Texas Ram Hunt
Jim, Eric, and Derrick travel down to Texas Hill Country for a ram
hunt at the Wildlife Ranch, and to tape footage for the Bigbore
Airgun Adventure video series.
After our last big bore hunting trip in North Texas, Eric
Henderson and I had agreed to set up another hunt in
the not too distant future. The phone rang a couple
weeks later and it was Eric saying that heÂ’d found a
new ranch to hunt down in the Texas Hill Country south
of Dallas, with several species of exotic ram. It
sounded like fun and we set a date to coincide with my
next trip to Dallas. Eric told me that there was another
hunter that wanted to join us, a sixteen year old named
Derrick that post on the yellow forum under the handle
of Stealth, and what did I think of him coming along? I
said that it was fine by me, so the arrangements were
made to hunt as a trio.

Eric picked me up at the hotel on Friday morning and
we headed over to the huge bass pro shop to pick up
my license and do some window shopping before
getting on the road. The cost of a five day exotic game
license is $45.00, so I paid my dues and was set to
go. Our next stop was to swing by DerrickÂ’s house,
meet his folks, get his gear loaded up, and depart for
our journey south. The ranch we were going to hunt
was about a four hour drive from Dallas, and we were
loaded up in EricÂ’s truck for the ride down in no time
flat.

The ranch we were hunting is called the Wildlife Ranch
in Mason Texas. The name is a bit of a misnomer as
the ranch  actually consists of about 20 ranches under
high and low fence. This was something I was unsure
of, having never hunted this type of preserve before. I
told Eric in an earlier discussion that I wasnÂ’t going to
shoot caged animals, to which he told me that would
not be the case and that the ranches were actually
quite large. Once I saw the area I was satisfied that
this would be a fair hunt, the ranch sections were
anywhere from a couple of hundred to over a thousand
acres including some very rugged terrain. The game
which was available included several exotic varieties
such as axis and fallow deer and various types of
antelope, but we were here after rams. And again there
was a great deal of variety such as; New Zealand
mountain sheep, aoudad, mouflon, Moreno, Catalina,
Hawaiian Blacks, four horn, Texas Dall, and Corsican,
to choose from.

As we neared our destination I was getting a warm
fuzzy feeling just rolling into Mason; there were hunting
stores, guide services, taxidermy shops, and signs
that said welcome hunters everywhere. On arriving at
the Wildlife Ranch office on the townÂ’s main street we
met the owners/guides Jim and Nancy. Nancy was
going to be our guide on the hunt and after sign in took
us over to our bunk house to get settled. The bunk
house had a bit of character, having been built with
cinderblock and fiber board in a style reminiscent of
Soweto, and while not luxurious was comfortable
enough. The first thing we saw when checking the
bathroom was a snake sliding away through a hole in
the wall. Nancy said “oh, it’s just a rat snake”,
however IÂ’ve always liked reptiles and wouldnÂ’t have
really cared what type of snake it was. However the
next revelation troubled me deeply Â….. she explained
both that the bunkhouse had country plumbing and
what that meant. The bunk house was a few miles out
of town on ranch property owned by NancyÂ’s family,
and before leaving she told us that we could hunt
coyote, bobcat, rabbits, and raccoons on the land if we
liked. Then she climbed into her truck and headed
back to town with the plan to hook up with us at the
local meeting place for guides, outfitters, and hunters
called Zavalas. I came to know Zavalas quite well by
the time we departed, having eaten every breakfast,
lunch and dinner there between Friday and Sunday. It
was pretty cool, sitting around in cammo eating
guacamole enchiladas (almost worth the trip by
themselves) and talking about hunting! We came up
with a plan of action by the time we wrapped up dinner
and headed back to our quarters, the next morning we
would meet (at Zavalas of course) for breakfast and
drive to the ranch we would be hunting. We would drive
and hike the ranch to find the quarry of choice, then
either stalk through the scrub oak and hills studded
with granite outcroppings to work inside of shooting
range, or if we could not find the right trophy look for
new hunting grounds.

With plan in place we headed back home again with
the idea being to grab the guns, spot lights and call
before going out in pursuit of predators. Nancy said
that weÂ’d do them a favor by taking out any coyotes,
bobcats, or raccoons we could find, and that we
should likewise feel free to take any rabbits we
happened upon. So loading up EricÂ’s truck we were
soon rolling slowly along the dirt ranch roads in search
of game. We saw a couple of rabbits; I rolled a large
jackrabbit over using the DAQ .22 XL Sporter, hitting
with a lung shot, then blowing a second opportunity
Â…. Which was my fault and not the guns. We set up
and Eric started calling using a rabbit distress while
sweeping the area with red filtered lights. After about
ten or fifteen minutes he switched over to howling and
yelping which brought a far away response pretty
quickly. This was repeated a few times without ever
getting a yote in to range, so we decided to call it a
night (about 1:00 am, so actually a morning) and get
some rest before the alarm pulled us from our sleep.
A trip to Texas and a
hunt with the
Wildlife Ranch Inc.
Eric, Derrick, and I pull up to our home away from home.
The bunkhouse sits on a different ranch than where the
hunts take place, and offers a palace to sight in, varmint
hunt, hike and fish in the off ours.
The landscape of the ranch was live oak and granite
outcrops over a a backdrop of rolling hills. There was
also a lot of cactus waiting to stick you, so make sure you
bring heavy boots if you come out here to hunt.
Glassing the country looking for a herd of rams. Once
your quarry has been located the stalk starts. There are
several types of rams to be found on the different
properties. The Wildlife Ranch Outfitters hunt over twenty
different area ranches.