Archive for Events

The following is a rotation list for self-guided inland duck hunts on central Texas lakes, predominantly within 90 miles of Austin.  We will hunt either Lakes Granger, Stillhouse Hollow, Belton, or Somerville in their Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).  If none of the above lakes are producing ducks we might hunt ducks further away.

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

All four lakes are administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CoE).  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).

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.  You’ll need a TPWD Public Hunting Permit if we hunt in the TPWD day hunt area.  If we hunt in the undeveloped area (the 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 CoE Day Hunt Area does not require a TPWD Public Hunting Permit, although we can only hunt from the shore in that area (we can’t hunt from my boat).  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.

We also might hunt a pond 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.

How the Rotation WorksHunters who want to participate must sign, if they have not already, a lifetime FCS Liability WaiverYou do not have to be an FCS member to be added to this rotation; however, the Event Hierarchy (pecking order) applies.  Whenever I’m about to lead a self-guided duck hunting trip I’ll send an email to the people on the rotation.  I’ll say something like, “On Saturday, XX/XX/XX, I’ll lead a self-guided duck hunting trip on Lake Belton (for example).  Let me know if you’re interested in going before XX/XX/XX.  In addition to the rotation, the Event Hierarchy (pecking order) applies to events where we have a limit on the number of people that we can take.”

The following people are on the Duck Hunting Rotation list for the 20XX season (this is fictional):

  1. Tim
  2. Ron
  3. Bob
  4. Roy
  5. Jim
  6. Joe

So, let’s say that Tim, Ron, Roy, and Joe all want to go on the Belton trip.  As my boat can only bear the weight of four hunters (counting myself) and it only have spots for four hunters to shoot, I’ll only take three of them.  In this case, Tim, Ron, and Roy would get to go, as they are above Joe in the rotation.  After a hunter goes on one of my self-guided duck hunting trips I move him or her to the bottom of the rotation.  So, after the Belton trip, the rotation would be revised to the below.

Whenever a hunter asks to join the rotation I start him or her at the bottom of the list.  I want to stress that if someone who is on the rotation says no, or doesn’t respond, to an offer to go on a trip he or she will never drop in the rotation.  Nor can anyone leapfrog him or her in the rotation.  The only exceptions to the rotation are the boat captain (me) always gets to go on trips where we’ll bring my boat and the host (Chris Campbell) will always get to go on trips where we hunt the farm pond.  Just as rotating ensures that everyone on a volleyball team has an opportunity to serve and play by the net, rotating the event lists in this manner ensures that everyone eventually will be near the top of the list.

  1. Bob
  2. Jim
  3. Joe
  4. Tim
  5. Ron
  6. Roy

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).
  • If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • 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 will probably stop for second breakfast or brunch on the way home.

What to Bring:

  • Hunting license, state migratory bird stamp, federal duck stamp, and possibly the annual public hunting permit (if we’re hunting Granger or the TPWD section of Somerville).  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license and migratory bird stamp, but does not include a federal duck stamp or the annual public hunting permit, so you’ll have to also buy them.
  • Shotgun (a 12 gauge piston operated semi-automatic with a 3″ chamber is recommended)
  • Camo or dull shotgun case (a floating case is recommended as cloth cases will get wet and muddy)
  • 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) are recommended.  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.  You’ll not need more than two boxes and will probably shoot a lot less than a box.
  • Camo or dull shotgun shells bag, vest, or bandoleer (a floating blind bag is recommended)
  • Headlamp or cap light
  • Camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential).  If rain is predicted bring rain gear.
  • Waders (absolutely essential except on the pond hunts).  Breathable waders are recommended for warmer hunts.  Neoprene waders are recommended for colder hunts (if you wear 5mm thick neoprene waders on a November hunt you’ll probably cook yourself).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in my boat to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • A small ice chest to take your ducks home in (if you get any)

If we hunt from my boat you’ll not need a bucket, stool, or a 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.  If we hunt the pond to the east of Austin you’ll need a bucket, stool, or a chair.

I have some extra items, such as waders, floating gun cases, headlamps, cap lights, a bucket, a stool, etc.  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 the shots are passing shots, I’ll switch to a modified.

I have 94 decoys (23 redheads, 17 pintails (four of which are on a jerk rig that I use when it’s not windy), 14 gadwall, 14 mallards (counting two quiver ducks, a pulsator duck, a motoized duck, and a wind duck – I only use the wind duck when it’s windy enough to spin the wings and when it’s too windy to use the motorized duck), 13 teal, six canvasbacks, six buffleheads, and a widgeon.  In addition, FCS has 33 decoys (25 teal and 8 wood ducks) in its inventory.  Combining my decoys and the FCS decoys I have 127 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.  I usually bring five dozen decoys on the big lakes.

