FAQs

How many guns can we combine in one party?

For traditional walk-up Upland Bird hunts, we allow 3 maximum, including any observers. Our first concern is always safety! With the different types of terrain and cover and the different pace of people in the field, it is potentially dangerous and possibly confusing to have more than three people shooting and/or observing in a walk-up hunting situation.

For driven pheasant shoots, we require a line of least 4 shooters, and we can accommodate as many as 15 on one line of guns.

The Continental shoot requires 10 guns and can accommodate up to 20 shooters, because they are rotating through ten different double-positions as the shoot progresses.

For decoyed mallard duck hunts, we require a minimum of 4 guns.

What is the minimum age for hunters?

The minimum age requirement for hunters is 12 years old, unless they have completed the Joshua Creek Ranch Youth Program.

How do you charge for birds?

Each half-day hunt at JCR includes a limit of birds to shoot for the hunting package you choose. In the 2 ½ hours you are in the field for hunting each morning or afternoon, your guide and his dogs will show you plenty of birds to achieve your limit. Once your limit is shot, you may choose to continue shooting at very reasonable prices per bird shot. A “bird shot” is defined as any bird that is killed and bagged or wounded, whether or not the wounded bird is found. Hunters may choose to increase their limit in advance of going to the field or they may choose to continue hunting after their limit is met in the field. Charges for birds shot in excess of package limits will be added to the final invoice on a cost-per-bird basis. Feel free to discuss the “bird shot” definition with your guide before, during and after your hunt.

Do you offer shooting instruction?

Yes, we do offer shotgun shooting instructions. We maintain full-time shooting instructors for beginning and intermediate shooters. For more advanced shooters who want to polish their skill, a professional shooting instructor can be arranged with advance notice. All shooting instruction is done using clay targets. An appointment is required.

JCR’s Wingshooting School includes shooting instruction as well as information about ammo, hunting dogs, gun function, hunting habitat and more.

How many acres do you have?

JCR covers 1300 acres of widely diverse habitat and terrain that make it seem much larger. A hunter once said, “Flatten it out, and JCR would be about 6000 acres!” Most of the ranch is lightly wooded upland pastures planted with improved grasses that are managed for bird hunting habitat. The bottom land along the Joshua Creek and Guadalupe River are largely open fields planted in food and cover crops, perfect for flushing up pheasant with a line of shooters. The rest of the ranch is heavy timber and the typical Hill Country flora that provides cover and food for excellent Whitetail, Axis deer, and Rio Grande turkey hunting.

Can I hunt without a guide?

Simply, for wingshooting the answer is "no." We adhere to this policy for one very important reason. Your safety! As many as 13 upland bird hunting parties could be in the fields at the same time. And because all interior fencing has been removed from the ranch for the convenience of hunting guests, you could accidentally wander into an area where other guests are hunting, or they could mistakenly wander into your hunting area. The results could be disastrous. The hunting guides know the boundaries of each hunting area and make your safety their paramount objective.

Also, all Axis buck and all bow hunts must be guided. Some Whitetail deer hunts can be unguided (or semi-guided) at hunter’s request and Joshua Creek Ranch’s discretion.

How often do you release birds?

Our goal is for you to have an outstanding hunt every time you visit Joshua Creek Ranch, and that includes an abundance of wild-performing birds. We release birds continuously, using a method developed by wildlife biologists. Our birds are released into the natural habitat prior to and throughout the hunting season. As birds are harvested new birds are introduced into the habitat and adopted by existing coveys in established territories. We also release excess birds prior to special events, like driven pheasant shoots, resulting in an abundance of birds in the fields. We track releases and hunter success ratios to determine our huntable inventory per pasture and frequently replenish each hunting area.

Do you have meals available?

Yes, we have an excellent chef and an experienced kitchen staff. Since we are not a restaurant, advance reservations are required for any of the three sumptuous meals we serve each day. If you would like meals to accompany your visit to the ranch, we need to know that in advance so we can staff and stock sufficiently. There is no minimum number of guests required for breakfast or lunch reservations. But at dinner, we require six dining guests (all parties combined) to have the chef come in. 

As is typical at hunting lodges, the same menu is served to all guests at each of the three daily meals. If you or anyone in your party have special dietary restrictions we need to know that in advance of your arrival in order to be prepared to accommodate you.

What is your cancellation policy?

Your booking is important to us, and great care goes into being prepared for your visit. Cancellations and "no-shows" result in over-staffing and unnecessary expenses, which we would rather not pass on to our other members and guests through higher prices. Please remember that this is a seasonal business with only so many days (and particularly weekends) to schedule hunts. We do not over-book, so if you cancel your reservation, it is often difficult to fill the time reserved for you with another guest’s activities. It is an opportunity lost to us and to other guests. (If we are able to fill your booking, we will adjust your cancellation charge).

