John's Journal...

A Sister's Get Back: From Poverty to Riches

Wildlife, Too

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, I know that you also run deer hunts out here. What do you charge for your deer hunts?
Hudman: We have two types of hunts – a trophy hunt and a management hunt. The management hunt costs $2,750 for a 3-day hunt. The trophy hunt is $4,000 for a 3-day hunt. A management buck is considered a mature buck that will score up to 125 on the Boone & Crockett scale and will have up to 8 points. A trophy buck will have over 8 points, normally 10 points or more, and score from 135 to 165 B&C.

Question: Now, most people don’t understand why a deer hunt costs so much, but I know you feed a lot of corn to deer throughout the year. What does feeding deer Click to enlargeyear-round to produce these size trophies cost?
Hudman: The cost is astronomical because the price of corn has increased. The corn bill alone for the ranch is about $1,500 per month, and that doesn’t include the gas and the labor required to fill up the feeders and the corn up the road. When a hunter pays $4,000 for a trophy deer hunt, and he takes a 4-year-old or older buck, he actually may be paying for the corn required to feed that deer but probably not all the costs taken to raise that deer. So, we know we’ll have to adjust the cost to cover our expenses. When you figure a trophy buck per 1,000 acres, the dollars and the labor required to feed and maintain that deer until it reaches trophy status is more than the price a hunter pays to take that deer.

Question: Most people think trophy hunting for Texas bucks is expensive.Click to enlarge But if large landowners who own and maintain big ranches for deer hunting don’t supplement their costs, they can’t run the management programs they have, can they?
Hudman: No, not at all. Running a trophy-management program for deer doesn’t really make much sense. But many people like to have the best deer herd they possibly can have and grow the biggest deer they possibly can grow, regardless of the cost. To make money from this hunting operation, we’ll have to allow more deer to be taken. But if we let more hunters take more bucks, we won’t be able to maintain the quality of bucks most hunters want to take.

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

Tomorrow: A Realistic Look at Texas Trophy-Deer Management

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 4