I’ll hunt at least one local lake.  If the lakes are as bad as last year we’ll concentrate on the pond Southeast of Austin.  Tentative dates are as follows:
  • Saturday, 11/9/19
  • Monday, 11/11/19
  • Saturday, 11/23/19
  • Saturday, 12/7/19
  • Saturday, 12/14/19
  • Saturday, 12/21/19
  • Saturday, 1/18/20
  • Saturday, 1/25/20

Being on this rotation is a privilege and is not a FCS membership benefit.  This rotation is a service to FCS members and guests, but I will not tolerate the below actions.  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 my boat back on the trailer).
  • Not talking quietly, especially when ducks are coming in to the decoys (ducks can hear you and will veer away).
  • Not controlling your dog during a hunt (a dog that wants to go play with the decoys or charge the ducks as they are coming in will ruin the 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 2019/2020 season:

  1. Ryan Rowley
  2. Steve Ritter
  3. Ragan Brock
  4. Mike Walsh
  5. Earl Prochnick
  6. Blake Brosig
  7. Seth Parkey
  8. Brad Holbrook
  9. Wayne Weilnau
  10. Ian Daniels
  11. Zack Tumlinson
  12. Ken Miller
  13. Wiley Beale
  14. Steve Fusco
  15. Chris Rowley
  16. Burl Fulenwider
  17. Chris Campbell

The following people are on the permanent Duck Hunt Rotation:

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

Categories : Duck Rotation
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Dec
03

2019 – Shoots Reports

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Categories : Shoots Reports
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Dec
01

Upcoming Events

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12/12/19 FCS Meeting (social activity) and Wild Game Dinner (Probably Pork Stew)

Our next FCS Meeting (social activity) and Wild Game Dinner (probably pork stew) will be on Thursday, 12/12/19, 7:00 – 9:30 PM at Wayne Weilnau’s home (16100 Fritsch Cove, Austin, 512-388-3340 – Home, 512-589-4120 – Cell).  The cost should be approximately $5/person.  RSVP is required to Randy Rowley to ensure that we’ll have enough food at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484 before 12/11/19.  Let Randy know if you have a recent hunting, fishing, or shooting experience or tip that you would like to share.  In addition, contact Randy if you have any questions.

Schedule:

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

8:30 PM – president’s report, upcoming events, and short devotional

9:00 PM – DVD

9:30 PM – depart

12/14/19 FCS Monthly Sporting Clays Shoot

FCS will host our next monthly Sporting Clays shoot on Saturday, 12/14/19, from 9:00 – 11:15 AM at Capital Clays.  We’ll shoot one round of 50 sporting clays.  We’ll probably shoot their red course (formerly called the corporate/hunter course).

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 and keep a history log on the web site so you can see how you have improved over time.

  • 9:05 AM – Sporting clays
  • 10:45 AM – Scores and announcements
  • 11:15 AM – Depart

Who should come: Members and guests, including ladies and youth, both new shooters and experienced.  We usually have around 10 participants, and we break up into groups of 4 – 5.  Note that the larger the group, the longer it will take to shoot.  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 $23.27/person (includes tax).  If you don’t have a shotgun you can use one of ours.  Most of us shoot 12 gauge, but 20 gauge is good also. Capital Clays requires eye and ear protection (available free of charge at Capitol Clays).  They sell shotgun shells if you need them (but you can get them cheaper at Academy, Walmart, etc.).  You’ll need to bring two boxes of shells per round of sporting clays.  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.  1 oz or 1-1/8 oz loads and 1250-1300 FPS and 7-1/2 or 8 shot work well. They all sell for $5.50 – $7.00/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 for 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.  Most of the targets on their Red course are close enough for skeet chokes, but IC works just fine.

Location: 8707 Lindell Lane (near the Travis County Exposition Center and Lake Decker)

Capital Clay’s phone number: 512-272-4707

Weather – In the event of rainLight rain – we shoot.  Heavy rain – we stay home and Bruce Crockett or Randy will send out a notice of cancellation.

Questions:  Contact Bruce at bmc55@att.net or 512-970-7797 or Randy at randywrowley@gmail.com or 512-922-2484.

