 922-2484. Read More→

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My second motor boat was a 1989 18’ 4” Champion 184 bass boat with a 150 HP Mercury motor that I named Champ.

Champ proved to be a good bass boat.  I could cruise at 50 MPH with two guys in the boat and 48 MPH with three.  But Champ has his limitations.  For duck hunting he was just a transport vessel, due to his mostly white hull.  As he wasn’t camo, I couldn’t hunt out of him like I could from Bob, my previous camo boat.  We’d go to where we were going to hunt, unload our gear, move him 75 or so yards away and cover him with a camo tarp. Read More→

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Aug
20

New Cabelas Bird belt for sale

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Binh Chu has a new Cabela’s bird (dove/upland bird) belt for sale, size medium.  He paid $30.  Asking price is $20.  Contact Binh at binh_chu@yahoo.com or 512-537-4758. Read More→

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Aug
01

Thwarted! by Randy Rowley 8/1/18 ©

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It was with considerable anticipation that Roy Brigman and I boarded Dannie Golden’s boat on Lake Ray Roberts on August the 15th for a morning of bass fishing.  Dannie is the owner of Get Bit Guide Service and has a great reputation.  We were booked to fish with Dannie on March the 9th but postponed out trip due to a high chance of projected thunderstorms.  Two days before our trip was to have happened one of Dannie’s clients caught a 15.18 lb. bass, setting a new lake record.  Roy and I were hoping to get into some big bass. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Jun
25

Hardcastles – Germany 2018

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Hello.

I wanted to share upcoming trip Sabrina and I are taking and ask for your support.  We are excited to share our hearts and God’s calling in this request.  We want to ask for PARTNERS to make this summer’s trip to serve in the Frankfurt outreach to the refugees successful on every level.  We know that God has called some to GO, and some to SEND and PRAY.  We are willing to Go.
Please reference the attached PDF guide.  There is lots of information linked to this guide, should you be interested to follow the links and watch/ read.  I would love to share in person, but for those remote I think email is our only option at this point in the game.  Please let me know if you would like to schedule a face to face or call.

Read More→

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Jun
12

Hunting Safety at Home and Beyond

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Jun
04

PSE Compound Bow for sale

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May
28

2002 Black Chevy Impala For Sale

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See https://thefederalist.com/2018/05/03/springfield-armory-severs-ties-dicks-sporting-goods-gun-control-lobbying/.

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Apr
23

Yeti and the 2nd Amendment

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Yeti Coolers has severed ties with the NRA Foundation and dropped its sponsorship of Friends of the NRA banquets around the country.  Many pro-2nd Amendment groups consider Yeti giving the Bird to hunters.  See http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2018/04/daniel-zimmerman/yeti-coolers-drops-nra-affiliation-rtic-coolers-steps-right-in/.

However, Yeti has a different take on how this went down.  See http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/24/yeti-calls-nra-claims-inaccurate-says-it-has-unwavering-belief-in-second-amendment.html.

This may be, as Cool Hand Luke famously stated, a failure to communicate.  At the very least, with several businesses pulling the plug on the NRA, it is bad timing on Yeti’s part.

 

 

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On a chilly Saturday morning in April, Roland Olivarez and I found that we had Lake Pflugerville to ourselves for our bass fishing trip.  But, it wasn’t the cold that was keeping other fishermen, who are usually kayakers, away; it was undoubtedly the projected 15 – 25 MPH winds with gusts up to 30.

Motor boats are allowed on the lake, but are only allowed to use their trolling motors.  As I had sold my gas motor for parts a few weeks before this trip after a piston went bad, a trolling motor was all that I had.  I had bought a new 12-volt deep cycle battery shortly before this trip and had hooked it up to a sister battery to power the trolling motor.  I felt confident that my boat was up to the task of handling the projected winds. Read More→

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This is a website that shows the depths of most fishing spots.  It loads fast and they have a mobile app.  See http://www.gpsnauticalcharts.com/main/us/us_tx_fishing_maps-texas-fishing-maps-fishing-maps-folio.html.  Note: Click “i-Boating” instead of “i-boating US”, as the latter’s link is broken.

