Archive for Around the Campfire

Sep
22

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.

All classified ads will have a three-month retention date from the original date of posting.  All ads three months old and older will be deleted unless Bruce Crockett is contacted by the ad lister requesting a date extension.  Bruce will set a new date stamp for the relisted ad, which will extend the listing for three additional months.  The ad can be relisted as many times as the lister desires, as long as the lister contacts Bruce before the listing expires.  Contact Bruce at bmc55@att.net if you wish to extend or add a classified ad.

This policy will reduce limited storage space and remove ads where the item(s) have already been sold, donated given away, or retained.

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I have been having problems with two of my game cameras not taking pictures.  At first, I thought that it was the SD cards so I bought two new ones and the cameras still were not working.  I replaced the batteries and still didn’t have results for one of the cameras, so I figured that it was toast (it’s about four years old).  So, I bought another one. Read More→

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Sep
10

Choosing a Deer and Hog Rifle Scope by Randy Rowley

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When I first started to hunt deer (back in 1976), hunters considered rifle scopes as optional equipment.  There was even a segment of hunting society that considered scopes as unsporting, unmanly, and/or cheating.  Since that time, scopes have become prominent, and hunters now regard them as standard hunting equipment.

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Sep
06

Guns and Accessories for Sale

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Categories : Classified Ads
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I’ll be happy to provide links regarding the facts in my column if requested. Read More→

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Feb
10

Corvette for Sale

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Jan
25

1/25/20 State of the Club Report

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I recommend the following minimum gear for deer hunting backpacks (in order of importance): Read More→

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On a cool and overcast Saturday in mid-January, three friends and I headed to the marsh between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas for a weekend of duck hunting.  We made it to our launch point at Wilson’s Cut a little after sunrise.

The blasts of several shotguns going off in the distance greeted us as we unloaded the kayaks (yaks) from Greg Souther’s trailer.  Mark Dillow brought two yaks – one for himself and one for Kevin Wall, Greg brought one, and I used one that Mark rented one for me at a Corpus Christi yak shop on our way down. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Jul
04

Snarled by Randy Rowley 7/4/19 ©

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On a hot and muggy morning in late June, Ryan (my son) and I launched at the Marker 37 Marina in Corpus Christi and headed over to the Packery Channel south jetty.  We found a spot devoid of jetty fishermen, put on my Minn Kota Terrova Riptide’s ipilot anchor lock, and started to offer up shrimp, cut bait, and artificial lures.

We caught a few croakers and perch, but no game fish.  We grew tired of losing our shrimp and headed over to the north side of the 361 bridge, where there is a large hole (the water drops from around 7 to 34 feet).  I positioned the boat equal distance between the shore fishermen, put on my ipilot’s anchor lock, and started to fish. Read More→

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On a Saturday in mid-September my SUV croaked about 100 feet from a clinic in East Austin.  Fortunately I was able to push it into the parking lot.  The next afternoon I waited on a wrecker to come get my SUV.  As I waited, I listened to shotguns blasting in the distance.  After the wrecker left I drove over and found the source of the noise.  On Exchange Blvd. I saw seven parked vehicles and at least 20 hunters in a field who were shooting at dove.

When I got home I called the police to report people hunting in the city limits.  However, the officer informed me that Exchange Blvd. was the city limit.  The field (which was on the west side of the street) was outside of the city limits.  I verified this information with a Travis County sheriff’s deputy, who informed me that the Hardin Corporation owned the field and they allowed people to hunt there without written permission. Read More→

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On a warm weekend in late March, four friends and I headed to the Hill Country Hog Ranch near Sabinal for a weekend of hunting hogs with sticks and strings, as guns were prohibited.

The ranch had 3300 acres, but its 35 acre rectangular shaped hog pen is what interested us.  The owner kept around 100 hogs in the pen.  Each side had a couple gates that hogs could push open with their snouts, but they would spring shut when they were no long pushing on them; therefore, hogs could get in but couldn’t get out. Read More→

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May
29

Found by Randy Rowley 5/29/19 ©

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On a Friday afternoon in mid-April seven friends and I met Justin Cooper, the owner of Laguna Adventures, at the Marker 37 Marina in Corpus Christi.  Justin owns the Laguna Madre cabin #2 that we were going to stay on.  After settling up with him and getting the GPS coordinates for the cabin we headed to our home away from home.

