Category Archives: Hunter

Wild Cat Springs…Where The Deer And Buffalo Roam And You Can Play

The interview with Jarrett Williamson, Manager of Wildcat Springs Ranch began like any other minus the Zebras.
Wildcat Springs Ranch is a hunting ranch located just south of Fittstown, Okla., a geographic area of the state known for it’s rocky terrain, crystal clear springs, and it’s quality and quantity of wild game to hunt.  It was late September, but the morning was still cool and there was game running everywhere, which as a hunter, made it hard to focus on the task at hand.  As ranch manager, Williamson is accustom to giving ranch tours, servicing clients, and ensuring the best possible trip to the ranch as possible.  Williamson was content to drive around the huge property all day discussing his passion for guiding and hunting, but I wasn’t there to sight see.  I wanted to find out what made this high-fence hunting paradise different from all the rest, and that’s exactly what I found out after touring the rustic terrain that made up the expansive landscape of the ranch.
The ranch sign which reads, “Billy D. Howell’s Wildcat Springs Ranch” resembles many iron constructed ranch gates, but as the gate opened, and I drove towards the ranch lodge I realized this gate was an entrance to an entirely different type of ranch.  It was late in the morning and yet there were whitetail deer on the move just within a few hundred yards of the gate.  Needless to say I couldn’t wait to see what
else this hidden gem had to offer.
Tucked away in the eastern part of the Arbuckle Mountains, Wildcat Springs offers almost 8,000 acres of prime hunting and fishing land that is fueled by an endless aquifer that supports the wildlife of the ranch.  It’s private and secluded, yet it’s just short drive from two major cities, Dallas and Oklahoma City.  Steep hills and expansive views can be expected as can quality game animals like elk, buffalo, deer, hog, turkey, Aoudad sheep, and other exotics.  The wide range of game animals are managed year round by a full-time staff of seven employees in order to provide hunters the highest quality of trophy animals available.  The ranch also features spring fed lakes stocked with bass, crappie, catfish, and even walleye.  One of the bigger watersheds is an impressive 40 feet deep in places.  At Wildcat Springs Ranch guests create custom hunts to fit their preferences and budgets, but regardless the hunt, it’s always an experience to remember.
Hunting
One of the things that makes this hunting ranch stand out from others is the surprising low amount of hunting pressure it has.  Wildcat Spring would exist as is, without serving  a single hunting client.  That being said there’s anywhere from 60 – 80 clients that hunt each year.  The fully guided hunting trips offer a variety of tactics and methods of hunting.  You can hunt from a heated blinds or spot and stalk more elusive game like the Aoudad sheep.  With over 35 miles of high fencing there is a hunt that can be tailored for everyone.  In addition to your hunt there is on site processing and taxidermist available for your trophy.
Fishing
Guests looking to get away and spend the day on the water while catching truly big fish have found the right place with this ranch.  The trophy fishing lakes are complete with fishing docks and boat ramps, and vary in size and types of fish offered.  The water and underground springs are one of the more interesting features about this ranch.  The Arbuckle Aquifer has been a topic of much debate in recent years, and one can easily see why when fishing on such quality waters as what is available on this ranch.
Lodging
Excellent lodging and accommodations are what you’ll have after a full day of being outdoors.  Speaking from experience, clean and comfortable accommodations can make or break a hunt.  When you spend long hours outside, a good place to regenerate is always a plus.  Guests at Wildcat springs can take full advantage of  the luxurious  4,000 square foot lodge, featuring a master bedroom, 3 private rooms and two bed/bunk rooms.
The lodge can  accommodate 12 guests at a time. There are a variety of leisurely comforts around the lodge including an on-site chef, coffee bar, poker and pool tables, sitting areas, outdoor hot tub, and much more. The entertainment pavilion is equipped with restrooms, showers, full kitchen, and built-in wood burning grill.
Other Options
Those who don’t enjoy the thrill of the hunt or the excitement of catching a largemouth bass can request nature watching tours or a relaxing weekend at the lodge.  The ranch is also a great place to host company picnics.
8,000 acres would be hard to manage without the use of serious equipment.  The ranch utilizes a variety of equipment.  From skid steers, to UTVs, and even machines for building and maintaining roads, Wildcat Springs takes full advantage of equipment in their operation.
Before heading out to explore the ranch further we passed an old Kubota, which, at first glance appeared to be sitting idle, but Williamson quickly referred to the late model Kubota as “ole reliable,” and Williamson should know as he is no stranger to benefits of good equipment.  He has years of experience operating and maintaining equipment, and when asked what he liked best about the Kubotas they use at Wildcat Springs Ranch Williamson said this:
“Everything is right there where you can get to it.  They are easy to operate, but most of all they are reliable tractors.  We use a lot of different machines out here but we can always count on the Kubotas.”
After touring several large bottoms and passing multiple lakes we began to make our accent towards an elevated part of the ranch where the buffalo roam.  We pulled up to a Kubota M9960 hard at work discing up a rocky field to prepare a food plot.  This year alone, Williamson and his team will plant over 650 acres of food plots.  They plant a variety of seed but the main seed planted is one developed by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
There are a lot of different things that make this ranch special, but when you break it all down, its really about the thrill of the hunt.  So when I asked Williamson what hunt provides clients with the best overall experience, Williamson could only talk about the buffalo.  Their size alone make them a difficult animal to hunt, and with options ranging from trophy bulls, to meat cows, hunters have different choices and methods to hunt them.  The meat alone would be a reason for me to hunt them.  There something about this animal that ties it with our nation’s wild past.  They are the very hide of the American West’s history.  From Native Americans, to the expansion of the railways, the American Bison has always been a symbolic animal of wild America.  Native Americans wasted no part of this huge animal, and if given the chance I would do the same.  The trophy, meat, even the hide could all still serve a purpose to the modern hunter.  Williamson enjoys guiding these hunts because he feels they provide clients with much more than just a thrilling hunt.
“Our buffalo hunts offer the most bang for your buck.  You couldn’t buy as much beef as what it costs to harvest our buffalo, plus you get a trophy of a lifetime.  Last year I guided a buffalo hunt where, after being shot, the bull charged several times.  It was thrilling and rewarding to both myself and the client.”
Wildcat Springs Ranch is a great destination for any outdoorsman. Whether it’s friends looking to experience the hunt of a lifetime, or groups needing a get-a-way that offers top-notch hospitality with plenty of adventure, this unique ranch has it all!  For more information about the amenities and services of Wildcat Springs call Jarrett Williamson at (580) 235-7599.

