Summer 2022 - 4R Ranch Newsletter
Hello everyone. I trust this note finds all of you and your families in good health.
Hot and dry! This is no new news for those of you who live in the great state of Texas, but wow! Living on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert can be humbling at times, and this is one of those times. Back in 2010-2011 when the last drought broke, a wise old man (my father) told me that if I were lucky, I’d live long enough to see another drought. He was right, and so goes life in the Texas Hill Country.
The drought has forced us to liquidate the majority of our cattle. We have sold all of our heifers, and many older mama cows leaving us with a mere 32 mama cows and 2 bulls. We pulled all the cattle off the 4R, and moved them over to the Home Place in April to let our hunting courses grow as much cover as possible. It is the first time we have had to empty the pastures of cattle at the 4R, but at the end of the day, cattle are a love of life and more a decoration for ranches than an enterprise needed to put a roof over our heads. I have learned the hard way that you can always get back in the cattle business, but you can go broke feeding them.
The coming season will be the first in 16 years without my right hand man Scotty. He left in April, and is moving his family to his hometown of Three Rivers. His goal is to find a vocation that will allow him more time with his family, and to be closer to his father in Ingleside. We cannot say thanks enough to Scotty for all he has done for the 4R. He will be missed!
Our son Nathan has filled the hole left by Scotties departure. This move was one Jill and I had hoped for at some point in the future, and the future turned out to be now. Nate was raised on the ranch and started guiding deer hunts when he was just a kid of 13. He grew up hunting quail, and has embraced the new role he will play as dog handler versus shooter. He is excited to be back at the ranch in his new role, and we are abundantly happy to have him.
The news from the kennels is one of excited anticipation. We kept 7 Cocker pups from last falls litters, and they will all be ready to fill their roles in the hunting string come November. I am lucky my bride is a patient woman that loves dogs. Having 7 Cockers puppies at the house was like having a small demolition crew constantly at work. Her flowers, plants, hoses, the siding of the house were all fair game to the pups. Luckily for them, Jill understands they will be helping pay the bills, and thus didn’t knock any of them in the head with a shovel!
In addition to the Cockers, we have the best crop of young Pointers entering the string that I can remember. Chief, Little Joe, Jefe, Bob and Cotton are just a few of the new names you will be hearing this fall. They are all stylish Pointers, have great noses and hunt big. These are the kind of dogs that make me look smart. For those of you that know me, understand that is a feat in itself. We look forward to showing them off come November!
We are normally in the middle of projects in our hunting courses at this stage of the summer, but there are no weeds to spray, the scrub oaks have not put out new growth, so no hedging. To fill the void, Jill had a new deck put on the lodge (with rails), the boys slapped a new coat of paint on the lodge, and we just finished building a pheasant barn. Not to be emotional, but when we finished the pheasant barn, I cried tears of joy. Now I hid my head so the boys couldn’t see me crying, but I did shed a few tears. That barn could not have been more exposed to the sun had you put it on the highest hill. Holy cow! I used to laugh at the fools who would get excited for the weekend marathon for “Breaking Bad”. Sign me up! 104 on Saturday when we put the last touches on the barn. Es muy caliente orita!
The ammo situation seems to be loosening up, but I would recommend anytime you are in a Walmart/Academy to check out their selection of shotgun shells. It has been a dogs breakfast as far as selection of shell availability, so take advantage while you can before the dove hunters start scooping up all the available shells.
I promised some folks to give a list of the best history reads I’ve been able to enjoy this summer. Here are a few and they are all great history books!
- In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides
- The Apache Wars by Paul Andrew Hutton
- Killing Crazy Horse by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
In closing, I would like to thank all of you for choosing the 4R to spend some of your precious free time. Jill and I are always humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to host your hunts, and look forward to seeing you all this season!
Adios for now,
Deryl & Jill
Posted in: News