Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Whistler, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member


    Luke Clayton

    Spanish Fort, Texas- Matt Brown’s pointing lab, Tex locked up on a stylish point that would have done a field trial English pointer proud. Outdoors writer Bob Hood and I eased closer for the shot and Matt blew his whistle, signaling the dog to move in and flush. A covey of quail burst from the briar patch and the still morning air was filled with that explosive, thrilling sound of fast beating wings. Way back in my subconscious, I heard another sound, more of a whistling wing beat, unlike the fast “drumming” of quail wings. Our little 20 gauges reported and a couple more fat quail were added to your game bag. Still reacting more on instinct than reasoning, my eyes were directed to the sky, in the direction that I had heard the “other” wingbeat, just in time to see a big flock of post season doves heading to the other side of a big field that was left fallow to natural weeds such as sunflower, dove weed and ragweed.


    “Good shooting, boys, Matt said as Tex made the second retrieve. “Did you see that big flock of doves? We have lots of dove wintering here because of the native seeds and supplemental planting of patches of wheat. Most of the time, Mother Nature will take care of wildlife, all that’s necessary is to leave areas alone for the growth of natural seed bearing weeds that all ground nesting birds feed on. Many of these doves stay here year-round, they nest and raise their young right here on the place.”

    The northern boundary of the S.M. Brown Game bird ranch is the Red River and in late summer, this watershed acts as a magnet for migrating doves. “The birds have everything they need here and that’s what makes the dove shooting so good. They can drink and get grit anywhere they wish along the River which, in late summer when conditions are often dry, is more like a stream. We hunt the bottoms along the river and often enjoy good shooting on birds coming to feed on the native vegetation from the river.”

    Matt Brown’s ranch is primarily an upland bird shooting operation, located north of Nocona, Texas, about 2 hours north of Dallas and Ft. Worth. Matt stocks quail, chuckars and pheasant and on the two visits I made to the ranch, shooting was very good, albeit challenging, thanks to the natural cover and hard flying birds. No “wind row” preserve type upland shooting here. These flight conditioned birds have the innate ability to put tree limbs and brush between themselves and the barrel of one’s shotgun! During dove season, Matt schedules a couple of big “Texas style” dove shoots complete with a big Barbeque lunch. He raises and trains German Wirehair Pointers and loves multiple purpose dogs such as Rex, his pointing lab.

    I’ve found that the same range management practices that help quail are also beneficial to dove. We keep birds here throughout the year and in the fall, this area is a natural stop-over for dove heading south.

    Regardless which part of the country I travel, I love to do a little “scouting” and learn about the area. The S.M. Brown Ranch has been a working Texas ranch for well over 100 years and the area is richly steeped in History. Comanche Indians crossed the Red River adjacent the ranch. Spanish Fort, which is today little more than a settlement, it located on the river a few miles from the ranch. I arrived in the area a couple hours ahead of time and drove to the old settlement and spend some time shooting photos and looking the area over. There’ a monument marking the site of the 1759 battle between the Indians and Spanish. Right across the road from this site is a building that was constructed in the late 1800’s. It was a general store years ago but on the sign, in very faded letters, I could make out the words “SPANISH FORT COON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION”. The place literally reeked with history and I would have given my best quail gun to spend some time inside the old building. I could only imagine the conservations and good times the old hunters must have had discussing everything from coon to doves in the old structure.

    Quail season ends this month and it’s been a less than stellar season for many of us. Bird numbers are much lower than last year, which was a banner season. Quail numbers fluctuate greatly and in years with plentiful spring and summer rainfall, they rebound quickly. Many of us that love hunting quail prefer to leave the “surviving” late season wild quail for seed birds for next year. That’s where well managed preserves such as the S.M. Brown Game Bird Ranch come in; the birds are plentiful, hard flying and a great alternative to hunting wild quail. Hunting here is also a great “off season” opportunity. Upland birds can be hunted on preserves past the regular season. The Brown Ranch will be conducting hunt through March, until the spring warm up makes it tough on the hard running pointers. Check out the S.M. Brown Game Bird Ranch online at or call Matt Brown at 940-966-3241.

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  2. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Looks like a great time!