Night Hawk Stories... Entry 38
Why This Area is a Video Paradise
EDITOR'S NOTE: How much does taking a trophy buck cost a hunter? You may not truly want to know. If you calculate the prices of transportation, food, lodging, a lease, a hunting license, time away from work and other expenses of taking a trophy white-tailed buck, you'll find that the average hunter spends a minimum of between $2,000 and $5,000 a year - whether he's hunting with a bow, a black-powder gun or conventional weapon. Since often a deer hunter will hunt for five to 20 years attempting to take a trophy buck, that buck can cost from $25,000 to $100,000. Think about how many years you may hunt without bagging a big buck. Then you'll realize how much money, time and energy go toward that one opportunity to bag the buck of lifetime with your bow.
Terry Rohm of Madison, Georgia, the public-relations director for Wellington Outdoors, the maker of Tink's and Ben Lee hunting products, has made several videos for his company at the Ford and Quinn ranches.
"People like to see big, live deer on our videos," Rohm explained. "I don't know of any other place where we can video as many huge bucks as we can at the Ford Ranch. If you want to take a trophy buck, I don't believe you can find that opportunity any cheaper than at the Ford."
Rohm mentioned that on the drive to the Ford and Quinn ranches you'll view the type of terrain you'll hunt during the 2 1/2-hour drive from the airport in San Antonio to this part of central Texas. You'll see rolling hills, scrub oak and brush like you'll find at the ranches.
"If the conditions are right, you also will see deer while you're driving in to the ranch," Rohm said.
"A first-timer will really be surprised at the number of bucks he'll see that will score 120 to 150 points on the B & C scale," Rohm reiterated. "In this setting, you can see so many big bucks that you learn a tremendous amount about how they move and what they do."
In one of the videos Rohm produced at the Ford Ranch, he took Dave Butts, a former Washington Redskins football player who never had taken a whitetail, with him. Rohm and Butts went to a thick-cover area where Rohm began to rattle. Less than 10 minutes after Rohm began, a 152-class buck came running in, and Butts took him.
"For a hunter who has never experienced the excitement of rattling antlers to draw in big bucks, the Ford Ranch is the place to go," Rohm advised. "That buck Butts took had long tines with sticker points coming off the main beams. And that's another advantage of hunting at the Ford. Forrest Armke makes sure that some of the big bucks with wide antlers, split tines and dropped tines are left to reproduce each season. You can really see some nice racks when you hunt at the Ford."
Rohm cautions first-time Ford hunters to look carefully at the deer before they decide which buck to shoot. Because of the small trees and small-bodied deer, the bucks' racks often look much bigger than they will in more traditional deer-hunting settings.
"If a buck has antlers that will score 120 to 140 points and a body that weighs only 90 to 100 pounds, that size antlers will look monstrous," Rohm suggested. "So if you haven't seen many big-antlered deer before, these deer will look like gorillas compared to most of the ones in the East. I believe most hunters are willing to pay the price of a hunt like this just to see so many big, free-ranging bucks at one place and one time, even if they don't fire a shot."
You can contact the Ford Ranch at (915) 286-4572 and the Quinn Ranch at (915) 597-2647.