I had an opportunity to visit with an old Aggie friend near Devine the other day. He wanted to know what the family place was worth in today’s market. As a Broker, I cannot give an “opinion of value” as we did in the old days, but can still offer my opinion of what it might bring, based solely on my experience in the field.
Mostly open country and in improved grasses, the place has poor curb appeal in today’s market. As I’ve said, in 35 years selling ranches in South Texas, I have only had three buyers specifically looking for cow places. Most buyers today want brush with the occasional field for a wildlife food plot. A serious bird hunter might go for this type of property, knowing he could stimulate weeds/flowers and woody cover over time, managing for quail. However, as this place has a creek running thru it and has highway frontage, it should appeal to a weekend rancher. This is the buyer that has always wanted to have a herd of cattle, to work the land and maximize grass production. Generally, they want to be close to home, and are usually successful in a totally unrelated field thus new to ranching.
And of course, with frontage, first thing I thought of was residential developers which, much as I hate the concept, is sometimes the highest and best use for a piece of land. Won’t work here though, as the creek is a mean one and most of the land is in a flood plain. No, this is a weekend ranchers kind of place with, as it turned out, good dove hunting because of native sunflowers. I gave the landowner a price but suggested he get it appraised before he decides to sell. Never hurts to get a professional to cover your posterior.
Once we got business out of the way, Ruby and I sat out by a nearly dry mudhole which, in South Texas today, is pure gold for dove. The drought has reduced many lakes to ponds and ponds to dry holes, so we were in a prime spot for the evening hunt. As you can see below, Ruby enjoyed actually seeing what few birds I could hit fall and retrieved them with no issue. Only four years old, she is beginning to associate the barrel of the gun with direction. Seeing them fall in that direction was a good lesson for her. Still wants to hunt when she’s out retrieving, something that will lessen with time. I never shoot when she’s out and I don’t ever use force or a shock collar, fully expecting she will mature into a dog that knows what is expected. Her predecessors picked up on it by age five and she may be sharper than my previous four Labs. She has the makings of a damn good dog.