12/14/19 ‘Copperhead Creek Tournament’ NSCA Sporting Clays Tournament

FCS will participate in the next Copperhead Creek Shooting Club in Marble Falls Sporting Clays Tournament on Saturday, 11/16/19.  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 a group of at least three (not all have to be FCS members).  We may have time to shoot a practice round of skeet.  Note that if you are not a National Association (NSCA) member you will be shooting Hunter (or Shooter) Class, which means that you will not be eligible to win any prize money, nor will your score be posted on their website.  Membership with the NSCA is $40 per year.  There will also be a 50 Target Side Event and Concurrent options.  Contact Bruce Crockett at bmc55@att.net or 512-970-7797 if you have any questions.

12/28/19 Guided Duck Hunt

FCS will go on a guided duck hunt with Ricky Ethridge on 12/28/19.  Ricky has properties near Marquez, Donie, Cameron, Bastrop, and south of DFW.  We most often hunt near Marquez, which is around 110 miles from Austin, so you might want to go down and spend the night in a motel the day before.  The best deal right now is an American Inn & Suites in Jewett that runs $64 per night for two double beds.

We have had several successful hunts with Ricky in the past, including getting a limit of 39 ducks on the 12/8/18 Guided Duck Hunt with Ricky near Donie (see the below picture).

The cost is $125.  We also usually give a 20% ($25) tip.

What to bring:

  • Hunting license, state migratory bird stamp, and federal duck stamp (the super combo license does not include the federal duck stamp)
  • Shotgun
  • Shotgun case (a floating case is recommended as cloth cases are likely to get muddy)
  • 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 ½” shells in 3 ½” 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.
  • Shotgun shells bag, vest, or box
  • Headlamp or cap light
  • Camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential)
  • Snacks (optional)
  • Drinks (optional, but highly recommended)
  • A small sized ice chest to take your ducks home in. We’ll leave them in your cars and transfer them from my medium-sized ice chest when we get back.

Ricky will set out the decoys, call the birds in, retrieve them, and clean the birds after the hunt.

The limit is six hunters and we are full.  Contact Ian Daniels at Idaniels@austin.rr.com or 512-633-2221 to be added to his ‘will-call’ list in case someone drops out.  Also contact Ian if you have any questions.

12/28/19 ‘Year End Finale’ NSCA Sporting Clays Tournament

FCS will participate in the next Capital Clays sporting clays tournament on Saturday, 12/28/19.  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 a group of at least three (not all have to be FCS members). We may have time to shoot a practice round of skeet. Note that if you are not a National Association (NSCA) member you will be shooting Hunter (or Shooter) Class, which means that you will not be eligible to win any prize money, nor will your score be posted on their website. Membership with the NSCA is $40 per year. There will also be a 50 Target 5-Stand Event, 50 Target Side Event, and Concurrent options. Capital 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.

1/9/20 – 1/12/20 Self-guided/chartered Coastal Blast and Cast (Duck Hunt and Bay Fishing Trip)

FCS will host a self-guided/chartered Coastal Blast and Cast on 1/9/19 – 1/12/19 at Port O’Connor.  Eight of us will stay at Wayne Weilnau’s house in Port O’Connor and four of us will stay at the Captain’s Quarters.  This trip is limited to twelve people (four per boat) counting Wayne, Daryl Shipper, and me (the boat captains) and we are full.  Wayne will go down there on 1/9/19.  Daryl and Randy will go down there on 1/10/19.  We will hunt in the afternoons and fish in the mornings.

Cost:  We’ll eat out and share the vehicle gas and boat gas.  There will be a $150 house cleaning fee and the Captain’s Quarters fee that will be divided by everyone except Wayne.  Everyone will buy his or her own bait, if we fish with bait.  Wayne typically does not fish with bait.  Daryl and Randy often do.

What to bring:

  • Hunting license, state migratory bird stamp, federal duck stamp, and saltwater fishing license (the super combo license does not include the federal duck stamp)
  • Shotgun
  • Shotgun case (a floating case is recommended)
  • 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); Randy does not recommend anything smaller than 4 shot. 10 gauges and 3 1/2″ shells in 3 1/2″ 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/
  • Shotgun shells bag, vest, or box (a floating blind bag is recommended)
  • Headlamp or cap light
  • Camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential)
  • Waders (absolutely essential)
  • Bucket or stool
  • Fishing rods/reels (maximum of two) and tackle
  • Snacks (optional)
  • Drinks (optional)
  • A small to medium sized ice chest to take your ducks and fish home in (there are large ice chests on the boats to put your drinks and snacks in)

Randy has two pairs of waders (one in boot size 11 and one in boot size 10), two floating gun cases, a bucket, a headlamp, a hat lamp, around 14 ice chests of various sizes, three filet knives, eight baitcaster rods/reels that he’ll be happy to loan, if you let him know before we leave.

