FCWP President Jon Van Winkle with (L-R) LRR Guide David Palmer, Veterans J.T. Ortiz, Joey Otake and Zac Hearon
While Longhorn River Ranch is only a 30 minute drive from Austin, you could just as well be in Junction, TX based on the landscape. With 1700 acres of rolling hilltops, overlooks and winding riverbanks, the view from the top is breathtaking. Driving through the gates of LRR feels like driving into a safari with exotic and native animals.
On July 8-10, Freedom Care Warrior Project’s Jon Van Winkle met with veterans Zac Hearon, Joey Otake and J.T. Ortiz to hunt rams and goats for an episode of Warrior Pursuits. Sam Fowler of Texas Outfitters Network was there to produce and video the hunt for Warrior Pursuits TV.
The original plan was to host two vets for the weekend but LRR guide Jessie Palmer arranged for a third vet which turned out to be a great idea.
Jessie’s son David would provide outstanding guide services for the weekend.
Friday – The guys headed out late to get on some hogs but the hogs didn’t get the memo and were no-shows. Still, the guys had a good time in the cool night air seeing a host of animals wandering through the ranch.
The plan for Saturday morning was to put Zac and Jon in a blind with Zac’s bow. looking for a Catalina Goat. The rest of the group would spot and stalk hunt for rams or goats.
With a forecast of 100 degrees on Saturday, we expected to be back in the lodge by 10AM. Just a few minutes after we dropped of the guys in the blind, the Catalinas showed up and Zac made a great shot on a black one.
The group in the Polaris stayed out for a while, spotted some goats but didn’t get close so we circled back around to get Zac’s Catalina and take it to the cooler. Zac uses Be The Tree Cover Scent, Blood Therapy Broadheads and a Hoyt bow.Army Veteran Zac Hearon
LRR is divided into two sections, 700 acres on front side and 1000 acres on the backside. The rams stay on the backside and hills and ravines to ascend, descend and take cover.
Surprisingly, the sky was overcast and temperature pleasant around 9AM. As we drove back on top of the LRR hills, we spotted Aoudad, Elk, Blackbuck Antelope, European Fallow Deer, Whitetail and finally, the rams. There was a Painted Dall that Joey and J.T. were interested in. We would spot them about 100+ yds out and as soon as we stepped out for a shot, they would move over the next hill. Finally, we had shots at about 200 and 300 yds with near misses.
At that point, our guide, David, decided we would go in for the morning. But as we headed back, the rams showed up again. This time, Joey stepped out and made a good shot on the Painted Dall. It ran about 30 yards and went down. After recovering the Dall, we headed in to cool off and get some lunch.Army Veteran Joey Otake
There was a discussion in the afternoon whether the guys wanted to go for pigs or the Dall rams or Catalinas. J.T. was thinking of taking the remaining spotted Catalina from the blind. David said we should take the Polaris and see if we could locate the Catalinas driving around, so we headed out. After about 30 minutes of not seeing them, we topped a hill and there they were about 30 yards away.
J.T. got out and I followed with the video camera. After walking for some time, we saw the spotted Catalina on a road about 130 yards out. J.T. took the shot and I could see immediately he had a good hit as the Catalina stumbled about 30 yards then tumbled over.Army/Navy Veteran J.T. Ortiz
What a great day, having all three vets take an animal of their choice in one day. We headed back to camp and the guys got some rest before heading out again for some hog hunting late evening and early Sunday morning.
I’d like to thank David Palmer of Longhorn River Ranch for an outstanding job guiding this hunt. Freedom Care and Texas Outfitters will defintely plan to visit LRR again.
The hunt was sponsored by Freedom Care Warrior Project located in Graham, Texas. FCWP also sponsors Warrior Pursuits TV.