My Blog

DEER AND QUAIL AND TURKEY, OH MY!

RUBY IS READY TO START THE HOLIDAYS WITH A LONG HUNT THRU THE GREAT OUTDOORS. HOPE YOU ALL ARE WELL AND HAVE FRIENDS AND FOOD TO BE THANKFUL FOR, JIM

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Remembering Zucker on Opening Day

On opening day of the South Zone dove season, I have to look back at one of my best dogs and share again the tale of her last outing.

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Drought, Snow, and Floods, OH MY! Results At Rockpile Ranch.

I reported in an earlier post that the recent rains, following a significant drought, had resulted in abundant Three-seed croton in South Texas. A little further to the north at the Rockpile, the drought was of course followed initially by a severe freeze/snow event lasting several days then a cumulative rain of some 14 inches! […]

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Fawn Season; Pause Mowing and Shredding for a Week or Two

It’s that time of year again; time when does leave their fawns for a nap, sometimes in odd places. And either I’m getting better at spotting them, or there are more fawns this year. Two new ones on my morning walk today at Regional Park here in Castroville. So, leave mowing that vacant field for […]

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Blog Post: Managing Bobwhite Quail on a Smaller Tract in South Texas

   Quail are in trouble in South-Central Texas and it can be frustrating to be a quail hunter in a poor year.  Perhaps the biggest reason for the decline in quail numbers is the fragmentation of the habitat across the state combined   Sorry, but not everyone can be an heir to a big ranch and, […]

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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 simply […]

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Tree Ducks Find the Feeder!

Built out of left-over PVC pieces and hardware cloth, this raised feeder with a store-bought feed bin finally saw some action. Known as Black-bellied tree ducks or Mexican whistling ducks, these birds nest in tree crags. Beautiful if somewhat subdued plumage, they actually sound as if they are whistling when in flight. More info below. […]

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The Psychology of Locking the Gate

I like to give clients a lock when they close on their new ranch. There is just something rewarding about putting a lock on your gate to your ranch. Sometimes it takes a lot of study, work, and creative financing to buy a ranch, but once done, the rewards are great, starting with locking the […]

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TEXAS LAND, The Only Retirement Investment You Can Walk On!

In times of social and economic uncertainty, land, raw or improved, is a great comfort. Two hundred acres or twenty thousand, land in Texas is valuable and getting more so daily. Drop me a line and we can start the search for your getaway in South Texas or the Hill Country.

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Stuck in Neutral, South Texas Needs Rain!

On a recent consulting job, the continuing drought in South Texas was brought home to me. As I was in eastern Frio Co., about 12 miles E-SE of Pearsall, it was not as bad as last weeks visit to Artesia Wells, but still sobering. This particular ranch is mostly a deep sand and as such, […]

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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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Doom And Gloom? Not So Fast; South Texas Ranch Prices Six Months Into Covid

Readers of my blog will remember that I addressed Covid and it’s potential effect on ranch prices at the onset of the pandemic.  I postulated that the crisis would have a similar effect as that of the 2008 financial crisis and it appears I was correct, so far. In a recent presentation, Dr. Charles Gilliland […]

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

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” if you find something […]

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Dove Season Starts Tomorrow; Is Fido Ready?

          With the opening of the North Zone tomorrow, thousands of Texans will be heading afield in search of dove.  Lucky hunters will enjoy the companionship of a dog.  It is critical to watch your dog closely for heat exhaustion.  Many retrievers are also house dogs and have been inside so […]

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Seeing the Hand of God in the Red Sandy Country

I am continually amazed and humbled to see the effects of rainfall on the red sandy country south of San Antonio. Just weeks ago, I was resigned to yet another bad year for Bobwhite quail, perhaps spectacularly bad. Yet, unexpected rains over much of the Rio Grande Plain have brought to fruition our meager efforts […]

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Small Tract Feeding Frenzy!

In an earlier post, I mentioned that smaller rural tracts were in great demand here in Medina Co. This was not reflected in the stats from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, so I asked what size acreage was being tracked. Turns out, the tract size was concealing the boom. Once adjusted for 50 […]

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Stress Driving Buyers Out to the Country

The last 18 months have been increasingly stressful for Texans.  This seems to have resulted in a “land boom” for country tracts.  In a very interesting article from Bizjournals, Dr. Charles Gilliland from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center reports a 28.9% increase in rural land sales.  I have experienced this surge here in Medina […]

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Great Little Family Ranch SOLD

DESCRIPTION:  This tract is incredibly unique for two reasons; first, it has been in the same family since Castroville was settled, well over 150 years ago, and second, it is still in its native state.  Except for minimal roadways and wildlife senderros/food plots, the ranch appears as it was when first viewed by Alsatian settlers […]

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Covid Pandemic has a Silver Lining

With all the depressing news about Covid, it is uplifting to see some good come out of it. Across the United States, hunting and fishing license sales are greatly increased due to the pandemic. Texas is no exception. This is good news for several reasons. First of all, it means increased revenues to Texas Parks […]

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Timing is Everything

As the old saying goes, timing is everything. For those wildlife managers that have started their cool season discing, kudos! For those that have not, it’s time to make plans and check the oil in the tractor. Fall or cool-season discing is the cheapest way to supplement the Bobwhite diet. Of course, most wildlife benefits […]

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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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The 544 Acre Ranch Has a Happy New Owner!

We just closed on the sale of the Mack Ranch in Medina Co.. Listed during Covid and sold during Covid. Easily the best part of my work involves matching buyers with their dream ranch. Although this was my own listing, I represented the seller 12 years ago when he bought it, and the ranch has […]

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Rejuvenating Walk at the Ranch Today with Ruby

Instead of listening to the incessant empty talking heads of the media, I took an extra long walk at the ranch today to restore tranquility. I’d much rather look at Ruby’s butt moving through the brush than anything on TV or the web. Said an extra prayer for a peaceful election, but doubt I have […]

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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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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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Put the Tractor in the Barn for Awhile

I was at the Rockpile, my small place south of Castroville the other day to check on the “rental cows”, cows that belong to a friend but spend the summer at my place just to keep the grass down and the taxes low and noticed this guy laying in the left rut. Sights such as […]

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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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Uncertain About the Economy? Covid Got You Spooked? Buy a Ranch!

Below are my sales for the last several years.  I deal in ranches from 200 acres and up, and work with buyers who primarily want their ranch for wildlife enjoyment, with or without extensive management.  The buyers come from all walks of life; some pay cash, some use financing, all variations with wildlife as the […]

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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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The New “Normal”

Life goes on in spite of the Corona Virus. Nature is a great balm for a troubled soul.

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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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Buying Land? Get a Broker!

In today’s digital age, having a broker represent you in a land purchase is more important than ever.

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Merry Christmas from Quailpro, LLC

Best wishes to you and yours for a very Merry Christmas from Jim (and Ruby) at Quailpro.  Back at selling good ranch properties after the 1st and praying for some serious rain across Texas to make my job easier!

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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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Happy Holidays from Jim Mullen (and Ruby) at Quailpro, LLC

While it may be hard to get into the holiday spirit when it’s 70 degrees outside, I wanted to wish everyone a great holiday season.  And, if you have plans to buy or sell a ranch in 2020, give me a call and we can get started.  One man, one office, 35 years of experience […]

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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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Nine Days of Nirvana!

The nine day overlap of dove and quail season in the South Zone is heaven for bird hunters.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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