Y.O. — Let’s go! by Charlie Batts (introduction by Randy Rowley)


Introduction: I was introduced to the Y.O. by Mr. Charlie Batts. Derrich Pollock wanted to bag an axis buck and I got to tag along to hunt pigs. I had heard whispers of the Y.O. before but nothing I heard prepared me for what I found upon entering the Y.O.’s gates.

Despite the fact that we arrived after dark, there were animals everywhere – It was like driving into another world. Eyes from countless animals glowed in our headlights. Many could be seen walking along side the road or standing and watching as we drove by. Derrich and I were in awe. In the first 500 yards I saw more animals than I had in my last five years of hunting. We knew that we were in store for a special time. We were not disappointed.

Later that evening, Charlie took us to the Y.O. Lodge. It was like walking into hunters heaven. I have never seen so many trophy mounts in one place at one time. Although we went to play pool, we didn’t start our first game for almost an hour – it took that long to admire all the trophy’s. There were whitetail mounts literally in rows. Next to them were huge fallow deer heads, sika, blackbucks, mule deer, catalina goats, aoudad, ibex, mouflon sheep, corsican sheep, turkey, oryx and many more. An axis buck and a large standing bear were guarding the fire place. Axis pillow covers adorned the sofa. The sheer magnitude of trophies was almost overpowering. Most of the guys that I know would have killed to have any one of those animals on his wall.

That night as we slept in Charlie’s pop-up trailer we were visited by Fallow deer. They bugle like Elk and almost gave me a heart attack. Derrich, of course, slept through it all.

We hunted the next morning and saw quite an impressive array of animals. Derrich and Charlie saw several Whitetails and Axis but no trophy’s. I saw several Whitetail and a Blackbuck doe. Charlie then took us on a guided daylight tour of the ranch. In the free roaming landowners section we saw dozens of Turkey, Whitetails, Blackbucks, Sika and one huge Axis buck that was, unfortunately, on someone else’s land.

Charlie then took us on a tour of the African section and a section of animals that were for sale in auctions. It was unbelievable. There were animals everywhere. In the for sale section were huge herds of Aoudad, Mouflon, white and black Fallow bucks, Axis, Sika, and even American Buffalo. In the Africa section we saw Giraffes, many types of Antelopes, Zebras, Ibexes, Ostriches and even Wildebeests. Derrich and I were like two kids in a candy store. We couldn’t snap pictures fast enough.

Derrich got his Axis buck the next morning. Of course he waited until he was less than a hundred yards behind me before he squeezed off his .270 and almost made me jump out of the tree that I was in. I believe that Charlie planned it that way. We caped and quartered the animal, packed and went home. If you ask Derrich or me the hunt was anti-climatic. The shear joy of seeing so many animals free roaming, many that you would normally see thousands of miles away, made this one of the most memorable hunt that I have ever been on – and I didn’t even fire a shot.

History: In 1880 the Y.O. Ranch and brand “X” were acquired by Captain Charles Schreiner. He acquired 550,000 acres. He was a half orphaned boy for 14 years before his success started.

He drove 300,000 head of Longhorn cattle along the western trail to Dodge City, and made his fortune. Today, the Schreiner family, including Charles Schreiner III and his four sons, Charles IV, Walter, Gus and Louis still own and work the 80 square mile ranch. Their wives assist by adding a woman’s touch to the ranch. You will see wreaths, bows and special woman’s touches throughout the ranch especially noticed on holidays.

Legend: Charlie III began to introduce Longhorn cattle to the ranch in the 1950’s. At that time, Longhorn cattle were nearly extinct except for the ones on government refuges. With help from breeders, Charlie founded the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association which now has about 3,000 members that represent over 62,000 registered Longhorn cattle. The ranch has the largest quality herd of Longhorns in the country with people from all over the world coming to the spring sale. I think the cattle are like the ranch – almost bullet proof in all kinds of situations.

The Y.O. Ranch has no oil or gas spewing from it’s soil. It is truly a working ranch. About half of it’s income is from ranching. Cattle herding, calf roping and sheep shearing are still seen at the Y.O.. Registered Quarter Horses are also becoming part of the operation.

Fun: There is an African section at the ranch that can be toured. If you closed your eyes and opened them after arriving in the African section, you would swear you were in the heart of Africa. One can see Antelope, Zebra, Giraffe, Ostrich, Emu, Aoudad, Ibex, Oryx, Gemsbuck, and many more. The Y.O. is the largest private hunting area of it’s kind in the world. After the devastating drought (worse than out this year) in the 1950’s when the Y.O. had no measurable rain for seven years, the Schreiner’s decided an extra source of income was needed. They began stocking free roaming animals from all over the world. Now there are large established herds of Axis, Sika, Fallow, Blackbuck Antelope and Whitetail deer. Blackbuck Antelope are now protected in their native land of India and the Y.O. often ships many back to India. There are more Blackbuck at the Y.O. than in India.

Who can go hunt at the Y.O.? The answer is simply anyone who can afford it. Prices start at about $1800 and go as high as $10,000 or more for special exotics. I am fortunate to have a friend that purchased land in the landowners section several years ago. I help him maintain his property and manage the game according to the Y.O. Landowners Association rules. There is nothing like a weekend at the Y.O. when you can go out and see so many different kinds of animals. I enjoy bow and gun hunting there and occasionally can take a friend just to see the ranch. The sights and sounds of the ranch can be compared to no other. The animals, lodge, showers, pool, and bathhouses make it an enjoyable experience.  So if you call me and I’m not home, chances are I’m at the Y.O.  Let’s go!

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Bible Verse of the Day

A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous.