Something New

I’m glad when Thanksgiving comes early in the month of November as it did this year, because it’s always the week after Thanksgiving that I put up our Christmas decorations. It seems disrespectful to the Thanksgiving tradition to adorn the house with Christmas decorations prior to the celebration of Thanksgiving. But I love elaborate Christmas decorations; it’s a trait I inherited from my mother and grandmother. And because of all the work involved in putting up all those decorations, I like to have them up early and keep them up for a long time….like a couple of months. Plus I like to add a few new ones each year. But most of all, I like putting all of the beautiful decorations we’ve collected over the years in different places around the house than they were last year. It makes them seem new all over again….this shotgun-toting Santa here, that toy-laden sleigh there, this new ribbon on that favorite old wreath, and best of all, adorning our Christmas tree with the ornaments that we’ve collected from our travels all over the world for 30 years. Just decorating the tree is a trip down memory lane that takes us back to Africa, Argentina, Scotland, Hungary, Austria, England, Canada, Alaska and on and on.


Ann-Kercheville-Dec-2012aWEAnn Kercheville at Joshua Creek Ranch.

Something new is always exciting, or changing things to make them seem new most assuredly captures attention, even if it’s a re-do of what’s been around for a while. I’m thinking particularly of the sporting clays course at Joshua Creek Ranch, which was recently relocated. A new road was built to access and layout the course alongside a beautiful ravine and into a secluded wooded bottomland near the Joshua Creek. Though still within easy walking distance from the office, and still accessible by vehicle or golf cart, the terrain, the target presentation, the views, the experience are changed on over half the course, making it new and exciting. Regular guests are wowed by the changes and awed by the new challenge presented at each station.  Same traps, but totally new locations have generated lots of enthusiasm.

Another new experience that’s among the options at Joshua Creek Ranch this wingshooting season is the “Beretta 12-.410 Package.”  The Ranch is a participant in the Beretta Range Gun Program, so guests can experience Beretta double guns in 12, 20, 28 and .410 gauges while shooting at the Ranch. This package includes shooting clays and gamebirds in a variety of scenarios including walk-up hunting behind dogs and driven pheasant using any or all the gauges of Beretta shotguns available. It’s a new combination of the options Joshua Creek Ranch has always offered, but guests now have the opportunity of trying out all gauges of shotguns available in just two days of shooting.

The drought of the 2011-12 hunting season caused us to get creative with a new wingshooting option that is gaining in popularity. Three guests start a half-day hunt shooting pheasant driven off a high bluff. Their hunt continues with walk-up shooting for pheasant, chukar and quail behind pointing and flushing dogs in the pasture and fields below the bluff. This hunt combines the popular mixed bag walk-up hunt with a single site for driven pheasant shooting. It’s a scenario combining two styles of hunts Joshua Creek Ranch has always offered, but now guests can have both in the same half-day. It’s a whole new experience using the same ranch habitat we’ve been hunting for 22+ years. 

Creating new, different and exciting experiences for guests who come to Joshua Creek Ranch has been half the fun of operating this business. Every season we like to have some new things for returning guests to enjoy, like some new gamebird and venison menu items (this season those include Pheasant Picata for dinner and Chicken Fried Axis Venison for lunch), some improvements to guest overnight accommodations, a new site for driven pheasant shooting, even some software upgrades to make the hunt reservation process run more efficiently. 

The great thing about being committed to excellence in every realm of the Joshua Creek Ranch operation is that it keeps all our employees engaged in the process of delivering an exceptional guest experience at every stage of the process from reservation through the service of the meal or the delivery of the client’s processed game. Like me, every employee is thinking of how to keep our existing clients engaged and eager to return to the ranch and also to attract new business.  Our staff discusses and tries-on new ideas often. Some of those ideas get adopted and have a great pay-off in client response. Some don’t even require a great deal of capital investment. It’s just a matter of taking the incredible pool of resources we have in the way of habitat, improvements and personnel and configuring those resources in new and uniquely different ways that are attractive to sporting enthusiasts. It reminds me of how much I enjoy rearranging the placement of my Christmas decorations every year to make them new and delightful all over again.

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


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