Turkey Hunt, October 2008

I flew into Denver and drove over to Cozad, Nebraska for a couple of days of turkey hunting.

Goose Hunting, January 9, 2010

I usually visit a good friend of mine, Randy Trujillo and his family year after year….well, it was a couple of years between visits so I was due for a stop in.  I had a trip planned for Memphis for work, so I scheduled a few days after the Memphis trip to visit Randy later in the week.  I met Randy back in 1975, in 9th grade during a small stint in Colcord, Oklahoma.

Before my visit, I called his daughter Meranda…the plan was to surprise Randy on my visit; my last visit we surprised Randy too.  I drove over from Memphis on I-40…which was filled with slow trucks and thick traffic.  I rolled in around 7:00 p.m. and the rally point was Randy’s house with all of his family showing for the big surprise.  I showed up a bit earlier than Meranda and her husband John…so I drove around the small town of 3,000.  This town really never changes, I have been visiting Jay since 1979…and it’s the same small town it was then.

Around 7:30 p.m. we were all staged for the big event, I hid in the back bedroom and the plan was I was going to call Randy with my cell phone after he walked in the house.  My damn phone could not receive a signal (thanks AT&T)…so I just popped out when I could hear his voice; he face was speechless when he saw me.  I just happened to stop in Arkansas to pick up a 12 pack of Stella along the way, if I didn’t get beer then…I would had to lower myself to the water-down 3.2 Oklahoma beer.  So of course, after the surprise…we broke out beers and started catching up on family news.

The next day was the usual…coffee and breakfast at Mom’s café.  After that we drove down to Lake Eucha so I could get a phone signal.  Lake Eucha is fed by underground streams and creeks that are lined with flint rock…crystal clean water feeding Lake Eucha.  This lake is Tulsa’s drinking water, so there is no swimming, but many people swim just upstream from the lake though.  There is boating, fishing and a yearly gigging tournament that might be the only one of its kind.

There are so many country roads to cruise…we just cruised for the next 3 hours into Missouri and Arkansas.  We checked out some of the new chicken houses that were being built in Arkansas and soon to be the norm for chicken houses, 40 foot wide, and 300 feet long with no windows.  Chickens grow so fast in these feeding houses that their legs sometimes are unable to hold them up.  The country roads took us to Colcord, Oklahoma; it’s where Randy and I first met in 9th grade…1975.  This town just keeps on getting smaller and smaller…feels like 500 people; Randy stated that they might close down the high school and bus the students elsewhere.  Before leaving town we drove by the house I lived in Colcord for 3 or 4 months in 1975.
For the next day I set up a goose hunting trip with Chaz Trujillo, Randy’s youngest child.  Chaz is currently attending college, but has a hunting guide business on the side with a few friends www.goosebustersok.com.  He picked me up at 4:30 a.m. and we took off to Miami, Oklahoma to meet up with 3 other friends.  This was my first time Goose hunting, so I was pretty excited.  I really didn’t realize there was so much equipment involved; we had 4 very large bags of decoys, 4 bird blinds, ammo bags and of course 4 guns.  We split up the equipment so all of us were bogged down quite a bit.  There was much snow, .ice and water on field that we were thronging through 6 to 8 inches of snow and mud; we set-up the kill zone about 250 yards off the country road.  The group actually set the decoys in a way that the geese would land right in front me.  Well…there really wasn’t any wind that day and the geese were coming in from all different directions. 

After setting up the decoys we waited for the birds to fly in.  The geese are out usually on ponds or lakes during the night where it is safe from predators and then fly off to a field to feed after sunrise.  This morning the fog was very thick, so the birds were getting off the water much later, but eventually made their way towards us.  Once the group could hear the honking they started to call them in with their artificial horns.   The first bunch came in overhead…almost behind me, so I didn’t get a shot off…plus I was a little nervous too.  Eventually, I knocked off (3) birds and a duck that day.  It was damn exciting and I am looking forward to my next goose hunting trip.  The day was not finished yet, we still had to pack up and dredge back to the vehicles, this time we had 15 big geese to carry back.  The only way this was going to happen was taking two trips back and forth in the mud; the mud was much deeper now and made the trek back that much more challenging.  Side note….I was chilled to the bone because the bird blind I was using wasn’t completely waterproof and when I set up in the early morning hours, I set my blind up in some pockets of water/slush.  Eventually, throughout the morning my clothes were saturated.  I brought an old pair of hiking boots that too were soaked…so my body was damn cold by late morning. 

As soon as I got back to the car and took off my wet boots and pants, I didn’t have any dry clothes to put on, but…I didn’t care, Chaz was driving and I didn’t have to get out until we got back to the house.  That night we all went to Siloam Springs and ate at the Casino.  The next day, it was back to Mom’s kitchen for some coffee. I didn’t have time for breakfast, had to pack up and meet my sister Dawn and her husband for lunch in Tulsa.  I was flying out Tulsa at 5:30 p.m. to Seattle via Salt Lake City so lunch with Dawn was perfect.