Dec 11th-13th: The weekend of Joshua's Dream Hunt trip.
We left Friday morning, December 11th heading through Uvalde and into Del Rio, which is near the border with Mexico. Just northwest of Del Rio, we were directed to look for Allen Ranch Road. That is where the private property is located where we were to go deer hunting for the tv show.
We arrived around 2:30 in the afternoon. We knew we were at the right place when we saw the pickup truck parked out front. It was plastered with camouflage and TNT Outdoor Adventures logos.
I had been worried a bit about our accomodations. Would we be sleeping in a tent or a small shack, or at somebody's house on the couch? I had no idea. My husband even asked me on our way if they'd told me for us to pack sleeping bags or something. "No," I said. But I did make sure we had pillows and blankets just in case.
Little did I know the spot they had arranged for the hunt was the 16,000 acre Texas Antlers Ranch. And we'd be staying at a practically brand new lodge that resembled a log cabin. The place is BEAUTIFUL. Below are some pictures I took:
We took our stuff inside and checked out our room. It was great. We had a nice big bed and Josh had bunkbeds of his own. The windows and bedspreads were white with little deer on them. We also had a large bathroom with 2 showers and double sinks. It was stocked with toiletries and even a hair dryer.
Outside our room was the great room with a living area... which had a rock wall fireplace (kind of like our old house in Odessa had - I sure miss our old fireplace), a big kitchen and dining tables. And we would have our very own chef! She already had snacks available for us if we'd like - homemade chocolate chip cookies, fruit, and chips!
James and Josh were super excited at the opportunity to go on this guided deer hunt. While they were out, they saw lots of deer and even spotted the one buck they were hoping Josh could shoot. But the deer never gave them a clear shot. So, they came back empty handed the first night. Not to worry, though. They would have a second chance Saturday morning. And for dinner.... big, juicy, thick steaks with all the fixings!
We also spent the evening taking a few more pictures of the lodge:
While we were still out in the field on our way back to the lodge, the ranch owner made some phone calls. By the time we got back near the lodge and barn (where the deer would be taken to be cleaned), quite a crowd had gathered. There was a newspaper reporter, one of the men who lease part of the ranch, other hunters and several people who work the ranch.
Before we finished taking pictures there, the rancher's wife and children showed up with the taxidermist. They had some gifts for Josh and told us they were going to have Joshua's deer mounted for us for FREE! (We later found out that work usually costs several hundred dollars) And they would even have the mounting finished and sent to us by Christmas - which is super fast!
Sunday morning, we were told we'd made the front page of the Del Rio newspaper! They said there was only one mistake in it. They had written that we are from Uvalde. (not sure why they would have thought that). We stopped at the HEB in Del Rio on our way back home and picked up a few copies of the paper so we could have a look and to share with others. Here's what was on the front page:
And here is the story inside:
Below are some links to websites for more information about the TV show, the ranch where we hunted, the taxidermist preparing Josh's and James' deer and the place where the deer meat is being processed:
The show is Cast of Dreams on TNT Outdoors Explosion.
Here is their website: http://www.tntoutdoorexplosion.com/index.php
Texas Antlers is the ranch with the great lodge where we stayed.
Here is their website: http://www.texasantlers.com/
The taxidermist mounting the deer is Carmen Cantu of RC Taxidermy Wildlife Studio in Del Rio.
Here is her website: http://www.rctaxidermy.com/index.html
And the meat processing place is Uvalde Meat Market and Processing run by the Jackowski family.
Here is their website: http://www.uvaldemeatprocessing.com/