After we arrived we stowed our non-fishing gear.  We then headed towards The Boat Hole.  We mostly fished with live shrimp, but tried some artificial lures as well.  Daryl Shipper anchored with his iPilot a couple hundred yards from shore.  I elected to try to get as close to the short rock wall as I could.  This proved easier said than done, as we kept running aground. Read More→

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May
17

Blinded by Randy Rowley 5/17/19 ©

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On an overcast and drizzly day on the second Saturday in September, three friends and I headed to Joel Kirby’s A-OK Ranch near Lometa in Central Texas for a blast and cast (blasting at dove and casting at bass).

The dove were sporadic in the mesquite trees, as they often are in that part of Texas.  Kevin Wall led the way with nine dove, I bagged seven, Mark Dillow bagged two, and Ken Miller bagged one.

After the hunt, we cleaned our dove and put them on ice.  We then headed to Joel’s spring-fed stock tank (pond).  We started off throwing top-water lures and never switched to anything else.

I had one bass hit my Heddon Zara Spook Junior in baby bass color several times, as I was dog walking it back to the shore.  He hit it from behind, in front, below, and he jumped out of the water a couple times and hit it from above.  I concluded that he was the most inept bass that I had ever seen. Read More→

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On the third Saturday in November Ron Denison picked me up for his first deer hunt.  We proceeded to a ranch near Hamilton Pool that Ron had been invited to hunt by the landowner.  By 5:45 AM we were settled in a double deer blind.

About four minutes before legal shooting time a deer suddenly snorted at us to our left.  This was surprising because there was no wind, we weren’t making any noise, and we were wearing full camo including mesh facemasks.  We found two does in our binoculars, one bigger than the other.  One or both continued to snort at us intermittently, about 25 yards away in the woods.   It soon became legal shooting time and I had a clear shot at the bigger doe.

But I had a dilemma.  She was on my side of the blind but our primary mission was to get Ron a deer.  In order for Ron to shoot he would have to lean over me, which would probably make a lot of noise.  As I mulled over what to do the deer walked off.

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Dec
31

1/1/19 State of the Club Report

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On the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving I put my safety harness, a light jacket, and my backpack on and walked towards the west side ladder stand on a small property near Round Rock.  As I neared the creek a doe ran out, followed shortly by a decent sized eight point buck.

He was in range but I had three problems.  For starters my binoculars were in my backpack.  I couldn’t tell if he was a legal deer for the county that I was hunting (Williamson), which requires a minimum 13” inside spread.  Secondly my shotgun was unloaded.  Thirdly, he was outside of shotgun range.  I walked slowly up to a big tree that was 10 yards away and tried to use it to hide my movements.  As the buck watched me, I slowly leaned my shotgun against the tree and started to slowly take my backpack off of my back. Read More→

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Oct
09

Groaning by Randy Rowley 10/09/18 ©

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Over many years of hunting I’ve heard a lot of sounds – soft, barely audible sounds, loud frightening sounds, crashes, growls, howls, shrieks, and cries of agony.  On a hot Saturday afternoon deer hunt in early October I heard a sound that I had never heard before.

As I driving towards the west side stand on a property that I hunt outside 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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In late March, two friends 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 Chalmers and Warren Hoke to their chosen stands and then headed to 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 during a couple late spring trips 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 my boat had dissipated we saw several tiny splashes on the surface of the water.  It looked like rain, but we knew it wasn’t raining 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. Read More→

