Now, for a second taste of Texas.
OK, let me start out by saying I have had a home here in Texas for 30 years, and I like it here. I spent my first 35 years in Pennsylvania, a year in Michigan, and the rest here, although not in the same area. Worked a project in N.C. that lasted a little over 2 years, but I kept my home here in Texas. I have always been able to find things I like everywhere I have been, but being a “country boy”, I prefer, if at all possible, to stay away from cities. Which brings me to my subject for today, hunting and fishing.
I have not hunted for quite awhile. I love “the hunt”, don’t really enjoy killing but just love the taste of venison, squirrel, and such and when fishing, usually let what I catch go free.
When I started my job as manager of engineering at Conroe Forge and Mfg, the vice president and I decided that we needed more help. He said that he had previously looked at a person that he believed would fill the bill. After our discussion, I believed him to be right and would hire this fellow, so had him come in for “a second interview” with me. He came in and seemed quite nervous, so I thought that I would ease his nerves by asking him non work related questions. (He still didn’t know he was to be hired.) I asked him if he liked to bass fish and he answered yes. I could see his attitude change immediately, so kept going. I then asked him if he had a bass boat. He answered that he did and described it to me. I then asked him if he had any reason why he wouldn’t take his boss fishing. He answered “no” and I said “you are hired”. Now that is what both of us called a good job interview. He and I became good fishing and hunting friends.
One weekend after deer season was over, he asked me if I wanted to go up to his deer lease and see if we could get some feral hogs by night hunting. (That is legal; the ranch owner wanted them removed.) I decided, while waiting on hogs, to try calling in predators by blowing up a balloon and making squealing sounds by stretching the neck sideways with both hands.
I made my first mistake by the choice of weapons, carried a 30-06 rifle with scope and a 357 revolver with a scope in a shoulder holster. My second mistake was where and how I waited. I picked a mowed path that was about 20 feet wide that went through thick bottom land trees and brush. I sat down with my back leaning on a tree at the edge of this cleared path and laid the riffle across my lap, put my spot light on the ground next to me, and got out my trusty balloon.
I squealed it two or three short squeals, and stopped and listened for awhile. Kept repeating this with long pauses in between squeals. It was not long until I heard a noise behind me. I held the balloon with my left hand and picked up the light with my right. Turned it on and there was Bob Cat, less than 50 feet from me. It looked at me for a few seconds, turned, and was gone. Right then, I knew I had a problem; I only had two hands and couldn’t hold the balloon to keep it from noisily zooming away, hold the light, and use a firearm at the same time.
I squealed it a couple of more times and got buzzed by an owl; actually had to duck. No, it was an owl, not a duck.
Went back to my calling and across the cleared strip there was a loud noise of something busting through the brush and heading right at me. I squeezed off the air of the balloon with one hand and grabbed my light. Turned it on just in time to see this huge coyote trying to slide to a stop. It got stopped right on top of me. Even got some drops on my face off his tongue. I don’t know which of us was the most shocked by this, but he turned and was gone. This all took about a half second, but seemed like an hour. Needless to say, I gathered up my stuff, got up in an elevated deer stand, and spent the rest of night in a “safe” place up out of harms way. Didn’t fire a shot but brought home a lot of experiences that turned into great memories.