Contact Wayne Weilnau to be added to his ‘will-call’ list in case someone drops out at txfalcon59@gmail.com or 512-589-4120.  Also contact Wayne if you have any questions.

Binh Chu, Michael Armstrong, and Wayne Weilnau at the 1/05/18 – 1/07/18 Blast & Cast near Port O’Connor

Incoming!

Take ’em!

1/11/20 and 1/12/20 Guided Duck Hunts

FCS will go on guided duck hunts with Rayce Jenkins on Saturday, 1/11/20 and Sunday, 1/12/20 near El Campo, which is 154 miles from Austin, so you might want to go down and spend the night in a motel the day before.  The best deal right now is a Days Inn in El Campo that runs $64 per night for two double beds.

We have had several successful hunts with Rayce, including getting a limit of ducks on the 1/18/16 Guided Duck Hunt (see the below picture).

The cost is $175.  We also usually give a 20% ($35) tip.

What to bring:

  • Hunting license, state migratory bird stamp, and federal duck stamp (the super combo license does not include the federal duck stamp)
  • Shotgun
  • Shotgun case (a floating case is recommended as cloth cases are likely to get muddy)
  • 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 ½” shells in 3 ½” 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.
  • Shotgun shells bag, vest, or box
  • Headlamp or cap light
  • Camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential)
  • Snacks (optional)
  • Drinks (optional, but highly recommended)
  • A small sized ice chest to take your ducks home in. We’ll leave them in your cars and transfer them from my medium-sized ice chest when we get back.

Rayce will set out the decoys, call the birds in, retrieve them, and clean the birds after the hunt.  The limit is 12 hunters per day.  We have ten spots open on 1/11/20 and five spots open on 1/12/20.  RSVP is required to Ian Daniels at Idaniels@austin.rr.com or 512-633-2221.  In addition, a $50 deposit is required to Rayce immediately.  Contact Ian for details on how to pay him.  Contact Ian if you have any questions.

1/18/16 - Randy Rowley & Ken Miller - 18 teal and 5 shovelers (spoonbills)

2/29/20 Guided Upland Bird Hunt

FCS will hunt upland birds with Mike Schumann again on 2/29/20 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.  We had several highly successful hunts with Mike Schumann (see the below picture and the many Hunting Reports).  On 2/23/19 eight FCS hunters killed a record 101 birds, including 63 quail, 22 chukars and 16 pheasants.

This will be a full day hunt starting at 9:00 AM and end around  3:00 PM (not counting travel time).  You can choose from 18 quail, 9 chukar, or 6 pheasant, or a mixture of all three (most hunters choose a mixed bag).  As with all ranches in Central Texas, these will be pen raised birds.  The price is $250 per person.  There is a discount for additional packages of birds.  A 20% tip ($50) is highly recommended.  The hunt 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 most that we can take is 12 hunters and we currently the following nine commitments:

  • Jeff Weir
  • Mike Smith
  • Stu Smithson (and Caroline Smithson – she is not counted as a “spot”)
  • Burl Fulenwider
  • Bret Mercer
  • Jim Miller
  • Brian Suter
  • Steve Fusco
  • Jose Primera

That leaves four spots open.  The Event Hierarchy will apply.

An RSVP is required to Randy Rowley at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.  A $100 deposit is due by 1/13/20.  Mike accepts PayPal (recommended) and checks.

3/3/18 Upland Bird Hunt

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

FCS membership is not required in order to participate or attend FCS events; however, be aware that for events where we have a limit on the number of people that we can take that the Event Hierarchy (pecking order) is as follows:

  1. Supporting members
  2. Spouses and minor children of supporting members
  3. Members who are not current with their dues
  4. Spouses and minor children of members who are not current in their dues
  5. Guests
  6. Spouses and minor children of guests

To quote the old American Express TV commercial “Membership has its privileges.”  Therefore, being an active member ensures that you will not get bumped by one.  See Membership Info, How to Join, How to Renew, and FCS Membership Application for more information.

A member or guest is free to bring his or her spouse, child, and/or a friend to events that are not full (but RSVP for him, her, or them and pay in advance, if required).

The president, vice president, and event coordinators are told dozens of things each work day. They also are told numerous things pertaining to FCS each week. With the amount of information that they receive they will inevitably forget some of it. Therefore, it is much better for you to RSVP via email than to call them (if you call them, please follow it up with an email). Also, if you text them be sure to let them know who you are.

