The west boundary of my District ran down the Rio Grande from north of Del Rio to south of Laredo at Roma and Zapata. It was the best hunting area of all the districts. Whenever any of the Brass from New York or St Louis came to Texas, they had one of two objectives. Either they wanted to go to Mexico or, during the season, they wanted to go hunting. Either way, they needed a guide so these duties fell to me. If it was Mexico, I had to see that they got back to the Texas side in one piece. If hunting, I had to see that they did not kill one another. A friend of mine by the name of Kincade owned the largest ranch in the county. His family had ranched that country since the mid 1800’s. He was good enough to let me take Telephone Company officials out to his place to hunt. As a matter of fact, the North and South Zone line for doves ran right through the middle of his ranch.
I would take a group of men out there and would station them around a lake far enough apart to not shoot one another. Then I would go to the south end of the lake and go behind the dam, where I would sit down with my back against the dam with my trusty old double barrel. This was the same gun I had used in high school. After a little bit, I would hear a shot at the far north end and then bam-bam-bam, right down the lake towards the dam. The birds would come over the dam headed south, and I had a perfect going away shot which is the easiest shot to make. This would go on for three or four hours, and about sundown I would gather the guys up. As I picked them up, there would be shell casings all around them. There is no telling how many boxes of shells they shot. My game bag would be full, so I could give each whatever they needed to fill their limit. We would head over to the ranch, and a Mexican cook would fix supper for them, using the dove they had shot.
One time, a Vice President from New York came out to a meeting in Uvalde and someone made the mistake of asking him about pickles. Turns out he considered himself the world’s greatest expert on pickles. We left that evening for Del Rio and Villa Acuna. (Later Ciudad Acuna). Mrs. Crosby’s was the restaurant everyone went to, and he wanted to have supper there. There were four of us plus the VP in the car and, for an hour and a half all we heard was more and more about pickles. We finally got to Mexico and Mrs. Crosby’s and sat down for dinner. They always put several bowls of uncut Jalapeno peppers on the table. The VP says’” What are those”? I don’t know for sure, it may have been me, but someone said, “Those are Mexican pickles.”
With that, he grabs one and before anyone can say a word he pops it into his mouth and starts chewing. It took about three good chews and he come right up out of his chair, turning it over. He spits his Mexican pickles on the floor and reaches over and drinks my beer. He breaks out in a sweat, his face is bright red and, as he grabs someone’s water he says, “Really, fellows! I am on fire, I am in trouble!” Everyone is laughing and hooting and hollering. The Mexican police come in and I am afraid we are in more trouble that we bargained for. I explain to the policia what happened and he breaks out laughing. I have to say the VP was a good sport, but we did not hear much from him the rest of the evening.
Hunting zone map found here.
Dove hunting photo found here.
Photo of Mrs. Crosby’s found here.
Photo of jalepenos found here.