Articles

Deja Vu All Over Again

It is deja vu all over again at Rockpile Ranch. We just received a nice 3 inch rain on Rockpile after a hot, dry Summer. The difference is, this time the rain was followed by very cool nights, 43 this morning, with a chance of a freeze tonight. Unfortunately, this rain will not revive the […]

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Quailpro LLC Now Offers Concierge Brokerage Service to Ranch Buyers.

Brokers/agencies that advertise ranches represent the SELLER, not you. I can represent YOU at no cost, giving you the edge when looking, negotiating, and buying your ranch. Ranches are complex, made up of location, soils, vegetation, weather, history, improvements, minerals, and price. Everybody should have experienced advice when comparing ranches. With 35 years as a […]

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Bootcamp for Ruby (and her boss!)

In spite of Covid and social unrest, my thoughts are turning to a cold drink and a hot shotgun on the edge of a stocktank or sunflower field.  Summer is upon us and we only have to endure another six weeks and bird season is here!  What better way to social distance than sitting on […]

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Two Months and a Lifetime Ago

Exactly two months ago today, March 15, Eileen and I were enjoying Spring Break at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi.  I had recently helped close on a nice ranch in Bee Co., and Eileen was battling several “problem children” at the university, so the break was appreciated and overdue. The food was wonderful, the weather […]

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Back on Stage

For the second time this week, I was asked to speak to a gathering, this time to the South Texas Area Farm and Ranch Club. Unlike my workshop with the best and brightest from St. Mary’s Business School, this presentation was about my career as a biologist specializing on Bobwhite quail. As this audience came […]

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Return to School

Today I returned to St. Mary’s University to speak to seniors in the Greehey School of Business.  The visit, as it was last year, is a chance for two-way communication between a decidedly seasoned businessman and the best and brightest new marketing consultants soon to be released into the real world. Primary topic was my […]

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Nov. 10, Happy Birthday, Marines!

Long, long ago, in a place far, far away called California, I had the honor of commanding some fine young Marines in the First Platoon, Bravo Co., First Tank Battalion, First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton.  Like me, some passed thru the Marine Corps briefly, others made it a lifetime vocation.  Life as a Marine […]

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Rain!

What impact will the recent rain have on South Texas?  Coming in early Fall, after a very dry Summer, the moisture will still be effective due to the continued warmer temperatures.  Had it come much later, cooler temps would have negated much of the impact short term.  Moisture is always welcome, but, like fixing a […]

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Ruby is Five Years Old Today!

Such an amazing dog that has enriched and no doubt lengthened my life. A bit standoffish at first, she has warmed up to me and Eileen a lot in five years. Sometimes, she still thinks she is a puppy and curls up in her tiny puppy bed. Other times, she is the Master of the […]

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Ranch Prices and the Covid Virus

As coffee shops across Texas reopen, talk will center on the effects of the pandemic on the economy.  Closer to home, my conversations with friends and clients often focus on how Covid will affect ranch prices.  A common hope among sellers is that it will have little effect while among buyers, the hope is for […]

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An Investment You Can Eat On

We are unfortunately living in times of great uncertainty.  Concerns about our health, our finances, and our families and future are at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts.  I am blessed to have a small tract of land near the house and can drive out and escape the craziness on the web and on TV.  Should […]

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Are Ranch Brokers Obsolete?

For many years, residential property sales were dominated by the agent.  The listing agent listed a house, a buyer’s agent brought a buyer, and after some negotiation, the sale went through, over and over millions of times a year across the U.S..  In the Digital Age, that scenario may be on the way out as […]

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Book Excerpt: When to Buy Your Ranch

Section III.  Timing Your Purchase and Improvements Does it make any difference when you buy your ranch, when you high fence a ranch, when you dig a new stocktank?  In this section, I provide some suggestions as to when to implement your plans, either for buying or developing your new ranch. Ch. 3-1:  When to […]

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St. Louis Day 2019

The long shovels are stacked and waiting and the pits (actually re-purposed B-52 engine shipping containers) are relatively cold now.  Later this evening, a huge bonfire will be lit to much celebration and the coals will be loaded tonight.  Carefully tended by parishioners doing jobs handed down for generations, the long shovel handles will not […]

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Still Too Early to Shred

Saw this guy dart across the road on the Rockpile and drop into the first cover he hit.  Still very young and, as you can see, still in the “freezing” mode.  I drove up at took this pic leaning out the window and he never budged.  So I ask my readers to hold off another […]

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Spot Check of Habitat Conditions

In my travels this week, I have been from Castroville to Encino, down to Pearsall, back to Falfurrias, then out to D’hanis and of course to my small place south of Castroville.  Key indicators I look for are native sunflower and croton. Overall conditions are very good and remain green although there are some dry […]

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Bobwhites are Pairing Up!

   I am getting reports that pairs of Bobwhites are showing up all over South Texas so with eternal optimism, I pray for a great hatch.  Last season was very bad over most of Texas, even in areas where the birds normally do well.  As usual, I get reports of pairs where people say there […]

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Chapter 2-4. Managing Whitetail Deer

 Over the course of 35 years in the wildlife consulting business, I have seen management emphasis change from cow-calf operations with deer leasing as an adjunct to pure deer programs with no cows and the agricultural exemption from ad valorem taxes granted for wildlife management alone.  Whitetail deer are big business in Texas, all over […]

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Early Return of Cows to the Rockpile

Last summer I had the ‘guest cows’ removed early due to a lack of rain. Of course, it started raining soon thereafter and it was a wet winter. Ponds are still going around and there is a surplus of cured forage going to waste. What I hope to achieve is a reduction of surplus that […]

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Here, piggy, piggy, piggy!