People who are 18 years of age or older are considered to be adults for purposes of figuring out a person’s share of lodging, gas, etc. For dividing up food costs minors may be treated as adults, depending on their size.  For example, if a 12-year-old boy eats as much as a full-grown man he will be charged as a man, and not as a child, as the event coordinator will have to buy a full-sized steak for him and not a half-sized one.

Categories : Events, Upcoming Events
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Nov
23

2019 Hunting Trips Reports

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Categories : Hunting Reports
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The following is a rotation list for self-chartered 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 a fish finder.  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 or all 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.

How the Rotation Works – Fishermen who want to participate must sign, if they have not already, a lifetime FCS Liability WaiverYou do not have to be an FCS member to be added to this rotation; however, the Event Hierarchy (pecking order) applies.  Whenever I’m about to lead a self-chartered bass fishing trip I’ll send an email to the people on the rotation.  I’ll say something like, “On Saturday, XX/XX/XX, I’ll lead a self-chartered bass fishing trip on Lake Bastrop (for example).  Let me know if you’re interested in going before XX/XX/XX.  As always, the rotation and Event Hierarchy (pecking order) apply to events where we have a limit on the number of people that we can take.”

The following people are on the Bass Fishing Rotation list for the 20XX season (this is fictional):

  1. Tim
  2. Ron
  3. Bob
  4. Roy
  5. Jim
  6. Joe

So, let’s say that Ron, Roy, and Joe all want to go on the Bastrop trip.  As I prefer to fish with only three fishermen (counting myself) when we’re fishing with lures for safety’s sake, I’ll only take two of them.  In this case, Ron and Roy would get to go, as they are above Joe in the rotation.  After a fisherman goes on one of my self-chartered bass fishing trips I move him or her to the bottom of the rotation.  So, after the Bastrop trip, the rotation would be revised to the below.

Whenever a fisherman asks to join the rotation I start him or her at the bottom of the list.  I want to stress that if someone who is on the rotation says no, or doesn’t respond, to an offer to go on a trip he or she will never drop in the rotation.  Nor can anyone leapfrog him or her in the rotation.  The only exception to the rotation is the boat captain/host always gets to go.  Just as rotating ensures that everyone on a volleyball team has an opportunity to serve and play by the net, rotating the event lists in this manner ensures that everyone eventually will be near the top of the list.

  1. Tim
  2. Bob
  3. Jim
  4. Joe
  5. Ron
  6. Roy

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).
  • If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • 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 my boat for launch)
  • Cap/hat (optional)
  • Sunglasses (optional)
  • Sunscreen (optional)
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended)
  • A small ice chest to take fish home in, if we decide to keep them (I usually return largemouth bass to the water; there will be a large ice chest on my boat to put your drinks and snacks in)
  • Rain gear if rain is predicted (I have three ponchos on my boat)

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

Being on this rotation is a privilege and is not a FCS membership benefit.  This rotation is a service to FCS members and guests, but I will not tolerate the below actions.  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).
  • Not talking quietly (bass can hear you and will get away from the sound).
  • 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 people who will be on the Bass Fishing Rotation list for the 2020 season will be determined in January 2020.

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

  1. Bill Smith
  2. Flint and Harrison DeShazo
  3. Jeff Cates
  4. Ryan Rowley
  5. Jeff Peterson and son
  6. Rex Yokum
  7. David Lesser and sons
  8. Nathan Hoeft
  9. Mark Shackleford
  10. Eddy and DaLee Trevino
  11. Monalisa Almanza and child
  12. Roy Zengerle
  13. Jim McGee
  14. Earl and Janet Prochnick
  15. Roland and Lena Olivarez
  16. Dustin Rhodes
  17. Burl and Daniel Fulenwider
  18. Binh Chu
  19. Mike Walsh
  20. Chris Rowley
  21. Steve Fusco

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 River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper, 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 50 – 65 lb. braid is the best (to cut through weeds, lily pads, etc.; braid also floats).  As most spinning reels through lighter lures better than baitcasting reels, you can use them for more finesse applications.  In such cases, lighter line is a plus.  A lot of people will use 8 – 10 lb. test line when using a spinning reel to throw lures such as 1/4 oz. Roadrunners.

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 – 30 – 65 lb. test (braid does not have the same thickness as mono of fluro (40 lb. braid = 12 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.