All Terrain Hunting

It’s hard to imagine a time when big game hunters didn’t use ATVs or

utility vehicles (UTVs). The classic images of western hunters packing

in with horses and mules are now kept by only a nostalgic few. Of

course there are plenty of hunters today who don’t use off-road

vehicles. However, all hunters from those who stalk big game to ones

who hunt upland birds, could benefit from using an ATV or UTV. From the

first snow machines to the modern day side-by-side, the extreme demands

of avid hunters have influenced the evolution of these vehicles.

Mirroring this evolution, off-road vehicles themselves have changed the

sport of hunting. History proves there’s no turning back from these

advanced machines, and the farthest frontiers are only as far as a few

extra gas cans.

Two main factors have increased hunters usage of off-road vehicles

during the past few decades. Hunting popularity has increased, and

innovations of hunting products and tactics have been introduced.

When something is popular everyone wants to do it. For hunters

this means traveling farther to find that perfect secluded hunting

spot. Whether it’s hunting farther from base camp, or scouting a

potential hunting lease, off-road vehicles allow hunters to quickly

expand their range. Realistically, there’s only so far a hunter can

venture on foot, but with off-road vehicles remote hunting locations can

be reached sooner, hunted longer, and daylight is no longer an issue.

With increased popularity comes more hunting pressure, especially to

public access areas. Once secluded destinations have become hunting

hotspots, forcing hunters to spread out to find their piece of paradise.

Perhaps just as important to the evolution of these machines is

the use of hunting tactics that require vehicles with hauling

capabilities. Deer feeders and tree stands, for example, are popular

among whitetail hunters. Scouting and staging multiple feeder-stand

locations can be a one man job when using a UTV. UTVs easily haul

multiple passengers and cargo through a variety of terrain, making them

ideal for hunting clubs and lease partners. On the other end of the

hunting spectrum UTVs are ideal for setting up remote hunting camps.

There’s so much time devoted to creating or escaping to a hunting

paradise that off-road vehicles have become a necessity.

Great Plains Kubota salesman, Brent Elliott has a large family,

and they all enjoy the outdoors. He stated that without his off-road

vehicles they would do a lot less hunting.

“We use our ATVs and UTVs to check cameras, which is a great way

to scout for a busy guy like me. There’s no way I could check five

cameras after work if I was on foot. I also use them to drop off family

and friends at different hunting spots on my property. They’re more fuel

efficient than larger vehicles so I can haul kids, recover deer, and

scout without breaking the bank or my back. I wouldn’t be able to hunt

the way I do without these machines,” said Elliott.

Planting food plots is another increasing tactic hunters use to

attract deer. Hunters on a budget can easily plant supplemental food

anywhere on their property with an off-road vehicle paired with an

all-in-one tow behind implement.

The dedicated woodsman who treks solo after big game knows the

importance of a maneuverable off-road vehicle, such as an ATV. When it

comes to packing out game, a well-equipped ATV or UTV is simply the

superior method. Accessories like winches, trailers, cargo boxes,

additional lighting, GPS, and protective coverings are essential to the

all-terrain hunter. Another Great Plains Kubota hunter who knows the

challenges of hunting dramatic terrain is Allen Dennis.

“The land I hunt is only accessible by a steep ridge next to a

river. Trucks can’t handle the extreme incline so we have to use ATVs

to haul our gear to the hunting locations. We’ve even used ATVs to pull

trailers with riding mowers, so we could maintain our food plots. It’s

not like we actually hunt on them, but we couldn’t hunt without them,”

said Dennis.

Off-road vehicles used in hunting have also created conflicts

among the hunting community. Hunting and shooting from these machines

isn’t fair chase, and reflects poorly on the sport. Laws set in place

are designed to protect both the environment and the future of using

ATVs and UTVs for hunting.

So, which off-road vehicle is better? Choosing between ATVs or

UTVs comes down to preference, price, and capabilities. Typically ATV’s

are less expensive. They are faster and narrower than UTV’s, making them

capable of going places UTVs can’t. However UTV’s make up for this with

their torque and towing capabilities. With more storage capacity and

passenger options utility vehicles offer hunters versatility ATVs don’t

have. Despite there small differences off-road vehicles were both

designed to get hunters to and from extreme destinations.

For some, hunting is about creating a private paradise. For

others, it’s about escaping to far away destinations. Whatever’s

desired, off-road vehicles can be a hunter’s companion, pack mule, or

rescue team. They’re invaluable when setting up remote camps, scouting

property, planting food plots, or reaching extreme destinations. They

make all the wants and needs of the modern day hunter possible, and will

continue to evolve with the sport.