Joshua Creek’s Shotgun Approach

Pheasant Hunt at Joshua Creek Ranch

Wingshooters are an adventurous lot—always in search of variety and fresh challenges. Whether it means pursuing a mixed bag of gamebirds or trying different clay-target games, they’re constantly embracing new ways to test their shotgunning skills.

This desire for diversity is what steers shooters toward venues with full slates of offerings. Instead of limiting themselves to one type of shooting, they opt for lodges that offer an array of shotgunning activities. A number of destinations around the country provide the variety that shooters crave, but none does it better than Joshua Creek Ranch, in the Hill Country of Texas.

For more than 30 years Joshua Creek has been catering to the needs of discerning sportsmen—its diverse terrain allowing it to offer a full docket of experiences for hunters and shooters alike. In fact, guests are encouraged to sample an array of offerings, and the ranch even has a term for partaking in its upland hunting, driven pheasant shooting and decoyed duck hunting: It’s called completing the “Texas Wingshooting Trifecta.”

The main focus, of course, is the upland hunting, for which the ranch is well-known. When owners Joe and Ann Kercheville opened Joshua Creek, in 1990, upland hunting was the first offering, and since then they have continued to improve the property’s habitat and hunting experience. Today the ranch’s fertile creek and river bottoms and lightly wooded pastures boast prime cover and food plots that hold excellent numbers of bobwhite quail, pheasants and chukars. Walk-up hunting is with experienced guides who use a combination of pointing and flushing dogs to find birds and then blow them skyward. The shooting is fast, furious and nonstop.

For those who would rather the birds come to them, there is European-style driven-pheasant shooting. Taking advantage of the ranch’s varied terrain, guides have developed sites around the property where birds can be driven off bluffs and ridges and presented high over the Guns. The barrel-warming action is reminiscent of the shooting enjoyed “across the pond.”

Waterfowlers can sate their appetites with a decoyed mallard hunt. Taking place on two tree-lined lakes surrounded by comfortable blinds, these hunts see gunners, guides and a team of dogs, with ducks approaching from surrounding bluffs and offering both decoy- and pass-shooting. Groups of up to 16 hunters can enjoy bags of more than 100 birds.

Those who want to sharpen their skills on targets have a veritable smorgasbord of choices. One of the most popular is sporting clays, as the ranch offers two 10-station courses. Wending among live oak and elm trees, the courses present targets geared mostly toward less-experienced shooters but with some very challenging presentations mixed in. And they do it in one of the most picturesque settings in the country.

Taking it to the next level is the Simulated Driven Gamebird Shooting machine—offering realistic practice for everything from driven pheasants to decoying mallards to pass-shooting geese, doves and grouse. Utilizing six traps, the machine can present random flushes and flight patterns and the flurries associated with high-volume driven shooting. All the fun without the feathers.

With so many shooting activities on offer, it’s easy to understand the quandary that many Joshua Creek guests face: Which do I choose? Luckily those who spend several days at the ranch can opt to enjoy several, and those who don’t get to try all that they’d like to know that they can return for another round—or three.

Joshua Creek Ranch is a full-service Shooting Sportsman Endorsed Lodge. To learn more or to make a reservation, email or call 830-537-5090.

Photographs courtesy of Joshua Creek Ranch.

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