A Hot Time in Crystal City by Jon Bryan
By chance, in 1990, I met up with a person I hadn’t seen in years, Eldred Lawrence. Eldred was a friend of my former father-in-law terms. Eldred was looking for another gun on a two thousand acre quail/dove lease in Crystal City Texas, boy did he find one! Layla and I drove down to look it over and quickly decided it would work out fine for us.
I was on this lease for three years and from the first hunt to the last, this consistently was some of the best shooting I have ever experienced. The lease was a three-hour plus drive from our home in Cypress, so I could leave at 5:00 a.m. and be hunting by 8:30 and be back by 8:30 p.m. Gasoline prices were around $.75 per gallon.
In January of 1992, my son Randy and I had planned a hunt to tie in with quail season and the special dove season, and as always, one of us had a conflict. He had to be back to Cypress by 6:00 p.m. for an event at the Northwest Baptist Church. Randy had received and accepted the call to enter the ministry, and had just entered the Southwest Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth. We decided to leave early and try to get away right after lunch.
Randy and I, along with Gus my brittany spaniel, were hunting as the sun came up and within an hour each had half of our limit of Quail. We were hunting around an old WW II Quonset hut that was full of milo seeds. Milo is a sorghum grass that heads out and is harvested for cattle food, white wing and mourning doves, along with quail find the seeds irresistible. As we walked toward the hut we could see the doves swarming around it.
Randy picked a spot at one end of the hut and I got on the other, the shooting was fast and furious and within thirty minutes we each had our limits of twelve birds. We took a break and compared notes; it was almost too easy we said.
Gus was worn out from retrieving doves. He would sit by my leg, run out and get each bird I shot and run back to let me take it from his mouth. He was coughing and spitting out feathers, because when a dog picks up a dove, his teeth will cause the feathers to come out in his mouth. We had a time limit and our dog was worn out, so I revived him with a can of dog food and soon he’s ready to hunt some more.
Randy and I enjoyed the break and by 10:00 a.m. we were chasing quail. The first covey we found were scaled, scalies or blue quail, which are notorious runners and the race was on. The bob whites on this lease were excellent runners, but the “scalies” left them in the dust. This covey ran us and left us panting but we thinned their numbers by four birds. Soon we found another covey of bobs and we filled our limit.
Taking stock of our situation we found that we each had our limit of doves and limit of quail. Looking at our watches we saw it was 11:00 a.m. so we sat down to skin the quail and breast the doves. By noon our hands were washed, the birds were on ice, and we were headed home.
Randy made his activity on time. Since 2004, Randy has been Pastor of The Fellowship of San Marcos Church in San Marcos, Texas.
Four limits in four hours, on two species of game, still stands as a family record.