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Fall 2014 - Greenville, TX
I am originally from Atlanta, GA and have been an avid hunter for most of my life. Like most people, I hunt as much as I can while working to make a living. I don't get to hunt enough. During the rut in GA, I am lucky to see nice bucks. Coming to the STRR was the first time I had ever traveled to hunt. I can't say enough about the experience I had. The sheer amount of quality deer on this property will make your jaw drop. Although this is a ranch, you truly have to hunt the buck you are after. I arrived on a Thursday afternoon and we were in the stand that evening. I had my eye on two particular bucks. I saw one that first night from the Polaris Ranger and I never saw him again. I hunted hard until Saturday evening when I took the wide main frame 10 in the picture. Whether you are hunting with a Bow or gun, this is the place to come to! If you are looking for a quality outfit, great accommodations, friendly staff and the experience and memories to share for a lifetime, I would highly recommend STRR.
Fall 2013 - Tioga, Tx
I have been fortunate enough to hunt most all of North American big game animals across the US and have yet to meet a more friendly and inviting group of folks anywhere bar none! From the moment you pull in until you leave these fine folks that I now consider to be great friends never stop making you feel right at home. The story started when my eldest daughter asked for "a buck" for Christmas. I happen to have a very small piece of ground that I lease in Grayson County close to our house, and my daughter happens to know that there are some very nice bucks on this property. The mental struggle I was facing is that I had no pictures of what I would consider to be "management" bucks on this property. And the only buck on the place that i really wanted to take that season was one that I had been watching for more time than I care to mention and I had my heart set on are owing that buck, so, I did the only logical thing and began to look for a place to take her for her whitetail fix. That's when I came across STRR. Time seemed to drag by, but, before long it was time to load up and take her on her hunt. From the time we arrived the kindness literally was incomparable to ANY outfitter that I had ever booked a trip with. The following morning after arriving we were in the blind with Junior before it began to break daylight. As it began to break day you could start to make out shapes that appeared to be deer. On e it got a little easier to see, there were deer everywhere. I tried hard to get Anne to be patient. She wanted to drop the hammer on every buck we saw. And I already knew based upon pics that Nick had been sending me prior to our arrival that patience would certainly be virtuous. After an hour or more of daylight and more bucks than we could count filtering in and out of our setup, a really nice 8 point began to work in from behind us. The perfect buck for a "first buck"in my mind. Mr Ottwell told Anne that this was a good buck to consider, and today I am sure that she was locked down at that very comment. She was getting all excited once Junior (Mr Ottwell) said that. I knew that she wanted that buck.......almost as if it was the only one on the farm. How could I say no? He began to sir let our blind and fed out in front of us to about 40 yards and Anne started to raise up her rifle (which was the first rifle that my dad bought for me some 25 years ago) a Remington Mohawk chambered in .243 Winchester. With the Barnes TSX all copper load ready for judgment day, the buck stopped broadside and Junior gave the go ahead. In that very moment I went back 26 years to the first deer I was drawled down on and the "buck fever" rushed through my body all over again. It was very strange, I have harvested several Pope & Young whitetails in my years of pursuing whitetails, yet the fever was beyond my control and I wasn't even on the trigger. At the crack of the trigger the buck buckled and managed to make his way another 30 yards before expiring. It was pure elation in the blind. Oddly enough Junior appeared to share our excitement on a similar level. It was one of those moments that fathers hope to be able to share with their children. Simply........great. I tip my hat to the entire crew at STRR. They are truly extraordinary people. And I feel very lucky to have been able to make their acquaintance. Best of all, of all the places I have traveled to hunt, this amazing place with the most amazing staff is only an hour and a half from my house. Will I return to STRR? God willing, you better believe it!
Came for a Hunt, Left With Lifelong Friends and Memories.I am lucky enough to say I was a child of the outdoors. In my adolescent years there was nothing you could do to get me out of the woods and into the house. Each day I dreamed about finishing whatever task the day provided me and heading out into the outdoors to sneak into that deer stand before daylight or deliver that first perfect cast across the deepest point of the pond. Each time I headed into the woods, I had my best friend and best teacher in the world with me, my father. Now I definitely didn't grow up on a 10,000 acre hunting ranch, but my father always made sure that we had somewhere to sit in a tree stand once that first cold front hit our area around Thanksgiving. He was known as "Redbeard" by his friends due to his Scottish and English background causing his beard to be appear deep red and something you would envision appearing in the movie Braveheart. From the first rabbit track I found in the mud up to patterning a mature buck's territory before the rut, my father has taught me everything I know and created a passion for the outdoors that will last a lifetime.
Fast forward to 2013, and I am a father myself now wishing to instill the same passion and knowledge of the outdoors in my son that my father was able to instill in me. The days are changing though and work causes me to travel each week and weekends are more precious than ever to spend time with my newly expanded family. I don't have the time to plant plots, scout land, and take 4 hours a day to sit in a tree stand and pattern deer movements. My father has also had some changes as he is now retired, his beard has gone from red to white, and our hunts together are much less frequent and even more special. That being said, my father has always been an economical hunter and making the best of opportunities to hunt property owned by friends of the family and public lands. These properties aren't usually offering the highest caliber deer and are often right in the middle of the highest hunting pressure situations. Noticing the looks of sadness and doubt on his face after months of preparation, scouting, food plot projects, and then multiple excursions into the woods with no deer sightings to show for it - I knew it was time for a change.