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Approves Changes to Fishing Regulations for 2018-19 Read More→

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On a hot and partly cloudy Monday in June, five fishermen hopped in guide Jay Garrett’s boat on Lake Belton for an afternoon of hybrid bass catching.  After several years of these annual trips I started called them catching trips instead of fishing trips, as we usually engaged in the former.

We ran across to the dam side of the lake and slipped into a cove.  We knew that Jay had found the right spot, as we soon spotted a large school of shad right by the bank.

Jay anchored his boat near the shad, baited a hook with a live shad that he had previously caught, and handed me the rod.  I went and set it as per his instructions – release the bail and pull the mono fishing line from the reel to the first rod guide six times.  As I went to get another rod from Jay, I heard an unmistakable sound – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!  A fish had hit the first shad!  My wife (Chris Rowley) promptly grabbed the rod and started fighting the fish. Read More→

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On an overcast but mild Monday in February, two friends, Jim McGee and Roland Oliverez, and I descended on Lake Decker, just east of Austin, for a morning of bass fishing in Champ, my boat. The weather forecast called for 10 – 20 MPH south winds, but when we got there it was calm, so I decided to head along the NE bank using my foot-controlled trolling motor. A piston in the gasoline motor on my boat had stopped working the previous July and, rather than rebuild a 21-year old engine, I sold it for parts. That left the trolling motor and two paddles as our means of propulsion.

Two hours later, and having thrown every type of bait we could think of without success, we decided to head back the way that we had come. The south wind had picked up and we were headed right into it. So I turned my trolling motor up to half power. As we progressed, the wind became stronger, causing me to continue to increase power to the trolling motor. Read More→

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Feb
07

Samson Society Men’s Group

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Do you have a group of men you can be ‘rot gut honest‘ about your struggles and needs?  All men are fighting against sin in their lives, and many are losing because they don’t have “Traveling Partners” to share the journey, gain encouragement, and biblical support.  Samson Society is a men’s group that supports men in their Christian discipleship and fight against sin, such as isolation, depression, anger, marital issues, sexual temptations and failures, substance abuse, online gaming, and more.  There are two Samson groups in Austin.  One meets at FM 620 & FM 2222 on Thursday nights and the other meets at Wells Branch (North Austin/RR) on Tuesday nights.  If you want to learn more, call FCS member, Mike Hardcastle at 512-423-8710 or visit their website at:  https://sites.google.com/site/samsonnorthaustin/home.

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Jan
30

Patched by Randy Rowley 1/30/18 ©

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When we were getting ready to leave for our early January self-guided/chartered coastal Blast and Cast (duck hunt and bay fishing trip) at Port O’Connor, Daryl Shipper asked me if he could borrow my spare pair of waders, which were made from neoprene.  Daryl had a pair of waders with him, but they weren’t made of neoprene and he knew that the water would probably be cold, due to recent cold fronts.  I said “sure” and we threw them in my truck with the rest of our stuff.  I wasn’t concerned about them because they had worked fine the last time that I had used them.  But that was about a year prior to this trip. Read More→

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Dec
31

1/1/18 State of the Club Report

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As every sportsman and shooter knows, hunting, fishing and shooting can be hazardous to our health. Almost all of us have experienced scratches, cuts, scrapes, punctures, bruises and burns while participating in our favorite pastimes. Fortunately, fewer of us have broken bones or experienced other injuries that required ER visits while doing what we love. And even fewer of us have almost met our maker while pursuing our passions. Perhaps it’s because I hunt, fish and shoot more often than most sportsmen do or perhaps I’m just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I’ve experienced what could have resulted in serious injuries or death on more than my fair share of occasions. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Nov
02