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My second motor boat was a 1989 18’ 4” Champion 184 fiberglass bass boat with a 150 HP Mercury motor.  It proved to be a good bass boat.  It could cruise at 50 MPH with two guys in the boat and 48 MPH with three.  But it had limitations.  For duck hunting it was just a transport vessel, due to its mostly white hull.  As it wasn’t camo, I couldn’t hunt out of it like I could from my previous camo aluminum v-hull boat.  With my bass boat, we’d go to where we were going to hunt, unload our gear, move my boat 75 or so yards away, and cover it with a camo tarp. 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 for a half day, but postponed out trip due to a high chance of thunderstorms.  On March the 7th one of Dannie’s clients caught a 15.18 lb. bass, setting a new lake record.  Roy and I knew that we probably wouldn’t catch bass anywhere near that large, as the spawn was long past, but we were hoping to get into some decent sized bass. Read More→

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Jun
12

Hunting Safety at Home and Beyond

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Categories : Safety Tips
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On a chilly Saturday in April, Roland Olivarez and I arrived at Lake Pflugerville for a morning of bass fishing.  We found that we had the lake to ourselves.  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 MPH.

Motorboats are allowed on the lake, but they cannot use their gas motors.  But I couldn’t have broken that rule if I had wanted to, as I had sold my gas motor for parts shortly before this trip (after a piston went bad).  That left my 74 lbs. thrust trolling motor and two paddles for propulsion.

Two months before this trip, the trolling motor and paddles weren’t up to the task on a windy day on Lake Decker.  I bought a new 12-volt deep cycle battery shortly before this trip to power the trolling motor, along with an existing one-year-old 12-volt deep cycle battery.  I felt confident that my trolling motor was now up to the task of handling the projected winds. 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, 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 and I descended on Lake Decker (aka Walter E. Long), just east of Austin, for a morning of bass fishing from my boat. We launched at the only boat ramp on the lake, in Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. 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 Northeast 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 74 lb. thrust 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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Jan
30

Patched by Randy Rowley 1/30/18 ©

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When we were getting ready to leave for an early January 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 hadn’t leaked the last time that I had used them 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 your 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 from 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 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 a few occasions. Read More→

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On the second weekend in March, my middle daughter, Robin, and I went on a hog hunt with eight friends 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 God instead treated us to a display that neither of us would soon forget. Read More→

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Jul
07

Dominance by Randy Rowley 7/7/17 ©

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It was a cold yet 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 it.

Within a few minutes a couple of does came out, but I had already killed two antlerless deer (a doe and a button buck that I mistook for a doe), 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 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, medium, fast, 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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Usually when my friends and I hunt ducks down at the Texas coast we hunt on an island between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, off Wilson’s Cut.  We have had many successful hunts off Wilson’s Cut, easily bagging our limits of redheads,who winter along the Texas coast.  However, as the daily limit of redheads is two and well over 95% of the ducks that we see and shoot are redheads, it can lead to some frustration as well.  Several times as the first flock comes in to our dekes, my shotgun has gone “bang, bang” and two redheads have gone “splash, splash” and I was done for the day. 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 Lake Granger and proceeded west to our usual cove in the Sore Finger Wildlife Management Area.

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→

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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→

Categories : Columns
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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 Labor Day morning, Rex Yokum and I met at the Lake Decker boat ramp east of Austin. 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, the GPS on my boat 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’s Whopper Plopper (a top water bait with a soft, pliable rotating tail on the harness) also didn’t generate any interest. Read More→

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Aug
07

Hide by Randy Rowley 8/7/16 ©

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On a bright and sunny day in early March, eight hunters, including me, and four spectators converged at the Mike Schumann’s ranch near Dime Box 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 a bird there!”  Then all of a sudden, he came to point. Read More→

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Categories : Columns
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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.

Categories : Articles
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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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In late November, four friends and I went on a blast and cast (duck hunt and bay fishing trip) near Port Aransas.  We hunted in the marsh between Port Aransas and Corpus Christi off of Wilson’s Cut. The water was the highest that we had seen it – there was no dry ground on “our” island, which 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→

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Jan
01

1/1/16 State of the Club

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2015 was another fantastic year for the club! Highlights include: Read More→

Categories : Columns
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Oct
10

Move On by Randy Rowley 10/10/15 ©

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Movement while bird hunting is one of the keys to success. This is not just true for quail, pheasant, and chucker hunters, who are almost constantly on the move – it’s true for dove and duck hunters as well.