Outdoor television shows have always been popular in our house, but have reached an all time high with the popularity in hunting on the rise across the country. I decided this was our best opportunity to spend a weekend together and finally see some deer. This is when I discovered the STRR Ranch, where I decided we would have our hunt and hopefully get a deer to brag about to friends. I contacted R.C. Ottwell, identified a date, and received some amazing photos of deer that were currently available for the 2013 season. We booked our flights and began the countdown to the hunt. If I had only known what an amazing experience we were in for, I would have booked the trip years ago.
Upon arrival at the airport, one of the property representatives, Nick, met us right outside our gate at the airport with open arms and a report that Junior (R.C.) was already scouting the property for our afternoon hunt. We loaded our bags into Nick's vehicle and were on the road with our own personal chauffer. After a short stop at Bass Pro shops to get our license on the quick hour and a half drive, and we arrived at the camp. Pulling up to the "cottage", we were expecting an old farmhouse with a couple of bunk beds but wound up walking into a beautiful brick home with three bedrooms, a restroom for each one, and a wonderful living room with mounts of deer in all shapes and sizes. The full kitchen was spacious and stocked with more than enough food for the entire weekend as well as plenty of "wheat free" products to help meet some special dietary needs we informed them about before the trip. A quick snack and a couple of practice shots to assure the gun was still on and Junior was waiting out front in the four person ATV to guide us out to the blind for the evening hunt where he patterned a buck that he thought we would be interested in. The stand was a spacious box blind with three comfortable seats and room for all of us so I could experience a hunt with my father for a deer that we would never dream of seeing on our properties back home.
I have to say Junior had the bucks patterned like clockwork and it wasn't long before we started seeing deer filtering in that would make the most accomplished hunter's blood pressure double in .5 seconds. The mood in the box blind was full of excitement, joy, and friendship as our guide provided us with the full history of each deer showing up and the reason for each pattern of movement they took into and from our line of sight. Junior is one of the nicest men I have met in my many years of travel and shares the same kind of passion in his property, animals, and character that I hope to live up to myself. We identified the buck he thought we would enjoy and was he ever right! This buck was the most beautiful, tall, symmetrical 10 pt we had ever seen and the hunt was on. That night we enjoyed the most delicious stew and cornbread dinner while taking in our favorite college football games and preparing for the hunt ahead of us. On that first night by the barn and then by the fire pit we met all of the members of the family working on the property and this made us feel at home because of the smiles and warm discussions offered by everyone around. This truly is a family effort and we felt like we had known everyone our whole lives after just a few minutes of discussions and laughs.
The next thing you know, we are in the stand again and the deer that we have been after comes into view. I haven't seen my father so nervous in my entire life, and the only thing more amazing about the moment was the smile on both of our faces while he did the best he could to steady his rifle. Moments later, we are taking pictures of my father and I with the biggest buck of his lifetime laying on the ground in front of us and our new friend Junior holding the camera and smiling just as much as we were. The numerous amazing deer we observed during our hunts, the fun filled full tour of the property, and stories around the campfire with new friends led to a memory that will last a lifetime for this son that was able to sit next to his father in a blind and finally discover the reason that he himself shakes so much when those bucks of a lifetime filter into the field. A short trip back to the barn after tons of photos and pats on the back, and the deer was cleaned and in the cooler while we headed into the house for dinner.
Now I have been to many corporate events and hunted on several ranches and farms across the country, but I have never felt so welcomed and a part of the family as I did while on the STRR ranch. If you have been pondering the possibility of a hunting trip and are not sure if you should try it or not, all I can say is that you will have zero regrets of a decision to visit Junior and the Ottwell family on the STRR ranch. The look in my father’s eyes and the memory of being with him when he took his largest buck and saw deer every day that we only thought existed on television will be with me forever. I know it is time for others to have an opportunity to experience what we did on the ranch this year, but you can bet that we will be staying in touch with our new friends the Ottwells to identify a time in the future to come back to my Dad's new favorite place that he now only refers to as "Paradise".
Thank you to all involved, and we can't wait to come back!
- David Kidd
2012 - Forney
Just wanted to say thanks to the folks at STRR for the biggest deer I ever seen and the biggest deer that will be on my wall !!! Sitting in my Stand with my guide watching all the fine deer thinking how in the world I'm sitting looking out at the absolutely best deer I have ever seen trying to contain myself then this monster came out from the trees to the left I hear my guide say wow that's a nice one my heart beating loud enough for the people in the house down the road to hear I couldn't control myself I pulled the trigger . As I wait for my guide to give me the all clear we went to see this deer that I really didn't study I just heard in his voice that this one was the one so after we waited for what seemed to be a lifetime he said let's go see your deer and we made our guns safe and started our walk knowing that I really didn't get a really good look at the rack as we approached this steer all I seem was horns oooo myyyy god !! Little did I know I just bagged a ranch record for mass .. I have hunted all over Texas with some great deer on my wall but I have never seen anything like I seen at 8 o'clock dec 18 2012 .. The rest is history I am the hunt county record holder for the biggest mass deer ever taken o! Thanks to my guide JR for a dream come true