After 21 years of operating Joshua Creek Ranch for wingshooters and deer hunters, I’ve learned not to worry about the things I can’t control. And we all know that when it comes to Mother Nature, control over that fickle dame is out of the question. But it’s really her children I take issue with these days, La Niña and El Niño. What’s going on with those two? You’d think Mother Nature would have taught them something about sharing dominion over the weather patterns. But La Niña, that naughty, stingy, inconsiderate little brat has totally occupied the playground and allowed her brother no opportunity at all to shower us with his refreshing presence. And what’s up with him, allowing his sister to push him around like that? He needs to show some machismo and muscle his way on in here. Wouldn’t you think a mother would intervene and insist on some equality? Surely soon she’ll put La Niña in time-out and give El Niño some freedom to roam the region. But, knowing it’s a no-win situation to take on Mother Nature, I’m resigned to her whims, and I’ve made the words of my eternally optimistic husband, Joe, my mantra: “Every day without rain is a day closer to the day it does rain.”
Over the years Mother Nature has dealt us some mighty tough challenges like minor droughts and major floods, but this year’s weather definitely ranks as a top contender. However, there’s always a silver lining in every dark cloud. For us, the good news in this is that we’re thinking outside the box for ways to give our enthusiastic shotgun shooting clientele a good experience when they come to the Ranch. Isn’t there some wise old saying about necessity being the mother of invention? In fact, wasn’t it the lack of hunting opportunity that brought about the creation of sporting clays? And what a great sport it is for fine-tuning your wingshooting skills, especially if you’re getting some coaching from a recognized professional. Now there’s an idea with appeal to wingshooters. Okay then, consider it done as of November 11-13 when Joshua Creek Ranch teams up with our good friends at Shotgunlife.com and Bobby Fowler, Jr. of Houston, Texas to give shotgun shooters some expert instruction as well as the opportunity to experience European-style driven pheasant shooting. It’s a whole new package that we’ve never offered before…and who knows, it may become a regular event, not just an out-of-the-box, drought-driven dream weekend.
The Hunting Forecast, 2011-2012 by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is bleak for wildlife of every species. There’s simply a scarcity of water that has devastated the food supply and habitat, resulting in severely reduced gamebird propagation and diminished body weight and antler development of deer. But hunting preserves like Joshua Creek Ranch, though not spared from sparse habitat conditions, have the advantage of providing supplemental feed that attracts and holds game even in these severe drought conditions. Also, European-style driven pheasant shoots are an excellent alternative to walk-up hunts when habitat conditions are less than ideal. And, of course, there’s plenty of opportunity to pull the trigger in a variety of clay shooting scenarios.
Bottom line, this won’t be a typical hunting season. It will be a “different” hunting season which isn’t necessarily bad news. Allow yourself to think about and experience some new and different shooting scenarios that you will likely find very rewarding.
Even as I write this, in the last half of September, afternoon and evening thunderstorms are beginning to occur, and have even delivered a few inches of rain, just like our normal autumn weather pattern. That’s Mother Nature for you, often changing her mind unpredictably in the middle of things. But this reversal of posture is welcome. I just hope I’m not telling you about flash flooding in the near future.
Ann Kercheville is President of Joshua Creek Ranch. Located in the renowned Texas Hill Country just 45 minutes northwest of San Antonio and 90 minutes southwest of Austin, Joshua Creek Ranch occupies a uniquely diverse terrain including miles of Joshua Creek and Guadalupe River bottomland planted in fields of grain crops for prime upland and deer hunting habitats. You can visit their web site at http://www.joshuacreek.com.