Categories : Bass Rotation
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Oct
26

2019 – Fishing Reports

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Oct
24

Event Hierarchy

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Be aware that for events where we have a limit on the number of people that we can take that the hierarchy (pecking order) is as follows:
– Supporting members
– Spouses and minor children of supporting members
– Members who are not current with their dues
– Spouses and minor children of members who are not current in their dues
– Guests
– Spouses and minor children of guests

To quote the old American Express TV commercial “Membership has its privileges.”  Therefore, being an active member ensures that you will not get bumped by one.  If you are interested in becoming an active member, see the Membership Info, How to Join, How to Renew, FCS Membership Application, and FCS Release of Liability Waiver web pages.

Categories : Event Hierarchy
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Oct
08

2019 – FCS Meetings Reports

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10/8/19 FCS Meeting and Shrimp Dinner

Twelve participants had a good time at the 10/8/19 FCS Meeting at Bruce Crockett’s home.  The meeting featured a shrimp boil (shrimp, sausage, red potatoes, corn-on-the cob, and jalepenos); chips, salsa, and cheese dip; and a chocalate bunt cake.  Randy Rowley lead a devotional called In Formation.  Binh Chu brough two boxes of mostly old fishing lures that provided entertainment in trying to identify them.

President’s Report

Membership – since our last meeting on 8/12/19, we had one person join the club, eight people renew their memberships, and five first-timers.

Events – since our last meeting on 8/12/19, we had eight events with an attendance of 79 people, which is an average of 9.88 people per event.  We have 17 events planned from 10/9/19 until our next meeting on 12/12/19.  See our Calendar and Upcoming Events web page for details. 

8/12/19 FCS Meeting and Steak Dinner

Fifteen participants, including one first time guest, had a good time at the 8/12/19 FCS Meeting at Randy Rowley’s home.  The meeting featured ribeye steaks, potatoes, corn-on-the cob, chips and queso, and a chocolate cake.  Darrel Barnette shared a review of the MTM Predator shooting rest.  Randy Rowley lead a devotional called Blinded.  We watched the Spiritual Outdoor Adventures Season 12 DVD Adventures with the Isaac’s (turkey and deer hunting).

President’s Report

Membership – since our last meeting on 6/13/19, we had three people join the club, seven people renew their memberships, and one first timer.

Events – since our last meeting on 6/13/19, we had 10 events with an attendance of 52 people, which is an average of 5.20 people per event.  We have 12 events planned from 8/13/19 until our next meeting on 10/8/19.  See our Calendar and Upcoming Events web page for details.

6/13/19 FCS Meeting and Fajita Dinner

Thirteen participants had a good time at the 6/13/19 FCS Meeting at Jim McGee’s home.  The meeting featured beef and chicken fajitas, peppers, onions, cheese, salsa, Spanish rice, refried beans, soft drinks and tea (courtesy of Jim), and chocolate cake (courtesy of Binh Chu).  Randy Rowley lead a devotional called Found.  We watched the Spiritual Outdoor Adventures Season 12 DVD Accupoint Mulies.

President’s Report

Membership – since our last meeting on 4/9/19, we had two people join the club, seven people renew their memberships, and nine first timers.

Events – since our last meeting on 4/9/19, we had 17 events with an attendance of 110 people, which is an average of 6.47 people per event.  We have 14 events planned from 6/14/19 until our next meeting on 8/12/19.  See our Calendar and Upcoming Events web page for details.

4/9/19 FCS Meeting and Chili Dinner

Nine participants had a good time at the 4/9/19 FCS Meeting at Mr. Charles Batts’ home.  The meeting featured chili (courtesy of Chris and Randy Rowley), IBC Rootbeer and tea (courtesy of Charles), potato salad (courtesy of David Brune), and cornbread muffins and chocolate cake (courtesy of Joan Batts).  Thanks to those who brought food and drinks!  Randy lead a devotional called Mistaken Identity.  We watched the Spiritual Outdoor Adventures Season 12 DVD Adventures in New Zealand: South Island Tahr.

President’s Report

Membership – since our last meeting on 2/4/19, we had two people renew their memberships and six first time guests.

Events – since our last meeting on 2/4/19, we had 11 events with an attendance of 80 people, which is an average of 7.27 people per event.  We have 17 events planned from 4/10/19 until our next meeting on 6/13/19.  See our Calendar and Upcoming Events web page for details.

2/4/19 FCS Meeting and Wild Game Dinner

Fourteen participants had a good time at the 2/4/19 FCS Meeting at Ron Denison’s home.  The meeting featured chicken fried venison, two types of venison stew, two types of venison sausage, potato salad, salad, veggie dip, muffins, and three kinds of dessert, including Sue Denison’s chocolate eclair cake. Randy Rowley presented a devotional titled Groaning.  We watched the Spiritual Outdoor Adventures Season 12 DVD Cottonwood Creek Whitetails.

