Articles

Mixing Business with Pleasure (and Ruby)

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 […]

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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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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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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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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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Chapter 1-6.  Actions before and After Closing

Once you have reached an agreement with the Seller and the contract has been receipted at a title company, there are several actions you need to monitor. First of all, ensure that a surveyor has been retained and has all the documentation possible to do his job. Even if the Seller is paying for the […]

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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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Easy Way to Add Wildlife Water in Remote Areas

A wildlife rain water collection system need not be a major project.  Below are pictures of a “wildlife guzzler” I build in remote areas that are short of well water or ponds.  FYI, a one inch rain on a 10 ft. by 12 ft. roof will yield 75 gallons of water! Start with 6 “T” […]

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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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Managing Wildlife in South Texas on a Budget

You cannot help but to notice that the economy is in the news. On every talk show, in every paper, and leading off most newscasts is a gloomy report on the economy. If you have not been affected, that’s great; hopefully it won’t be too bad in Texas. If it does strike home, and you […]

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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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Living With the Sleeping Giant, Buying a Ranch in the Eagle Ford

As a ranch broker with 25 years’ experience in South Texas, and a Certified Wildlife Biologist specializing in the red sandy country, my business has been directly impacted by the recent developments over the Eagle Ford Shale.  I remember the last oil boom, the Austin Chalk.  Although on a smaller scale, that boom occurred over […]

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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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Finding, Buying, and Developing a Ranch in South Texas, Chapter 1

Chapter One:  Getting Started. Buying a ranch is often the greatest investment a buyer will make in his or her lifetime and should not be undertaken lightly.  Admittedly, while ranches are simply toys for some people, land ownership and the transfer of ownership is serious business.  Unlike a car, you cannot just “take it back” […]

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