November 18, 2012

Hunting the Texas Hill Country - 1987 thru 2000

A record of my times as the manager of the Greif Bros. Corporation Hunting Camp in Kimble County, Texas ................

After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi I joined an industrial shipping container manufacturing company as a Sales Representative in January 1981. I was based at the LaPorte, Texas manufacturing plant and sales office.  We manufactured and supplied steel, fibre and plastic drums to major chemical companies in Texas and Louisiana.  After some success in my sales territory, I was promoted to District Sales Manager during 1985 and again during 1990 to General Manager of the Southwestern District, which was comprised of two manufacturing plants; located in LaPorte and Angleton, Texas.  During my 20 years at Greif Bros. Corporation I was privileged to work with many outstanding co-workers.  I left the company during a major re-organization during March 2001.

During November of 1982 I was invited, along with the Angleton, Texas Steel Drum Plant Manager, to a weekend hunt at a ranch near Rock Springs, Texas by one of our supplier companies, Delta Solvents & Chemicals. This was my first taste of Texas style hunting and I really enjoyed it.  After becoming the Southwestern District Sales Manager during 1985 I asked my boss, Michael M. Bixby, if we could establish a hunting venue in the Texas Hill Country to entertain our US Gulf Coast area customers.  It was during the summer of 1987 that Mr. Bixby received permission from John P. Berg, President of Greif Bros. Corporation, to go ahead with leasing a ranch for hunting. I departed  departed from LaPorte, Texas on a Monday morning during August 1987 and traveled for an entire week through the ranching communities along Hwy 90 and Hwy 83 west of San Antonio, Texas. On the Friday morning during my trip I met a Texas rancher and WW2 veteran, Mr. W.R. "Bill" Allen of Kimble County, Texas. His 3,200 acre homestead, the WR Allen Ranch, was located 9.9 miles south of Interstate 10 on Hwy 83 near the near the famous Hill Country town and county seat, Junction, Texas. The entrance to the ranch was 3 miles west of Highway 83 on County Road 110.  The WR Allen Ranch was then and remains today, the perfect representation of a classic Texas Hill Country ranch (majestic oak trees, buffalo grass, livestock, wildlife and rocks). On that Friday, during my tour of the ranch in Mr. Allen's pickup  morning, I saw a beautiful Hill Country habitat, scenic views, windmill-fed water tanks, and nearly 100 deer (bucks and does). The ranch had a hunter's house - a stucco exterior, galvanized metal roof, two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, one bathroom, large concrete patio and screened-in deer cleaning shed. There were 13 box blinds and feeder pens, all in first-class condition. The 3 mile improved road (County Road #110) from Highway 83 to the ranch entrance was in excellent condition and wheel-rutted roads throughout the ranch were very adequate for our hunting vehicles. Allen Creek, a thirty-foot wide, solid rock riverbed that crossed the county road rarely filled with water so we had virtually unobstructed, smooth, dry travel all the way from Houston to the hunter house. After bringing Mr. Bixby to the ranch for a guided tour with Mr. Allen, we signed a one-page, one-year lease for the hunter house and land for the 1987/1988 hunting season. After lots of work to ready the hunter house for guests, we entertained the first group of Houston area customers during the first week November 1987. For me this was the start of many years of guiding hunts, entertaining customers and enjoying the rugged beauty of the WR Allen Ranch. During 1991 we leased an additional 1,000 acre section from Mr. Bob Allen (Bill Allen's son) who was leasing the Dickson Ranch property for his cattle and goat operations.  A couple years later we added another 1,400 acres of the Dickson Ranch located on the east side of Highway 83, giving us a total of 5,600 acres to hunt. We now had a total of 25 hunting stands and feeder pens. During our years at the WR Allen and Dickson Ranches we were able to hunt free-ranging White-tailed Deer, Axis Deer and Turkey. Each year we bagged 15 to 20 White-tailed bucks, 20 to 30 White-tailed does, 2 or 3 Axis deer, and an occassional Rio Grande turkey.

It was a privilege to locate, startup and manage this unique entertainment venue for so many years. I have many fond memories of my times at the WR Allen Ranch with our company guests and my co-workers. Special thanks to all of the Greif Bros. Corporation co-workers who worked many hours over the years to to make the GBC Hunting Camp a success - Michael Bixby (Vice President - Norco/West Coast Division), Lucy Collins (Secretary - LaPorte, TX), Larry Allen (Plant Manager - LaPorte, TX), A.C. Hoyt (Shipping Manager - LaPorte, TX), Donald LaFosse (Steel Drum Dept. - LaPorte, TX), Lester Kinard (Fibre Drum Dept. - LaPorte, TX), Trent Hallum (GM - St. Gabriel, LA), Robert Addison (GM - St. Gabriel, LA), Dana Moore (Sales - St. Gabriel, LA), George Pederson (GM - Ft. Worth, TX), Aldy Broyles (Sales - Ft. Worth, TX), Debra Jenkins (Sales - LaPorte, TX), Jim Hummer (Sales - LaPorte, TX), Brandon Silver (Sales - LaPorte, TX), Randy Allison (Sales - LaPorte, TX), Doug Kreitzer (Regional Sales Mgr, Houston, TX).  During the 1999 and 2000 hunting seasons, Randy Allison stepped in and managed the hunting camp doing an excellent job.  After I left the company during March of 2001, Randy Allison and Doug Keitzer managed the Hunting Camp for one or two more hunting seasons and then it was discontinued.  I am proud to note that during the 14 years of hunting at the WR Allen Ranch, we never shot any livestock, never started a wild fire, nobody was injured, and we cared for the ranch like it was our own.

Words alone cannot express my gratitude and respect for our hosts, Mr. W.R. "Bill" Allen and his wife, Margaret.  They were kind, hardy and tolerant people who worked hard and successfully ranched in Kimble County their entire life.  They were well-known and respected in Junction, Texas. Their cattle, sheep and goats were among the finest in the State of Texas. We are thankful for all the years that they opened their ranch to us and our guests.  Bill and Margaret Allen have since passed away and the Allen Ranch is managed by Bob Allen and his wife, Laurrie.  Their children are Bill (named after his grandfather) and KK.  Bob and Laurrie continue the Allen family tradition of Hill Country Ranching and you can visit their website at

This blog is dedicated to my wife.  She was never happy when hunting season came around each year because it was a time when I would be gone Friday thru Sunday for as many as 10 weekends and she was at home alone with our young children. Our children were born in 1986 (Brent), 1990 (Sarah) and 1994 (Ryan).  However, she knew that hunting was my favorite hobby and the GBC Hunting Camp had an important business purpose.  I will never forget the many years that I drove during the evening hours to the Segovia Truck Stop on Interstate 10 to use an outdoor pay phone (before cell phones existed) to call home and check on her and the children.  It was always good to hear her voice.  She never forbade me to go to the ranch and I will always be thankful to her for supporting me in my passion for hunting in the Texas Hill Country.  Thank you....Lisa.


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Really awesome to read this descriptive memory of your awesome adventures.

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