President’s Report

Membership – since our last meeting on 12/11/18, we had two people join the club, three people renew their memberships, and two first time guests.

Events – since our last meeting on 12/11/18, we had 14 events with an attendance of 76 people, which is an average of 5.43 people per event.  We have 13 events planned from 2/5/19 until our next meeting on 4/9/19.
See our Calendar and Upcoming Events web page for details.

1/22/19 FCS Officers Meeting

Five officers attended the 1/22/19 Officers Meeting at Dos Salsas in Cedar Park.  Bruce Crockett led us in prayer.  The following items were discussed:

1.  Past Events, Membership, Finances, and Upcoming Events Report (most include a comparison with the previous three reports):

PAST EVENTS

  • Events attendance was higher or stable for most categories.
  • Our Duck Hunt category attendance set a new record with 62 participants.
  • Our Sporting Clays Tournaments category attendance set a new record with 55 participants.
  • Our Banquet category attendance set a new record with 29 participants.
  • Our Bay Fishing Trip category attendance tied our third best with 10 participants.
  • Our Upland Bird Hunt category was our third best with 9 participants.
  • Our 24-hour Sporting Clays Shoot category tied our third best with 7 participants.
  • We had record attendance at our Banquet with 29 participants.
  • Two Self-guided Bass fishing trips tied our record with 4 participants.
  • Dove and deer hunt attendance was down due to the loss of the Evans Ranch.
  • Hog hunt attendance was down due to not going to the Independence Ranch.
  • Our attendance was 478 people, which was our 60 more people than last year.
  • We had a record 76 events.
  • We averaged 6.29 attendees per event.

Specific Events Summary

Year Total
Attendees
Number of Events Average Attendees per Event
Banquets/Dinners
2018 29 1 29.00
2017 18 1 18.00
2016 16 1 16.00
Deer and Hog Hunts
2018 5 1 5.00
2016 * 15 2 7.50
2015 10 1 10.00
Hog Hunts      
2018 8 2 4.00
2017 21 2 10.50
2016 7 2 3.50
24-Hour Sporting Clays Shoots
2018 7 1 7.00
2017 5 1 5.00
2016 5 1 5.00
Regular Sporting Clays Shoots
2018 137 12 11.41
2017 141 11 12.82
2016 165 12 13.75
NSCA Sporting Clays Tournaments
2018 55 18 3.06
2017 45 19 2.36
2016 28 9 3.11
Dove Hunts
2018 35 3 11.67
2017 74 6 12.33
2016 42 3 14.00
Dove Retreats
2018 9 1 9.00
2016 6 1 6.00
2015 12 1 12.00
Bay Fishing Trips
2018 10 1 10.00
2017 9 1 9.00
2016 7 1 7.00
Freshwater Fishing Trips
2018 43 12 3.58
2017 22 6 3.67
2016 33 9 3.67
FCS Meetings
2018 69 6 11.50
2017 39 6 6.50
2016 52 6 8.67
Ministry Events (Wild Game Dinner)
2018 9 1 9.00
2017 9 1 9.00
2016 12 1 12.00
Pheasant, Chukar, and Quail Hunts
2018 9 1 9.00
2017 4 1 4.00
2016 * 16 2 8.00
Waterfowl Hunts (Duck)
2018 62 16 3.88
2017 39 9 4.33
2016 32 9 3.56
Yearly Attendance and Events
2018 478 76 * 6.29
2017 418 63 6.63
2016 441 62 7.11

MEMBERSHIP

New Members

  • We had 10 people join the club.
New Members Summary
Year Number
2018 10
2017 10
2016 5

Membership Renewals

  • We had 21 members renew their memberships.
Membership Renewals Summary
Year Number
2018 21
2017 20
2016 28

Supporting Members

  • We ended the year with 61 supporting members.