Duck Hunt ?’s

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General
What are the appropriate stamps needed?  Texas Migratory Bird Stamp ($7) and Federal Duck Stamp ($27).  Both are available at Academy, Wal-Mart, etc.
Is the ammo steel shot?  Do you need specific chokes rated for steel or do chokes usually handle steel shot without issue?  Yes, non-lead (toxic) shot is required.  You can buy chokes that are designed for steel shot or use regular ones.  If you do the latter, know that your choke will behave as a tighter choke (e.g., improved cylinder will behave as a modified).
I wear a size medium shirt (and a 40L suit), would you still suggest large waders?  I suggest that you get boot-foot waders (with a built in boot) rather than stockingfoot waders that requires a shoe be worn over the stockingfoot, as your feet will get a lot colder with stockingfoot waders, plus it’s hard to find stockingfoot waders in camo.  Boot-foot waders are sized by shoe size; however, you can get them in regular and stout.  For boot-foot waders either get breathable or neoprene.  I wear my breathable ones when it’s not as cold.  I wear my neoprene ones when it’s colder.  Wearing neoprene waders when it’s not cold outside will result in you being too warm and sweating a lot.  So if you only buy one pair of waders get breathable ones, as you can always put more clothes under them.  Here is a pair that Academy sells – https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/magellan-outdoors-mens-tredlite-400-breathable-wader#repChildCatid=4783074.  Be aware that they only have 400 grams of Thinsulate in the boots, so you might need to wear two pairs of hunting socks if it’s cold.  Regarding socks, either get a liner sock that wicks away sweat and cover it with a wool or similar sock or get one like the Ingenious that is a liner sock on the inner wall and wool/nylow/Olefin/Lycra Spandex sock on the outer wall.  (They’re more than 50% off right now at Cabelas.)
In terms of camo hunting clothes, besides a vest and hat, are you suggesting camo pants and camo shirt and/or camo sweatshirt as well? Do jeans and a normal shirt/sweatshirt not work?  Whatever you are wearing that the ducks can see needs to be camo or the game is over.  Here is what I typically wear – http://fcs-texas.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/121915_Coastal-duck-hunt_1.jpg.  Here are more pictures – http://fcs-texas.org/photo-gallery/hunts-duck/ (some of the guys are wearing jeans or shorts but those pictures were taken after the hunts).  I wear wading pants and/or sweats under my waders.  You can wear jeans, but you’ll need ankle gaiters to keep them from rolling up on you.
I don’t have a camo gun (I have a wood stock, black alloy frame).  Is that an issue, or is a specific camo-patterned shotgun required for duck hunting?  Camo is best, but I hunted with a wood stocked/matte barreled shotgun for years with no issues (although if you do it for long in salt water you’ll probably have to get it re-matted).  Fresh water is not nearly as hard on guns as salt water is.
Do I need a sling for my shotgun or a waterproof floating gun case? A sling is very helpful for carrying your gun on walk-in hunts, which are usually at least a mile one-way. You’ll be carrying a bucket/stool, gun, blind bag/vest, and decoys, so the more things that you can sling over your shoulder the better. You can get the hardware at McBride’s and they’ll install it for you. You can get the sling cheaper elsewhere. You won’t need a floating case, as we won’t be going on my boat. A sling with a neoprene or nylon outer shell, such as a Claw or a Yukon are designed to keep your gun from slipping off your shoulder.
How many ducks do hunters (e.g. beginner like me) usually get (and what is the limit)?  As we usually can’t tell who shot which duck we simply take the ducks harvested and divide them by the number of hunters.  So, if six hunters kill 24 ducks everyone will bring home four.  The limit is six ducks/hunter/day.  Specific species have specific limits.  For example redheads have a two duck per day limit per hunter.  The guide will keep track of which species have been killed and will let the group know how many of each species can still be shot.
Guided hunts
How much do guided duck hunts cost, typically and how long do they last (what hours/are they overnight trips)?  $125 for the guides that we have been using the last two seasons, not including tip (usually 15 – 20%).  They’re morning hunts.  We usually stay in a motel (double occupancy) the night before (about $50).
How much ammo does one need to bring?  No more than three boxes for ducks.
Is there someone in FCS you could point me to as a good hunting buddy, given that I’m a beginner?  Or is that not necessary for this hunt?  Yes, the hunt leader or I will team you up with someone.  For example if you hunt with Rayce Jenkins you’ll be hunting from a pit blind (a hole dug in the ground with a metal box put in it).  You’d be shoulder to shoulder with other hunters.  They’d tell you when to shoot.  With Ricky Ethridge we sit on buckets/stools and spread out a lot more.
Self-guided hunts

What is the duck hunt rotation?  I let the guys on the rotation know when I’m going to hunt next and ask who can go.  I then look at the list and the first three guys on the list who responded get to go (I can only fit three guys in my truck; plus you really don’t want a bigger party than that as the party will be too hard to hide).  For example, if five guys say that they can go on 11/18/17 I’ll then take the first three who are listed on the rotation.  After the hunt they go to the bottom of the rotation.

