Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
On May 15, four Sierra employees were given the opportunity to travel to Albany, Texas to enjoy a couple days of hog hunting. They departed the Sierra Plant in Sedalia, Mo. early on the 15th, arriving at the Stasney’s Ranch in the late afternoon. The employees were Nathan Vanderlinden, Chris Franklin, Brandon Harris, and myself, Duane Siercks.
Upon their arrival they noticed immediately the abundance of bobwhite quail. Having been raised in Missouri during a time when quail were quite abundant, I have always missed the early morning/late evening quail calls. This was certainly a welcome sight to literally see hundreds of quail pairs wherever upon the ranch you went. Game such as deer, turkey, and hogs were in abundance also. Also quite prevalent are the cactus and mesquite.
This area was recovering from a major drought during which a lot of the cattle were shipped out to other states. A lot of the “tanks,” or what we call ponds in our area were completely dry. There was no grass to speak of and the wildlife suffered as well. In the last couple of years, the rains returned and the vegetation has prospered abundantly supporting a very rich magnitude of wildlife.
Once we made our way down the lengthy road to the Ranch Headquarters, we were met by Ranch Manager, Billy Hill. Mr. Hill showed us around the Headquarters and showed us some very comfortable sleeping quarters. I can tell you that the bed I slept in was just as comfortable as could be. The 50 acre lake in front of the Headquarters was very appealing to the eye, and according to the pictures of Mr. Hill and his daughter, the fishing would have been quite good also.
The following morning was the kick-off to our hog hunt. We were paired up with two hunters per guide. Brandon and myself were given the pleasure of hunting with Mr. Hill. He is extremely knowledgeable in the varied ways and means of pursuing the quarry. He had us in the midst of a group of hogs within minutes. All the while, the quail were calling, turkeys were seen strutting and could be heard gobbling. Deer were very much around at all times. The other Sierra employees were paired up with Chris. I could tell from the minute I met Chris that he was no stranger to hunting. He was only able to hunt with us for one day. The second day, we had another knowledgeable guide helping us. His name was Les Bowman. Anytime we were not out hunting, Les was keeping us well entertained. In fact, we could not remember laughing so hard in a very long time.
There were many hunting stories shared. Also to be viewed were many trophy game mounts displayed throughout the many buildings. Trophy racks and sheds included one that scores in excess of 240″ from a whitetail still running on the ranch. Longhorn cattle and steers displayed very impressive headgear. Roadrunners, horned lizards, and, yes, even the rattlers were seen. (Thanks to Billy and Les for helping me to get my trophy!)
The meals were outstanding. The chicken fried steak, the soup, the Mexican dishes, the steaks, and the desserts were quite a treat. Thanks Mrs. Shanna for the home cooked meals.
Mrs. Hill also shared with us quite a pictorial history lesson about the Ranch. We also learned about the vast wind farm in operation there. Huge wind turbines were viewed close at hand. These having a total overall height of about 450 feet. We were informed that the blade tips even in a light wind were traveling often times in excess of 125 MPH. Standing close underneath them, the blades coming past sounded very similar to a plane at take-off. There were also oil pumps in operation.
So much to do, so little time. It was time to head home before we even got started it seemed. This will certainly be a trip of many memories.
The trip was quite enjoyable. We were blessed to be able to harvest several hogs. Mr Hill, his wife Shanna, Chris, and Les were the best hosts I have had the pleasure of being with. Thanks for the great time and experience.