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Friday, November 21. 2014
This story has been passed down through my family for well over 100 years. I have heard it from my dad and his brothers and sisters. Brinson and Fannie Bryan, who, at the time, were living near Riesel, Texas, McLennan County, were my paternal Great Grandparents and Peyton Bryan was my paternal Grandfather.
The dogs were raising a racket outside, waking Brinson Bryan and his wife, Fannie, up from a sound sleep. He figured they had a possum or ‘coon treed in the large oak tree near the hen house. Next thing he knew all eight of his kids were awake and asking him “Papa, what is all the racket with the dogs.” Fannie was expecting their ninth, and she hoped the last, child the next month, December 1889.
Brinson slipped on his heavy clothes, it was cold for mid November, and lit a coal oil lantern. He was going to “chunk” the “coon out of the tree and not even mess with loading his .44 pistol. With all these kids around, it didn’t pay to leave the old pistol loaded. He handed the lantern to his oldest son, Peyton, slipped on his boots and said to him, “Let’s go run that varmint off.”
Stepping outside and heading the 100 feet to the old, oak tree with the dogs furiously barking, Peyton held the light up towards the tree and he and his Papa were rewarded by seeing two of the biggest, yellow eyes staring back at them. “Papa, that aint no ‘coon,” he exclaimed, as he and Brinson edged closer to the tree, plainly making out a very large cat, rather a very large mountain lion, crouched on a branch about eight feet off the ground.
This looked like another “tight spot” shaping up. Brinson had had his share of “tight spots” in his life. Joining the Texas Rangers in 1845 he had fought Mexicans and Indians during the Mexican War. After that war he guided wagon trains to California facing more Indians, wild animals and thieves. Next was his three and a half years of service with the Confederate Army of Tennessee and experiencing some of the fiercest battles of that war. He had married Fannie in 1867 and settled into a life of farming, mule trading and raising his family.
Now, he is being stared down by a big cat and knowing the dogs would keep the cat treed, he told Peyton, “Boy, hold the light on the cat while I get something to finish it off with!” That “something” happened to be his old Bowie knife, almost two feet of it, which he tied onto a walking stick, or Moses stick. Counting the knife and stick, his “lance” was nearly 6 foot long. He knew if he shot the cat with his pistol that it would die, but not before it would leap down on he and Peyton.
As Peyton held the light, Brinson shinnied up into the tree and with one thrust shoved the knife into the cat’s throat and then, with both hands, held tight to the stick as the animal thrashed about, impaled on the knife. After it was over and the cat lay still on the ground, Brinson thought it funny that his three dogs could tree the lion and keep it treed, while the lion could easily kill the dogs and also how the light from a coal oil lantern had kept the cat off of them.
The dogs had apparently intercepted the cat before it had gotten into the hen house. It ended up a very lop sided victory for Brinson and Peyton, no dogs or chickens injured, just a little lost sleep.
This may have been the last mountain lion killed in McLennan County, Texas.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, November 16. 2014
The next weekend, after signing up on our new Deer lease in McCulloch County, my sons, Brad and Randy, and I headed right back and begin construction of two sturdy tree blinds. The boys have the blinds since I prefer to hunt birds, but, eight years later, by the time we left the lease, I will be hooked on deer hunting.
Brad’s blind, later named “The McCulloch County Hilton”, was a two level affair by a cross fence of the back trap, as the rancher called each pasture, right beside a big, rock, water trough. Randy’s blind was less spacious, but set near the property’s back fence. From their elevated positions, both boys could see each others blind.
Early in the morning the day before deer season opened, my boys and I rushed, as much as you can with a fifty-five miles per hour speed limit (another bad idea forced upon us by a politically correct government), up to our lease and began the annual ritual of making sure the deer feeders were full, checking equipment and sighting in the guns. We finished by late afternoon and began helping with the communal dinner, when the last two hunters arrived.
Mac handled the introductions and my boys and I met the Taub brothers, Ralph and Dennis. Ralph, the oldest seemed like a good guy, but brother Dennis seemed like a jerk. It is funny how first impressions are, so many times, correct.
Supper, steaks, potatoes and green chilies, hits the spot and after dark we retired to the side porch to swap lies, when we saw headlights moving down the road by the railroad tracks that bound the east side of the property. Then from the vehicle we saw a spotlight searching out over our east trap – poachers!
Brad has an M-1A, a predecessor of the M-14, and Jerry Thrash, a lawyer and private eye, came up out of his kit with three .308 Cal. Tracer rounds. I loaded them into the M-1A and prepared to welcome the poachers to our lease, when the legal uproar began.
“Don’t shoot,” “You may hit them,” “We may be arrested,” (do they think we were shooting at law officers), “We may get sued,” Bam, Bam, Bam, I let loose with the tracers, three rounds over the poachers heads.
Results were immediate. As the reddish/orange tracer rounds arced over their car, the spot light went off, their car lights went off, they did a quick uwey and sped off for safer poaching grounds. Poachers never bothered us again for the eight years we were on the lease!
The legal uproar continued, but my boys and I went on to bed.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, November 11. 2014
My grand daughter, Beckah, (Rebeccah), scored on a big buck on November 9th, she was watching the buck for about 10 minutes then she shot him, with Randy’s old rifle, a Remington 660. We bought this gun at Oshman’s in Atlanta, Ga.; he has shot 36 deer with it. See my post, Buck Fever, of July 24th, 2008.
There was a lot of activity around the thick stuff, turkeys were gobbling, doe and bucks were moving, then Bekah saw her opportunity and nailed him, about 50 yards from MaMaw’s blind.