Our cancellation policy is simple:

• Cancellations must be in writing via mail, fax or e-mail and you must receive written confirmation from Joshua Creek Ranch of receipt of your cancellation notice.
• Cancellations received more than 60 days prior to the booking incur a $150 cancellation fee.
• Cancellations received less than 60 days but more than 30 days prior to the booking have a 35% per person cancellation fee. The balance of your deposit will be applied to a future booking; 5% rescheduling fee for a change of date after confirmation of booking.
• Cancellations received less than 30 but more than 10 days prior to booking have a 50% per person cancellation fee; 15% rescheduling fee.
• Cancellations received less than 10 days prior to the booking are charged 100% per person cancellation fee; 25% rescheduling fee. "No-Shows" are charged the full value of the booking.
• If you must cancel, you can avoid a cancellation fee by finding a replacement to fill your booking.
• Rescheduling must occur within one year of the original reservation arrival date or the amount on deposit for the reservation will be forfeited.
• We encourage you to consider trip cancellation insurance. Contact your insurance agent or travel agent for information regarding such policies.
• Joshua Creek Ranch reserves the right to cancel, postpone, or substitute an alternate activity if weather conditions prevent the delivery of the specific services reserved. Appropriate adjustments will be made to clients’ charges.

Because we’re dedicated to delivering an excellent experience every time you visit, this cancellation policy is necessary to keep our rates reasonable. We would never want to disappoint you by being unprepared when you arrive for your visit, so please consider the unnecessary expense load placed on us when cancellations or “no shows” occur. Given your own business experience, we're confident you will understand the need to make the most of the Ranch’s limited availability of time and facilities for guest enjoyment. Let's be sure that we communicate and avoid unnecessary situations that result in extra expense for all of us.

Do you have rental guns?

Yes, we have rental guns available on a half-day basis. These guns are 12, 20, 28 and .410 gauge over-and-under Beretta or Rizzini shotguns, suited to both clay target shooting and wingshooting. If you're traveling and it's not convenient for you to bring your gun, you'll enjoy shooting one of these fine shotguns. Advance reservation of your desire to rent a shotgun will help ensure its availability when you arrive. From time-to-time certain rental guns are sold at discounted prices. If you have an interest in purchasing one of these guns, you may contact Guest Services and have your name placed on a waiting list.

Can I hunt with my own dog?

Yes, we encourage our guests to bring their dogs to Joshua Creek Ranch. But before you come, you need to ask yourself, “Is this a hunting experience or a training experience?" We want to be sure you enjoy your hunt, and a big part of that is dog performance. If you want to get your dog into a lot of birds, then this is the place to do it. However, if, in the excitement of the hunt, your dog is lacking response to basic commands, or flushing birds out-of-range, then you can continue the balance of your hunt using your guide's dogs. When staying overnight at one of the ranch accommodations, a limited number of structured on-site kennels are available to shelter your dog. Under no circumstances are dogs permitted inside the lodges. When not on a guided hunt, your dog must be in a kennel or on a leash. Hunting dogs are not permitted unleashed in the vicinity of Cypress Lodge, Branch Haus or Long Haus. Dogs are not permitted to wander the property because we have traps and snares set for predator control and do not want to risk injury to any dogs.

How long is your season?

There's something to hunt throughout the year at Joshua Creek Ranch, so we're open year-round for your enjoyment. Starting in early September, hunting for migratory mourning doves and whitewings is available. Then in mid-September, the ranch offers early morning quail hunts and driven pheasant shoots. Come October 1st, all styles of upland bird hunting for quail, pheasant, and chukar are available through March 31st. Hungarian partridge are added to the mix of upland birds beginning in December. Decoyed mallard duck hunting is available October through March. If conditions permit, the hunting season for upland birds and mallards may be extended for a few days into early April. Texas turkey hunting is open in both the autumn and spring seasons established by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Texas whitetail can be hunted from October through February using the ranch's Managed Land Deer Permits. Axis deer can be hunted year-round, although the best trophies are taken in the late spring and summer months.

When can I fish for Rainbow Trout?

As long as the water levels can accommodate and the water temperature drops below 70 degrees (typically in October or November), Joshua Creek is stocked with rainbow trout and, from then through May, provides an exciting challenge to fly fishermen. There is always time to relax between bird hunts with some Hill Country fly fishing in the crystal clear waters of spring-fed Joshua Creek! Some guests opt to spend their whole day casting a line to the fish, hoping to discover the one fly that will prove irresistible to the trout.

Can I use a pump or semi-automatic shotgun? 

Not for upland bird hunting (Quail, Pheasant, Chukar, Partridge). You may use a pump or semi-automatic on our sporting clays course or for decoyed mallard duck hunts, but not in the fields for upland birds. First and foremost, it’s a safety concern. Secondly, the style of hunting we do at Joshua Creek Ranch is traditionally more conducive to over/under and side-by-side shotguns. And, last but not least, it is difficult to retrieve all of the empty shells ejected from a pump or semi-automatic which can eventually lead to unwanted litter in our pristine hunting fields.

What are the standard times each day for hunts, meals, check-in and check-out?

Our hunting season daily schedule is as follows:

7:45am Country Style Breakfast Buffet at Cypress Lodge
8:50am Meet your Guide in the Parking Area
9:00am Morning Bird Hunts
12:00pm Check Out of Lodging (on departure day)
12:30pm Lunch
1:50pm Meet your Guide in the Parking Area
2:00pm Afternoon Bird Hunts
3:00pm Check In to Lodging (on arrival day)
6:45pm Fireside Appetizers on the Cypress Lodge Patio (weather permitting)
7:15pm Gourmet Dinner at Cypress Lodge

Activities and meals require advanced booking. Refer to your host or personal itinerary for details. Check with your guide for mallard duck and deer hunting times. Times are subject to change.