As part of the monthly meeting of the Texas Alliance of Land Brokers, some 60 farm and ranch brokers were updated on current research into the “control” of feral pigs by the “chief pig biologist” at the Kerr Wildlife Mgmt. Area near Hunt, Texas. As anyone who has spent time in the outdoors in Texas […]

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Ch. 2-3. Managing Vegetation.

   I’m sure you’ve heard it said that nothing is constant in Nature.  Your piece of Nature is no exception and is constantly changing, even though day to day it may appear to be the same.  Some changes are relatively rapid, such as grass growing.  Others are slower, such as the filling of a pond […]

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Back to Quail Nirvana

At a clients request, I drove to Aspermont to preview a ranch that has just come on the market. Although a long way from South Texas, I always enjoy the drive and seeing some really good country. This place is ideal for quail, composed entirely of Nobscot sand, key to quail numbers in that part […]

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The Last Retrieve

I have two Labrador retrievers and I love to hunt birds. Zucker, (German for “sugar”), is 13 and ‘Becca is 5. I like to stagger my dogs as I’ve found having a young pup keeps an older dog frisky longer while the presence of a mature dog helps calm a young one. Zucker is pretty […]

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Managing the Smaller Ranch

While it is a fact that most of us Texans or Texas-transplants cannot own a 10,000 acre spread, or a 1,000 acres for that matter, does not mean we cannot manage and enjoy what piece of this great State we are lucky enough to own. Whether you own 30 acres or 300, there are still […]

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Chapter 2-2.  Developing Your Water Assets.

That living chunk of dirt with all its inhabitants that you just bought, now known as “The Ranch”, can get along for a time without food, but not without water.  Certainly, rainfall will replenish moisture in the soil, which takes care of the amoebas, worms and insects.  Others, like Bobwhites, snakes and javelina, get by […]

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Chapter 2-1:  What IS a Ranch?

Now that you own a ranch, what is a ranch, what is it you own?  A ranch, be it 10 acres or 10,000 acres is a living machine.  It takes in moisture and sunlight and converts them into food, food for animals, insects, and plants.  Such a machine is known as an ecosystem. A square […]

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Bluebonnets Are Up!

Some may not know that Bluebonnets actually sprout about now and lie close to the ground until Spring.  So, if you’re giving your lawn one last cutting before Winter, set it high so you don’t damage young Bluebonnets. Out on the range, look for young native sunflower that has a similar life history, sprouting in […]

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6,000 Acres of the Best Hunting in South Texas

I really love my job!  Yesterday I had the pleasure of showing 6,000 acres of ideal quail habitat deep inside the King Ranch to a prospect.  We drove for miles through great habitat that, after 30 inches of rain, has never looked better.  In fact, this ranch needs only judicious grazing/burning/discing to make it the […]

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An Old Farts Sojurn into Social Media

I had the pleasure of addressing a senior marketing class recently at St. Mary’s University.  Subject of the class was how a “mature” businessman adjusts to social media and makes it effective in a small business.  Lots of good questions from the class and suggestions for me to improve my public image.  Best response of […]

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Living With the Sleeping Giant

As a ranch broker with 30+ years’ experience in South Texas, and a Certified Wildlife Biologist specializing in the red sandy country, my business has been directly impacted by developments over the Eagle Ford Shale.  I remember the last oil boom, the Austin Chalk. Although on a smaller scale, that boom occurred over much of […]

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Ruby Turns 3!

Sharing your life with a good dog is like having a non-judgmental best friend that just doesn’t talk much.  Ruby is finally out of the puppy stage and has matured into a companion looking for ways to please.

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Chapter 5: Making the Deal

After an exhaustive search, you’ve found a ranch located in the area you want, priced no more than 20% above your purchase limit, and has the soils, vegetation, and improvements that you desire.  More importantly, you “like” this ranch.  It is time to buy the place and get on with enjoying it. The Farm and […]

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Chapter 4, Choosing YOUR Ranch

Once you and your Broker have found several ranches that seem to fit your requirements, it is time to take a look, a “showing”.  A showing is when you finally get to take a tour of the property.  Usually on the first showing, both the Listing Broker and the Buyer’s Broker will be present.  Follow-up […]

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When It’s Time to Sell Your Ranch

After 25 years representing ranch buyers across Central and South Texas, I’ve heard any number of reasons the ranch is for sale.  Sometimes the owners have accomplished all they set out to do, they have their trophies and have come to know all the deer on the place.  Or, they may get too old to […]

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Chapter 3, The Prospectus

Chapter 1-3.  The Prospectus The prospectus, or “package”, is a valuable tool in looking for a ranch.  When I started in the business back in the 80’s, packages were paper and consisted of a text description of the ranch, some deer pics, a location map, and a topo.  Now, with advances in technology, a “package” […]

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Chapter 2, Setting the Parameters

O.K., now you have decided on one Broker to represent you in the search for and purchase of your “dream” ranch.  You have ensured that this broker has participated in the sale/purchase of similar properties in the past in the areas you prefer. I harp on experience for several reasons, one in particular.  As a […]

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The Last Retrieve

I have two Labrador retrievers and I love to hunt birds.  Zucker, (German for “sugar”), is 13 and ‘Becca is 5.  I like to stagger my dogs as I’ve found having a young pup keeps an older dog frisky longer while the presence of a mature dog helps calm a young one. Zucker is pretty […]

Read more »