Yes, MaMaw’s blind. She had gone out with her dad and they had gone to MaMaw’s blind, because Randy had good luck there in the past seasons. I had planned on going to Sunday School, but that wish was cut short when Randy called to let me know that Beckah had shot a nice one, so I took the tractor down to pick it up, however we did make Church!
The buck was fat, had 10 points (almost 11) and scored 130 raw on Boone and Crockett!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 14:34 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, November 3. 2014
Having gone out to just take pictures of some bucks on opening day, I climbed up into MaMaw’s blind, she always said, “Big bucks are shot from my blind”! Being more into bucks chasing doe, I was more interested in pictures. Not wanting to shoot a buck, I was surprised when I saw a doe and following close behind her was a buck, definitely a shooter! This one had a tall rack, 8 or 9 points and was definitely, definitely a shooter!
I had carried along my .270 I really wasn’t looking to shoot a buck this A.M. being more interested in pictures. But what the heck, centering the crosshairs behind the shoulder, I fired, the buck hopped took one step and fell dead!
He was 5-1/2 years old, he made it this far by being cautious, but chasing a doe got him in big trouble. This was the same buck that had challenged the buck I shot two years ago. The pic shows him kicking up dust, (we have a lot of that around here).
He scored 134 4/8 B&C, I was surprised he scored so low, but weighed around 135-150.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 14:23 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 26. 2014
In 1953, the early November opening of goose and duck season was hailed by hunters for the rain and high winds that back, to back, to back, weather systems fostered. Blow from the southeast for two days, then blow from the northwest for a few days, the cycle repeating it self continuously. Me, and my group of hunters, using the term loosely, “sneakers” would better apply, took full advantage of the weather to try the patience of many of the rice farmers and our parents.
The area west of Highway 6, along FM 1091, all the way to Fulshear on the Brazos River was prime goose country, part of the Katy prairie. All of this area now is subdivisions and shopping malls and the geese have vacated it. Back then, after a driver passed Post Oak Rd. street signs changed from Westheimer to FM 1091. Now, Westheimer extends for miles, out past Highway 6 and is the center of commerce for west Houston!
Four of us were heading home around 11:00 AM from a reasonably
successful goose hunt, success being measured by; a vehicle not being
stuck beyond retrieval, not one of the hunters injured, not being stopped by the law and, maybe, even, a few geese. We were coming in, heading east, on FM 1091 and wishing we could get permission to hunt on Cinco Ranch, a large ranch, twenty sections or more, laying north of 1091, all the way to Highway 6. The ranch now sports country clubs, shooting ranges and some very, large, ritzy, subdivisions.
Probably four hundred yards north of the road, inside the fences of Cinco Ranch, we spotted a huge gaggle of geese. Immediately, one of our group said that we should sneak ‘em. A quick uwey and we stopped on the soggy shoulder, donned our hip boots, hooded parkas and grabbed our shotguns. Going over the barbwire fence, hitting the ground, we started our sneak.
Four hundred yards is long crawl, shotguns cradled in our arms, military style. Keeping our heads down we inched along with each inch the noise of the geese grew louder. No alarm calls so we were doing OK. Inches turned into feet and feet into yards as we reached the hundred-yard mark, only sixty or so, more to go. Then raise up and let fly!
Hearing a strange peeping sound, I knew it wasn’t a rattler, then, the whirring of twenty or more quail bursting into the air startled me so much that I leaped to my feet and shouted a few choice expletives! That’s all it took for the thousands of geese to spook and get airborne. Standing, we could only watch as they gained altitude and “honked” their way to safety.
That was our first, and last, “sneak” on Cinco Ranch!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 14:23 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, October 21. 2014
Here are 2 more bucks that showed up at the corner feeder, it’s funny they were chasing doe around the feeder, but really, they were not interested in them. Wait for a couple of weeks! The first buck is a really good 8 pointer, you’ve seen him before, but here’s a good “shot” of him.
Another buck dropped by and he was a really good 10 pointer, but he and the 8 pointer, don’t have swollen necks. When they start fighting, they will!
You can see this buck has 2 points on his brow tine, the same as the one I shot last year that won the “Mill’s County Big Buck Contest”! This one is heavier on the horns than last year’s.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 06:09 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, October 15. 2014
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, October 9. 2014
Having just signed up on a new hunting lease near Millersview, during the last part dove season standing by myself, with my twenty gauge pump, in the shade of a mesquite tree, the sun on my right and a half acre stock tank to my front. The banks of the tank were sandy/gravelly, just right for doves to use.
Arriving at the tank around 4:00 PM, too early for the birds to water, I sat real still and watched the songbirds and, of all things, the deer, eight or ten doe came into the water. There was a lot of shooting that I guessed was about a mile away on a bordering ranch and I was hoping that the birds would come into my tank.
One hour later, here came the doves! Beginning with just a trickle, I knocked down the first two and they both fell right on the tank damn, just in front of me. Picking my shots, being careful not to splash one into the tank, the doves kept falling and I stopped for a minute and counted up. Eleven birds, then I counted my shots, eleven shots. Never having gone straight on a limit of doves, thinking back, I had run over a hundred and fifty straight on clay birds in trap and downed fifteen straight Mearns quail, but not the diving, twisting and turning doves.
Here came number twelve, right at me, and easy head on shot. Covering the bird, for some reason, I raised my head and missed! The dove veered to the right and, pow, my second shot, down it dropped into the tank. Chunking rocks and cow chips at the bird, the "waves" brought it to the bank and then it was in my bag.
Twelve for thirteen, still not bad and the new lease only got better.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 07:46 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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