The Patio Ranch

Stumberg Sheep Trophy…Hunting to Support Cancer Research!

Posted on January 24th, 2016

January 24, 2016

Cancer Research HuntEvery year, the Cattle Baron’s Ball is held in the Dallas area to raise funds for cancer research; and every year for the past seven years, The Stumberg Patio Ranch has been offered the opportunity to be partnered with the Cattle Baron’s Ball as a donor to the auction program. With over $65 million raised in the 40 year history, the benefit to cancer research is staggering. This year, Bryan and Jennifer were the successful bidders on the donated hunt featuring a Stumberg Sheep hunt for a breed that was developed on the Patio Ranch and is not available anywhere other than the Patio Ranch.

Bryan and Jennifer arrived to a cool winter day at the ranch in the Texas Hill Country. Checking the rifles at the range prior to starting the hunt was a great experience as the ranch staff was treated to a great marksmanship display. Jennifer would be hunting and the probability of success was greatly increased due to her display of a steady hand and confidence in her rifle and shooting ability. Often, these sheep are well beyond the 150 yard range and a steady, accurate shooter produces a better chance of success.

The first day did not even present an opportunity for a shot. The strong, blustery wind from the northwest kept the sheep in the brush or bedded down to wait out the storm. The strong winds that cause the tree limbs to creak, leaves to constantly move and scents to swirl compromises the sheep’s senses of sight, sound and smell to a great extent encouraging them not to move about the pastures. Not one of the twenty-three rams in the 350 acre pasture was spotted this day. But, the warm fire in the large fireplace of the historic main lodge was a great comfort and produced a tranquilizing effect on those enjoying the crackle and dance of the flames that evening. A great meal home-cooked by Bettina put a great topper on a wonderful day.

The next morning, Jennifer, Bryan and Daniel decided to move around the pasture to take advantage of the slightly warmer day that would cause the sheep to bed and lounge in the open spaces filled with warm sunshine. As the hunting party approached a ridge to look down in the wide bowl filled with sunshine, they were greeted with the sight of a group of six rams grazing and lounging. Upon evaluation of the rams, two were determined to be large trophies. They were spread out over the area that would have made for an easy shot if the distance had not been over 200 yards. And then, to add a greater degree of difficulty to the shot other than long range, the rams started to mill and mix as they fed. The best ram was identified and tracked. The ram was moving randomly as he grazed on the fresh forbs growing due to the great winter rains. From left to right to in-between, the selected ram was followed in Jennifer’s scope waiting for a good shot that was clear of the other rams. After what seemed like an eternity (although only a few minutes), Jennifer had a small window of clearing around the sheep and she fired; the ram dropped where it had stood a moment earlier.

Please join us in congratulating Jennifer as well as thanking her and Bryan for their donation to such a wonderful organization for cancer research that is the Cattle Baron’s Ball. Helping to make the world a healthier place in addition to celebrating and participating in the wonderful hunting heritage in Texas was a wonderful combination! Possibly consider participating in the 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball; you may meet Jennifer and Bryan. If you do, be sure to ask them about their hunt so that they can really “…tell a different hunting story!!


Warrior Hunt…A Story of Many Gifts!

Posted on November 9th, 2015

November 6-8, 2015

Warrior HuntDavid and Susan have been sharing and hosting Houston Safari Club sponsored youth hunts and warrior hunts with The Patio Ranch for many years. They were back this weekend for another long-anticipated hunt with a group of four military veterans and a great support group. Gene and Barbara were providing great table fare for all involved; Alex and Chris (themselves military veterans) were present to share their experiences and to help as hosts for the group; Daniel, Ray and Michael, acting as guides, were eagerly anticipating another great hunting experience with the guests. And, Eric Stumberg was at the ranch to help welcome the guests for the Stumberg family.Warrior Hunt

Friday afternoon started as usual with the with each hunter trying to shoot better grouping on their target paper at the rifle range than their fellow hunters. With all of the good-natured kidding and different points of view, a tie was finally called for the best shooting between all four shooters. After all, each had a lot of experience in marksmanship. Although very little hunting light remained, all four hunters went into the field in search for their selected species.

