We just got back from the Texas Trophy Hunter's Extravaganza in Fort Worth. It was a great time, and as always we met and shot the breeze with many people. It is a good way to kick off the new hunting season.
It's also a time where my friends love to tease me about being called The Legend. We laugh and cut up the whole weekend. I always have had a soft spot for Ft. Worth. My unbelievably beautiful wife and I tied the knot there 41 years ago and I have many fond memories.
Speaking of memories, I started remembering that time in 1976 - or actually the year - before when I was a senior at Texas A&M University. I worked a construction job that summer and made some good money. I used that money wisely on beer, whiskey and a first class goose lease in Katy, Texas.
The first day of the season arrived and the four of us got an easy limit of 20 geese. The next day my friend and mentor, Jack Hawkins, invited me to go hunting. It turned out that Jack was on the same lease, so we went back to the same spot.
The hunting was fast and furious but as the sun got higher and higher we still needed two more birds. Then they showed up - two beautiful eagle-headed, blue geese. Jack and I called and here they came. Honed by years of hunting together, we both shot at the same time, both birds folded and the hunt was over.
As it turned out that was my last hunt with Jack. He had a massive heart attack and died that summer. The memory of those two birds folding clean is burned in my mind and a wonderful memory of my friend.
I think the times when I get to visit with friends and fellow goose hunting enthusiasts that I am reminded of how much I love waterfowl hunting. Yes, figuring out what the birds will do next is always exciting, but at the end of the day, I really just enjoy the time spent with friends and family.
This is a family business. My daughter and grandson work for the company. The guides who work for us are good friends, and have been for years. My other daughter can answer the phones or head out to the field at a moments notice, because waterfowl hunting, especially goose hunting, is in our blood.
In my years of hunting in the field, or going to the different outdoor shows, I can recall most of the business, yes; but what I really recall is the laughter, the smiles and the excitement.
That my friends, is what makes this business and hunting, all worth it.