Brad Beauchamp grew up hunting. So did everyone in his family. Father-in-law Billy Hale has owned Hale Ranch, a 3,000-acre ranch in Zavala County, since 1981, and hunting is in the family’s blood.
Nothing brings them more pleasure than opening up their ranch to hunters who want to bag a big trophy animal. But it’s also their hope that the great outdoors will be a respite for people escaping the city, a place for families and friends to bond, and a means to appreciate God’s creation.
Beauchamp, who runs the hunting operations at the ranch, has collected stories over the years that illustrate that for many, hunting at their ranch is about more than taking home a prize. “We see fathers coming in with their sons and daughters, some as young as 10 years old. I had an 82-year-old doctor out of Dallas come hunting with me one day. Another man, who had hunted his entire life, had a stroke, and all he wanted to do was get out there and hunt again. I helped him into the stands so he could fulfill his dreams.”
The ranch is unique in that it maintains a wildlife terrain of dense brush and rocky ridges. “Hunters from all over like the set-up of the ranch,” says Beauchamp, “because it feels like a hunt versus a spot and shoot. It’s as wild as it can be and is high fenced to manage the deer herd.”
That herd is a healthy one, another draw to the ranch. Hale and Beauchamp aim to bring their herd to full maturity at 5+ years old. In hunters’ terms, that means that each deer is evaluated by age and by using the Boone & Crockett score, which is based off the size of the antlers. If there’s room for improvement, those deer are given more time to reach a 180+ BC inch score, the goal the pair set for their herd. “We found that hunters going off alone were shooting immature deer that had not reached full potential,” says Beauchamp. “So, we go to the stand with them, coach them, and are able to tell them if a deer is old enough. Our largest buck back in 1996 was 150 BC inches. In 2010 it was 180 inches, and now it’s up to 240 inches, all due to good genetics and letting the bucks reach maturity. We want our hunters to enjoy the thrill of bagging the big one.”
And bag them they do. Each weekend, the ranch hosts about 4-6 hunters, all receiving personal attention and guaranteed to have a good time. The ranch offers overnight accommodations, good food, and a lot of camaraderie. As Beauchamp says, “We want people to feel at home here. We’re a Christian family and we run our ranch that way. If you’re looking for a good experience where you can bring your kids or business associates for a good, quality time, this is your place.”
While other ranches charge a significant fee whether hunters get the deer they want or not, Hale Ranch does not. If hunters don’t find what they’re looking for, they are out only $1,500 versus the thousands of dollars most ranches charge regardless of the results.
To take home a deer, you’ll spend anywhere from $2,000 to the rare $25,000 for the biggest of the big. But Beauchamp feels it’s about more than just taking home a trophy. “It’s about being outdoors. The sport of trying to hunt big trophy deer is exhilarating, but 20 years after my first hunt, I find that my favorite thing about hunting is getting out of the city and enjoying the slower pace of life. It’s a place to be quiet, to just sit in nature and take it all in.”
He’s not alone. A recent hunter was a man who had been diagnosed with cancer. His last wish was to hunt with his 10-year-old grandson. The grandson missed the deer the first day but got it on day two. That same day, the grandfather got his deer, as well. He passed 4 months later.
For that grandad and grandson, that weekend together was the real prize.
Add a weekend at Hale Ranch to your fall plans. The ranch is open for hunting from October through February and offers several packages to choose from.