Do I need a sling for my shotgun or a waterproof floating gun case?  A sling is very helpful for carrying your gun on walk-in hunts, which are usually at least a mile one-way.  You’ll be carrying a bucket/stool, gun, blind bag/vest, and decoys, so the more things that you can sling over your shoulder the better.  You can get the hardware at McBride’s and they’ll install it for you.  You can get the sling cheaper elsewhere.  You won’t need a floating case, as we won’t be going on my boat.

For more information, see my Duck Hunt Rotation web page.  It has lots of information, including which shells to buys, which chokes to use, etc.
Categories : Duck Hunt ?'s, Events
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On a weekend in mid-March my middle daughter Robin and I went on a hog hunt with about eight other hunters on the Pierce Ranch near El Campo. On the first afternoon, the guide put Robin and me in a box blind for two. The blind was about 100 yards from a feeder. We didn’t see any hogs on that first hunt, but were instead treated to a display that neither of us would ever forget. Read More→

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Jul
07

Dominance by Randy Rowley 7/7/17 ©

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It was a cold and sunny December afternoon for a meat deer hunt on the Hymeadow Ranch near Lampasas. Robin, my middle daughter, and I lay on our bellies on the edge of a 9-acre field. We decided not to hunt the natural blind, as the feeder was about 300 yards east of it. Instead, we hunted south of the feeder, which put us 100 yards closer to the feeder.

Within a few minutes a couple does came out, but I had already killed two antlerless deer (a doe and a button buck), so I passed on them hoping that I’d get a shot at a decent spike. Read More→

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It was a crisp and clear Saturday in early May, a perfect day to go bass fishing. My son, Ryan, my grandson, Hunter, and I launched at Mansfield Dam on Lake Travis and headed to Commodore’s Point Cove on the northwest side of the boat launch. We arrived at the northward point and I shut Champ, my boat, off and engaged the trolling motor.

About the 15th cast with my Whopper Plopper (a hard body top water propeller bait) I hooked a bass and quickly brought him in. He didn’t put up much of a fight, as he was only around 12 inches. After another 15 or so casts with no hits, I switched to a square bill crankbait. I tried slow retrieves, medium retrieves, fast retrieves, and stop and go retrieves, all to no avail. Then I tried a lipless crankbait, then a spinnerbait, then a deep-diving crankbait, then a jointed swimbait, then a Roadrunner, then a creature bait, and finally a worm. All generated the same amount on non-interest. Read More→

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May
08

Feral Monkeys Near Dilley, Texas

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See http://blog.wildlifejournalist.com/2017/05/feral-monkeys-in-texas-photo-and-more/.

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Apr
12

The Trials of Fishing

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See https://www.youtube.com/embed/tSiAnJBGc7w?wmode=transparent&fs=1&hl=en&modestbranding=1&iv_load_policy=3&showsearch=0&rel=0&theme=dark&hd=1&blocked=true.

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See http://saladovillagevoice.com/mountain-lion-kill-spotted-downtown-salado/.

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Usually when my friends and I hunt ducks down at the Texas coast we hunt in the marsh between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, off Wilson’s Cut.  The area is the wintering grounds for 80% of the one million redhead North American population.  Pintail, widgeon, scaup (blue bill), and a few other species also call it home.  Redheads are easy to decoy and are not picky about what your spread looks like.  It is not uncommon for redheads to land among our decoys as we set them out in the afternoon or pick them up after a morning hunt. Read More→

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Feb
13

Help! by Randy Rowley 2/10/17 ©

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For central Texas in early December, it was cold.  The thermometer in Ryan’s (my son) truck said 31 degrees, which made this duck hunt the first sub-freezing hunt of the season.  We launched at Friendship Park on Granger Lake at dark thirty and proceeded west to the Sore Finger Wildlife Management Area and our usual cove.