Supporting Members Summary

Year Number
End of 2018 61
End of 2017 59
End of 2016 58

First Time Guests

  • We had 34 first time guests.
First Time Guests Summary
Year Number
2018 34
2017 32
2016 31

FINANCES

  • During Fiscal Year 2018 (9/1/17 – 8/31/18) we took in $978 in membership dues which is for single and multiple year renewals of 2, 3, and 5 years. Allocated 2018 membership revenue is $1000.  We spent $955, for a net gain of $45.  For the ministry fund, we took in $650 and spent $472, for a net gain of $178.
Finances Summary
Year Income ExpendituresProfit or loss
Checking (for budgeted items)
FY 2018 $1000.00 $955.00 $45.00
FY 2017 $877.05 $952.58 $75.53
FY 2016 $952.30 $1,160.52 $208.22
Savings (for the ministry fund)
FY 2018 $650.00 $472.00 $178.00
FY 2017 $669.69 $252.46 $417.23
FY 2016 $595.00 $202.54 $392.46

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • We have 87 events planned for 2019.  The increase in the number of events is due to adding all of the sporting clays tournaments at Copperhead Creek.
Upcoming Events Summary
Sporting Clays Tournaments 26
Freshwater Fishing Trips (two are also inland duck scouting trips) 15
Waterfowl Hunts 14
Sporting Clays Shoots (one includes a youth group) 12
FCS Meetings (one is an officers meeting) 7
Dove Retreats/Hunts 6
Hog Hunts 2
Bay Fishing Trip 1
Upland Bird Hunt 1
24-hour Sporting Clays Shoot 1
Banquet 1
Ministry Event 1
Total 87

Overall, things are going very well for the Club, with the exception of finding a place where we can dove hunt.

2.  3/27/19 Banquet.

  • Michael Armstrong is moving to San Antonio and will no longer be able to assist with the Banquet. Randy Rowley will take over the event.
  • We have had a request (from Facebook) to have a “Reunion Event” for old members and new members. In Randy’s opinion, the Banquet would be the best event in which to have a reunion.
  • The officers decided to not make any changes to the format from last year’s banquet.

3.  Ministry Fund.

  • The officers decided to continue with Youth Sporting Clays Shoots.

4. Additional Events Poll.

  • 1/3/19 Poll on Additional Events Results
Event Number of People Inter-
ested
Kayak outings to local lakes, rivers, or large tanks. Two
Single-day Conservation goose hunt (no limits, unplugged guns, electronic calls, north Texas or panhandle Two
Multi-day Conservation goose hunt (no limits, unplugged guns, electronic calls), north of Texas. One
Sandhill crane hunt at the coast or panhandle. One
Kansas pheasant hunt. Two
Private charter offshore trip for tuna, etc. – 24 hours. Two
Party boat offshore trip for tuna, etc. – 24 hours. One
Two-day bass fishing trip. Lakes within three hours such as Whitney, Belton, Somerville, etc.  Stay in a Cabin, RV, B&B, etc. Four
Three-day bass fishing trip.  Lakes within six hours such as Falcon, Amistad, Sam Rayburn, etc.  Stay in a Cabin, RV, B&B, etc. Three
Four or five day fishing trip.  Lakes within ten hours in Oklahoma, Arkansas, etc.  Targeting walleye, pike, smallmouth bass, trout, etc. One
Additional Questions Answers
For kayak trips, do you have an extra kayak to loan to a member? Two respondents (one has three)
For boat-based fishing trips, do you have a fishing boat you would be willing to share with other members and guests? One respondent
Are there any other activities you would like to see planned? Guided kayak fishing trip
Panhandle goose, duck, and sandhill crane hunt
Willing to lead/coordinate Goose hunt (Jeff Morris)
Guided kayak fishing trip (Jeff?)

We will probably add some of these events to the FCS Calendar if we can find someone to lead them.

Categories : Meetings Minutes
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May
24

2019 – Ministry Events

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Dec
26

2019 – Banquet Reports

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Dec
17

2018 – Shoots Reports

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Dec
11

2018 – FCS Meetings Reports

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Dec
09

2018 Hunting Trips Reports

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Oct
20

2018 – Fishing Reports

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May
24

2018 – Ministry Events

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Mar
28

2018 – Banquet Reports

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Dec
30

2017 – Shoots Reports

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Dec
16

2017 Hunting Trips Reports

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Dec
07

2017 – FCS Meetings Reports

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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.  Don’t get rubber or canvas.  I wear my breathable ones when it’s not 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, which will make you cold.  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.
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.  I hunted with a wood stocked/matte barreled shotgun for years but had some issues with the saltwater making the bluing fade and become splotchy.  This required the barrel to be re-done (I got a matt finish), but the saltwater still started to corrode it (even with immediate cleaning after each hunt).  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 Blackjack Gunsmith and they’ll install it for you.  You can get the sling at Academy or similar.  You won’t need a floating case unless you’re getting on a 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 few 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 November the 18th 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.
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Bible verse of the day

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

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

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.net/