Warrior HuntEric (or Ed as he preferred) was the first to spot his quarry that late evening. With the wind in his face as well as the weakly lit western sky, Eric stalked down the hill to find a rest for a good, steady shot. With three bulls standing in close proximity, great care was needed to make sure the right bull was targeted as well as to make sure the other bulls were not in the line of fire. As a clear shot opened, Eric fired; the bull ran down the hill a short distance, fell to the ground and was still. The hunting party approached, gave thanks for the blessing of this hunt and paid respect to the magnificent barasingha bull. Photos were taken and the hunting party was able to enjoy the twilight in the sky and the coolness of this wondrous fall evening as we returned to the main lodge for a great evening meal.

Warrior HuntThe next day was exciting, event-filled, and productive. After a frustrating morning of searching for an elusive sheep, Ray (guide) was able to get Jack within reasonable shooting range on a Stumberg ram. Although the body on these sheep are not very large, Jack made a tremendous long-range shot…somewhere between 200-400 yards (dependent on the narrator of the story). The experience thrilled him as evidenced by the photo. Later in the day, Jack also was able to close the distance to about 150 yards with Ray’s help to harvest a surplus fallow doe from the 600 acre pasture to augment the supply of meat for his freezer.

Warrior HuntJustin had originally set his sights on harvesting an axis buck. However, after a Friday evening and Saturday morning with no sightings to pursue and the advice of his guide, Justin decided to switch his target animal to a barasingha. Michael (his guide) was able to locate the bull that they were seeking. When it was sighted, the presence of the hunters made the bull nervous enough that it decided to run and increase the distance between he and the hunters. It ran what might have been a safe distance to discourage a shot from some hunters; but Justin just waited for the bull to stop and survey the situation. A non-moving target is all it took for this marksman to take a good barasingha bull that will keep him supplied with meat for many months to come.

Jay had been determined to get a blackbuck when the hunt started, but they always seemed to be where Jay was not. He had seen and tried to get close to a white-tail buck, but they were on alert and were gone before the stalk started. Sunday morning brought Jay out to hunt one final time in the early dawn. He had a strong will to bring home some fresh meat from the trip. Daniel displayed a strong resolve to help Jay with his hunt and they started on stalk for a fallow doe that they had spotted from a distance. To make a long stalk story short, their determination and relentless hunting finally resulted in a fallow doe for Jay to take home.

Whether hunter, guest or ranch staff, everyone received some special gifts: lifelong memories to pass on to family, friends and acquaintances; the fellowship and sharing of experiences with good people; the opportunity to say “THANK YOU” to some of the warriors that have sacrificed much to defend our nation, our freedom and way of life. Let us be ever mindful and thankful, especially at this time of year, for this nation and those that have given so much!!

Join in in proudly thanking these warriors and congratulating them on their successful hunts. With all of the gifts given and received this weekend, there will hopefully forever be countless memories to relive and relate by every participant. Each and every one of us present this weekend are now rich in experiences so that we can for many years share with others and “…tell a different hunting story!!


Shapley’s Long Wait for a Markhor and a Urial Ram!

Posted on September 25th, 2015

September 25, 2015

Markhor Shapley decided over a year ago that he would like the opportunity to hunt a markhor on The Patio Ranch; he made the commitment and set a date for September 2015. The ranch has kept him updated periodically with pictures of the markhor in the pasture since that time. The slick body hair in contrast to the long, white neck mane makes the early fall timing of a hunt a great plan. In addition, Shapley had shown an interest in an old, large Urial ram since he had seen pictures last year and decided to add this ram to his “wish list”. Shapley made the trip with Matt (his outfitter and friend) and Chris (a friend and hunting companion). They had planned the hunt to allow plenty of time for the usually high difficulty hunt for sheep and wild goat species. After sharing a Manchurian Sika hunt with Chris earlier in the day (he drew the long straw and was entitled to the first hunt attempt), it was Shapley’s turn to search for his markhor and sheep.

Urial RamThe markhor took first priority, so the group started in that pasture. The hunting party had prepared for what is historically a long, difficult hunt. The wild goats are very intelligent and therefore evasive and secretive. They have been found hiding in the top of large oak trees, lying in the thick brush of downed juniper trees, running ahead of any stalk with amazing evasive maneuvers and just sometimes lying down in tall grass with their massive head & horns on the ground allowing hunters to walk past less than 15 yards away not ever aware that they were so close to their target. On this day, the wind was right and the hunters were quiet, allowing an accident of timing to put them in position for a shot on this amazing markhor in short order. As they topped a hill with the wind in their face and trees behind them to prevent being silhouetted by animals, a movement caught the eye of Matt and Chris. The herd of markhor were lounging and grazing down below with no hint that the hunters were watching them. With slow movements and hushed voices so as not to reveal their location, their target markhor was located as it slowly moved around the oak motte below searching for tender shoots of weeds and grass on which to feed. An eternity of 2-3 minutes brought the markhor to a safe shot area where there was not a chance to hit a non-target markhor and Shapley was ready. His heart could be heard pounding in his chest and breathing was rapid; but somehow he was able to calm down and his shot was true. The markhor ran a short distance and fell. The other males, confused by the commotion, finally chose an escape route and departed. As Shapley walked down to look at his markhor, the beauty of this wild goat took his breath away. Thanks were offered for this opportunity of a lifetime and the memories were recorded in many pictures taken.