Unbeknownst to us, our frequent hunting partner, Mr. Murphy, joined us yet again.  Ken Miller started the fun by losing his balance while setting out decoys and falling into the water up to his neck.  He crammed the butt stock of his unloaded shotgun into the muddy bottom and got up quickly – so quickly in fact that the rest of us didn’t know that he had gone down.  Some water went down the front of his neckline and up his left sleeve, but not much. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Jan
31

Access to a Creek

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The State of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sent a letter to a home/landowner asking for permission to access a creek on his property to document the decline in a certain species of unheard of frogs. 

The property owners’ response in the second letter is EPIC.

Original Letter from Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife: Read More→

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Event Attendance Comparison Read More→

Categories : Columns
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Why not to go duck hunting or fishing when high winds are expected – http://www.click2houston.com/news/coast-guard-searching-for-3-missing-houston-area-hunters-near-corpus-christi-bay

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Jan
01

1/1/17 State of the Club Report

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2016 was a fair to good year for the club. Highlights include: Read More→

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Nov
14

Steel vs. Lead Shot by Randy Rowley

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A few years ago I went on a dove hunt at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.  One of their rules was that you had to hunt with non-lead shot.  I bought three boxes of 12 gauge steel dove shot (7 shot) but we didn’t see or shoot at many dove that day. Read More→

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On a Monday morning in early September, Rex Yokum and I met at the Decker Lake boat ramp. After we launched, we slowly proceeded to the north arm of the lake. Our crawling speed wasn’t due to the darkness. No, it was due to a far worse enemy – heavy fog! Fortunately, Champ’s (my boat) GPS was working just fine and we were soon fishing the point across from the dam.

In no time, Rex had a strong hit on a worm, but missed the fish. Then it became the fishing equivalent of silence. There were no splashes on top and I didn’t get even a bump on my dog walker or frog. Rex also didn’t generate any interest for his Whopper Plopper. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Aug
07

Hide by Randy Rowley 8/7/16 ©

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On a bright and sunny day in March, eight hunters and four spectators converged at the Schumann Brothers Outdoors property near Dimebox for a quail, chukar, and pheasant hunt.  The group that I hunted with opted to go after pheasants first.  We drove to the field and waited for a few minutes while the guide positioned the birds.

The cover was a mixture of open country and thick mesquites, oaks, cedars, and scrub brush.  In less than five minutes, we had two birds in the bag.  The dog, a brittany spaniel named Buddy ran through the scrub brush and into an open area that had a few clumps of high grass the size of basketballs.  I thought to myself, “There can’t be any birds there!”  Then all of a sudden, he came to point. Read More→

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On 3/15/16, I read an article in the online version of Field & Stream (F&S) called How I Became a Gun Owner, by Tom McHale.  The author was neutral on gun issues until the unthinkable happened – early one Saturday morning his business partner was shot 11 times for no reason at all by two punks and left for dead.  Now Mr. McHale is a fierce advocate of gun rights and a shooting expert.  The article was as harrowing as it was well written. Read More→

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Feb
21

Wild Game Processing

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Kevin Wall recommends Smokey Denmark’s.  The owner attends Hyde Park Baptist Church.  He processes hogs, as well as javelina, deer, and exoits.  Only Hudson’s and him process hogs in the Austin area.  Your game must be quartered and on ice.

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Feb
21

Gun Selling Service

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Randy Rowley offers a service to sell guns on gunbroker.  He’ll take pictures of the gun, create the ad, and post it.  After it sells he’ll package it and ship it to the buyers FFL dealer.  He charges 10% of the selling price for this service.  This fee does not include gunbroker ad fees, packaging costs, and mailing costs.  He has sold a $2,500 shotgun and a $350 rifle (for two separate customers) successfully on gunbroker.

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Feb
19

Remington Sweepstakes

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Remington is turning 200 years old in 2016. To celebrate, corporate is having a massive sweepstakes, and giving away a TON of guns every month.

If you’re interested, see the link below, for full rules and eligibility. Pass on to your friends and family that may be interested. Good luck!

http://200sweepstakes.remington.com/rules

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In late November, five hunters went on a self-guided duck hunt in the marsh between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas off of Wilson’s Cut. The water was the highest that we had seen it – there was no dry ground on “our” island, that borders the Cut.

We limited out on redheads on Friday afternoon in short order and Burl Fulenwider also bagged a hen widgeon. We ended up with 11 ducks bagged. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Bible verse of the day

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

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