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John's Journal... Entry 250, Day 1


Cattle Operation for Hunting Mecca

The Ford Ranch produces huge trophy bucksEditor's Note: I've discovered the mystical Valhalla of the Vikings' dreams. In Norse mythology, Odin chose great warriors to come to his Great Hall, Valhalla, the resting place of brave Viking warriors, to rest and enjoy recreation before finally going to heaven. There they could eat, drink and fight because this magical place renewed everything the following morning, including the healing of their wounds from the "battles" of that day. At today's Valhalla for sportsmen, the Ford Ranch in Melvin, Texas, a deer hunter may say, "I can see more bucks in four hours of hunting in either the morning or the afternoon than I'll see in two to five years of hunting at home." Or, he may tell the other hunters, "I've never seen as many trophy bucks in all my life as here at the Ford Ranch. None of my friends will believe the number of bucks I've seen and passed-up." The Ford Ranch produces some of the biggest trophy bucks and the largest number of turkeys of any area I know of in the nation. But what type of management program does the ranch use to yield these numbers of big bucks and gobbling birds? Come back each day this week, and I'll answer this question and more and show you how you can use the buffalo effect on your lands to improve your wildlife.

People are stunned by the amount of bucks at Ford RanchI asked Forrest Armke, manager of the Ford Ranch since 1985, this question. He explained that, "We use a holistic system of land management that takes advantage of the buffalo effect on the land and produces more-nutritious grass than anything I know of for our deer, our turkeys and our cattle." The Ford Ranch consistently produces more than 100-trophy bucks each and every year that will score from 110 to 170 on the Boone & Crockett scale for its hunters. This desert ranch, once located at the end of the cattle drive trail, now homes as many, if not more, big deer as it does beef cattle.

A Buck on Ford RanchA Mecca For Hunters As Well As An Active Cattle Operation:
Armke explains that the Ford Ranch's cattle have as much notoriety as does its trophy bucks. "We have 1200 mother cows and 200 heifers on our ranch currently. The cattle are broken down into four herds. We have 29,000 acres of land on the property that we rest and keep the cattle off of at any time. Each one of the four herds will feed on an 800-acre pasture for 7 to 10 days, depending on the time of year. Then we pull the cows off that pasture for 60 to 80 days to let the pasture recover. Because of the cattle-management system we are using, we produce what is known as a buffalo effect on our pastures. This buffalo effect has a dual-purpose of helping manage both our cattle population and our deer population."

To learn more about the Ford Ranch, contact Forest Armke, Route 1 Box 81, Melvin, Texas, 76858, Phone: (325) 276-4572, or visit the Web site at www.fordranchhunting.net.




Check back each day this week for more about THE BUFFALO EFFECT FOR DEER MANAGEMENT ...

Day 1 - Cattle Operation for Hunting Mecca
Day 2 - What Is The Buffalo Effect
Day 3 - Predator Control: A Must
Day 4 - Expectations Of The Ford Ranch
Day 5 - My First Morning's Hunt

John's Journal