Getting to know… Joshua Creek Ranch – Boerne Texas
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Located in the renowned Texas Hill Country, Joshua Creek Ranch’s combination of pristine landscape, outstanding cuisine and up-scale lodging offers a hunting experience unlike any other.
The ranch boasts a uniquely diverse terrain, including miles of Joshua Creek and Guadalupe River bottomland planted in fields of grain crops for prime pheasant habitat; limestone bluffs that rise to oak and elm studded pastures lush with prairie grasses – perfect quail hunting cover; and densely wooded areas conducive to Texas deer hunting.
Black’s Wing & Clay Waterfowl sat down with Ann Kercheville, half of the Joshua Creek Ranch ownership team, to find out a little more about their unique destination.
BWCW: How did your preserve get its start?
Joshua Creek Ranch: My husband Joe and I bought the ranch in 1986 as a place to settle in and raise longhorn cattle. Two events triggered the decision to change our intentions for the ranch. First, Texas went into a deep depression, which meant we couldn’t sell our smaller ranch nor could we make good on our original intentions for Joshua Creek. Second, about the same time we travelled to Scotland for a driven pheasant shoot and fell in love with the experience. While there we encountered many U.S. citizens travelling to do the same. Upon our return, we realized the diversity of our property could offer a similar experience in the heart of Texas Hill Country. So it was really driven pheasant shooting that spurred the idea of Joshua Creek Ranch, which officially opened in 1990.
BWCW: Describe the amenities of your operation.
JCR: This is Texas. You can’t have wingshooting in Texas without quail, which is our biggest volume of hunting. We also offer a mixed bag hunt on a variety of terrain for quail, chukar and pheasant, which is a very popular option. Our wingshooting season runs from October through March. Of course, Sporting Clays is big year-round. Joshua Creek Ranch features a 12-station automated course available to guests, and we occasionally host larger events. We also offer hunts for native Whitetail deer, and Axis deer were introduced to area and have really taken off in this habitat. Summer is prime time for Axis, and our entire property is low fence, free range. Rainbow trout are stocked in Joshua Creek, a spring-fed creek that runs for 2 miles through the ranch. Guest are able to canoe, kayak and tube on the Guadalupe River, which serves as the property’s northern boundary.
Lodging on the property has evolved over the years – we started with the original house, built in 1950, featuring limestone walls and natural stone flooring; the home’s two large bedrooms serve as bunkrooms. We reconfigured the stable to accommodate lodging by building 6 en suites, and we recently constructed three guest houses – a 3-bedroom, a 2-bedroom, and a 1-bedroom model – as we do not mix parties.
BWCW: What is appealing about your location?
JCR: The Texas hill country is probably the greatest surprise to people who have not been to Texas. Most people picture [Texas as] a great open treeless space. Hill Country is live oak trees, rolling hills, springs, and spring-fed creeks and rivers – very un-typical of what people visualize. Our property is cut almost in two by Joshua Creek, which is lined almost entirely with Cypress trees. On either side is flood plain – open fields and river bottom land. In several places, big limestone rock bluffs rise above dry creek beds, which we use for driven bird shoots. And the rolling hills feature lightly wooded grass pastures – perfect for walk-up hunting with pointing and flushing dogs. Fields are planted with bird cover crops, alternating strips of oats & wheat. Even invasive juniper is used to our advantage to create breaks between hunting pastures. The diversity of the property is simply incredible.