At a September dove hunt on the Evans Ranch near San Saba, I started out at the edge of a small group of oak trees. Twenty-five yards in front of me was a small group of Texas gum elastic trees. When the “start hunting” shot went off, and the birds flushed out from the trees, I picked up three birds in the initial melee. But, I quickly ran into problems. When birds would fly over the oaks or Texas gum elastic tree groves, they had already been shot at, often by several hunters, so they were flying at Warp 9. By the time that I got my gun to my shoulder they were over one grove or the other and I wouldn’t have time to loose any shots. It was an exercise in futility. I then moved 25 yards to my right and started smacking birds as they were flying over the trees. Read More→

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Oct
09

Wading In by Randy Rowley 10/9/15 ©

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One of the greatest dangers in pursuing ducks is walking around in the water at night, wearing only a headlamp to help you spot hazards. Besides a myriad of stumps, branches, rocks, trash, and other things to trip on, the bottom of a lake, river, or pond is often uneven and sometimes has holes and drop offs. This can be quite hazardous when wearing waders, which are an absolute necessity to keep one dry and warm. (The only time they are not needed is during early teal season in September.) If a hunter steps into a large hole, he can suddenly be under water with his waders quickly filling up. Waders that are even partially full of water make wading difficult and swimming or treading water a real challenge.

In mid-November, my family and I launched at Owl Creek Park on Lake Belton and headed up the Creek. I had only been on those waters once before and that was in day light. Now it was pitch black and things looked very different. We were able to spot most of the stumps with my spotlight but staying in the winding creek channel was another matter. As the waters narrowed, my prop started to vibrate from hitting the bottom. This was shortly followed by my boat running aground. Read More→

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Finding Jesus in unexpected places…

The Bible is about Jesus Christ. If we study carefully we can find Him on every page – not just in the New Testament, but also in the Old Testament. “Here I am,” our Lord said, “it is written about me in the scroll” (Hebrews 10:7).

One place we find Jesus in the Old Testament is in “type”. A type is an example or illustration that points to a person or an event. Finding Jesus hidden in type is a most exciting and rewarding study. As it says in Proverbs 25:2: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”

So let’s study Noah’s Ark as a type of Christ and see what we discover. Read More→

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Aug
07

Complacency by Randy Rowley 8/7/15

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At around 7:15 AM on a Friday morning in mid-January, seven friends and I hit the road to Port Aransas for a weekend duck hunt.  The fun began just after we stopped for breakfast at the McDonald’s on RR 620 near Hwy 183 in Austin.  My truck was in the lead.  After getting breakfast in the drive-through, I pulled over as far as I could get to the right at the entrance of the parking lot and waited for the other guys to get their food.

I had made this particular right turn many times, as McDonald’s was a frequent stop on my way to duck hunt local lakes, so I thought nothing of it.  But my previous right turns had been made around 3:00 AM, when there was no one on 620.  Now morning rush hour traffic confronted me.

I spotted an opening big enough to fit my truck and my boat and went for it.  I made the turn and then gunned it.  But I didn’t account for my rig being so close to the curb.  At the same time that I gunned my engine, my boat trailer tire hit the curb.  This caused the trailer tire to jump up and centripetal force caused the trailer to roll to the left.   I saw movement in my rear-view mirror, and much to my surprise, witnessed my boat and trailer rolling over. Read More→

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Jul
23

Dunked! by Randy Rowley 7/23/15 ©

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In late August, my wife, Chris, my youngest daughter, Deanna, Tim Price, and me were fishing with live shrimp in Aransas Bay from Tim’s V-hulled boat. We were mainly catching hardhead catfish so we decided to see if we could do better closer to Mud Island. Tim started to head into the two foot tall waves but he wasn’t able to get his boat onto plane. Having no choice but to press on, he reached deeper water and then turned towards the island.

Suddenly a wave crashed over the bow (the forward part of the boat), swamping the front of the boat. Tim tried putting the engine in neutral but that didn’t help. He then put the engine back into forward, gunned it and tried to steer back into the waves, but that just made the bow dive under the water like a submarine. In the blink of an eye, the boat rolled to the right and we capsized. Read More→

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Bible verse of the day

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

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

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