After a short lunch, the search was started for the Urial ram…and a long search it turned out to be! The 350 acre pasture was scoured again and again with no sign of the sheep. All hiding places had seemingly been investigated without a sign. Dusk was fast approaching, so the hunters tried a last stalk. The truck was left near the gate into the pasture as the hunters started a final walk. They decided to head for a hilltop as a spotting platform for viewing a large part of the pasture. After a trek up over the rough, boulder-strewn slope, a slow stalk along the ridge began with careful viewing of all areas that came into view. The progress was slow and methodical in spite of the urgency brought on by the approaching sunset so as not to squander any possible opportunity that might be presented. Finally, a large herd of sheep was spotted and the target ram was in the group; the problem of 12-15 sets of sheep eyes became the next obstacle. A stalk toward these wary animals was made more difficult as the sheep were to the west and almost directly into the setting sun; the sheep would be able to see any movement highlighted by the last light of day and the hunters would need to deal with the glare of looking toward the sunset. With slow stalking interspersed with short bursts of fast walking in areas cloaked by shadow and trees, the hunters reached the end of the road for closing the distance. There was no cover or time remaining to get closer. The sheep were already nervous and over two hundred yards away. Shapley set up his shooting sticks with words of support and calming from Matt to slow Shapley’s heart rate after the last run and to calm his nervousness. The ram herd ram away again and stopped. A few nervous steps by the rams in front of the target ram provided a small window for a possible final shot attempt of the day…there would be no second chance today if this shot was not taken. Deep breaths and calming thoughts by Shapley brought the circular movement of the rifle scope to a manageable wobble. At over two hundred yards, Shapley would need every ounce of skill he possessed to make a successful shot. His shot rang out prompting the whole herd of rams to run behind an oak motte and out the other side. But, the large Urial could not be seen with the herd when they reappeared on the other side. The remainder of the large herd then disappeared again into the juniper-filled valley. After the rest of the herd departed, Shapley walked to a spot to view the shading oak motte behind which the large ram had disappeared…the large Urial ram was on the ground and still.

Shapley experienced both ends of the spectrum in regard to hunt difficulty; but the excitement was high in both instances as was the respect and honor shown to these animals by Shapley for the opportunity afforded to him. However, these hunt successes are not accidental; years of practice in shooting, stalking, hunting lore and learning about animals allows a hunter to make good shots and be presented with great opportunities. Please join us in congratulating Shapley on this memorable hunt as well as thanking him for the honor and respect that he shows to the animals that he has hunted. If the chance ever arises, ask Shapley or any other hunter about their experiences and I have no doubt that every one of those to whom the query is presented will no doubt ”…tell a different hunting story!!


Aoudad Rams…Amazing Possibilities for 2014 Hunts!!

Posted on January 24th, 2014

Aoudad 2014Aoudad 2014The aoudad herd here on the Patio Ranch have been lightly hunted for the last few years to develop a group of rams with more age and thusly, the longer horn lengths, more massive bases and long hair on the neck and legs. This increase in the age structure of the rams really became evident this year during a helicopter survey of the section-sized back pasture.

Attached are some pictures from that survey as well as some from the surveillance cameras in the pasture. The pictures are of the actual animals in the pasture currently and available for hunting. The Patio Ranch will sell 3 hunts in 2014 for choice from this wonderfully developed aoudad herd. This is a challenging hunt that will provide a great challenge and even greater rewards in the form of a great Aoudad trophy ram.

We invite you to call for open dates that may fit your calendar. The combination of the setting and the wonderful tAoudad 2014rophies provide any hunter with a memorable hunt and an opportunity to really ”…tell a different hunting story!!”

Aoudad 2014Best wishes for great winter and spring rains to bless this land with a bountiful spring and summer!
Gary Ploch
Stumberg Patio Ranch
Telephone: (830) 238 – 4830