John's Journal...

A Sister's Get Back: From Poverty to Riches


Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If you tied Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Fort Griffin, cowboys, bar girls and a shoot ‘em-up Wild West adventure together with two wildcat oil men and a broken-down truck, you’d get the unbelievable tale of Stasney’s Cook Ranch in Albany, Texas. The Stasney’s Cook Ranch, once one of the largest shallow-well oilfields in the world, produces some of the finest hunting in the nation today. Every hunting and fishing trip I make to Stasney’s Cook Ranch always produces a trophy, which is often not the animals I take or the fish I catch, but rather the stories I hear, the people I meet, and the photography I shoot. Recently, I took a hunting trip to the Stasney’s Cook Ranch. For the next two weeks, you’ll read one of the wildest tales ever told and find out about this fine hunting spot in the Lone Star State. Full of betrayal, luck and riches, this tale is one of the most-fascinating tales to come out of the Old West. Johnny Hudman is the ranch manager today.Click to enlarge

Question: Johnny, why does the Stasney’s Cook Ranch have a herd of longhorn cattle?
Hudman: Longhorns are a part of our heritage here in Texas, and Dr. Stasney, who owns the ranch, has had a herd of registered longhorns for years. He used to have these cattle at a ranch in LaGrange, but he moved the cows up here about 10- or 12-years ago. We have them because we do a lot of nature tourism here on the ranch. People come here from all over the country, and when visitors come to a Texas ranch, they want to see Texas longhorns. We’ve got some really-big steer. A trophy steer is an old steer with a big set of horns. We’ve got one steer we call the Old Man that had horns measuring 93 inches, tip to tip, 3-years ago. I’m sure he’s longer than that now. I guess he’s probably right at 100 inches from tip to tip. He’s a mClick to enlargeagnificent animal.

Question: What’s the value of a longhorn?
Hudman: Longhorns will sell for 10% to 15% less than regular beef cattle. However, longhorn meat is much better for you than any other form of beef. The meat doesn’t have marbling in it, it’s extremely lean, and it’s much more the quality of a wild animal. Too, we sell quite a few of our longhorn calves to ropers. I sold 20 calves last week that will be used by cowboys to practice their roping skills.

Question: How many longhorns do you have on the Stasney’s Cook Ranch?
Hudman: We have about 100 head with 37 cows, 8 bulls and 27 steers. Their heritage goes back as long as records have been kept on longhorn cattle. Most of tClick to enlargehe visitors who come here on wildlife tours tell us that the longhorns are the highlight of the tour. We charge $60 for up to 10 people, or about $10 a head for a wildlife tour. Tourists usually will see numbers of deer, turkey, pigs, longhorns, buffalo, coyotes and elk. We also offer bed-and-breakfast accommodations in our cabins, which were designed like the commanding officer’s quarters at the Texas forts built in the 1860s and the 1870s. But these cabins have modern conveniences. However, there are no telephones, televisions or computer hook-ups in the cabins. When families come here, they play board games and cards and spend quality time with each other.

To learn more about Stasney’s Cook Ranch, write P.O. Box 1826, Albany, Texas, 76430, or call (325) 762-2999, or visit

Tomorrow: Wildlife, Too

Check back each day this week for more about "A Sister's Get Back: From Poverty to Riches "

Day 1: The Story Behind the Tale
Day 2: From Starvation to Salvation
Day 3: Longhorns
Day 4: Wildlife, Too
Day 5: A Realistic Look at Texas Trophy-Deer Management


Entry 450, Day 3