Frequently Asked Questions
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How many guests will be at the FTW while I am there and how many students in my class?
For regular (non-custom or corporate groups) SAAM classes, we normally run 5 students per instructor team and we manage 2-3 instructor teams at any one time. On hunts, we normally have a maximum of 10 - depending on the species being hunted. Many hunters prefer to have a guide and if you are unsure of trophy quality, we recommend it.
Can the FTW be used for private corporate or family groups?
Yes. We are happy to host private groups for families, corporations or writer's groups. With a minimum of 15 folks, the ranch will be yours to hunt or to train or both. The FTW is a great place for product introductions, sales training and corporate/family retreats!
How do we get around the FTW Ranch?
We will be travelling in our fleet of jeeps with nice gun racks and plenty of space for your gear as well.
How many ranges and what types of target systems does the FTW Ranch have?
There are over 20 active ranges and more under construction. Several are for military use only. The distances on our ranges vary from "up close and personal" for dangerous game species training to 700 yards on our "hunter proofing" ranges, to 2,500 yards on our military ranges. Our target systems are a combination of paper precision targets, steel plates in 6", 9", 12" and 15", and "life-size targets" of mountain, plains game and dangerous species in both moving and static. For the SAAM Safari program there are life-size elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard, hippo and croc; many are moving and charging for realistic training and situational awareness drills.
What can you expect for the weather and temperatures?
We average 14" to 20" of rain fall each year (we hope!!) and normally we get 1/2 to 1 inch at a time. It is almost always windy on the FTW, which makes for great wind call training!
expect cold (30-45) mornings and evenings, 50-75 throughout the day... We do get the occasional rain shower in March.
expect 60-70's in the mornings and evenings, 80-100 through the day... We get most of our rains in April-June.
What does the schedule look like for a typical day?
For SAAM Training, either Precision or Safari.
We wake you at your requested time with the beverage of your choice (coffee, tea, etc...) and breakfast at 7:00AM. We head to the field or first activity for the day at 7:45AM. Lunch is served at 12:30PM. We go back out for our next exercise at 1:30PM and return to the lodge around 6:00PM where you can relax for 30 minutes or so, the de-briefing session begins at 6:30PM till dinner at 7:00PM. After dinner there is always TV to watch or socializing.
The lodge is equipped with Wi-Fi
For SAAM Hunt Combos.
We follow the same schedule for Day One and Day Two. On Day Three and Day Four we normally are up at 4:30AM to hunt in the morning and back to the lodge for brunch at 10:30AM. You will depart for the field around 11:30AM to continue SAAM Training and return around 3:30PM for 4:00PM dinner. By 5:00PM you are back out to the field for an afternoon of hunting.
For Hunts Only.
We normally are up at 4:30AM to go hunting in the morning and back for brunch at 10:30AM. After a big dinner at 3:30PM, by 4:00PM we are back out to the field for an afternoon of hunting. During the mid-day break we may continue spot and stalk hunting if the weather and game movements warrant, go shooting on the ranges, watch your favorite TV show, read a book and/or rest up.
How big is the FTW Ranch and what is the terrain like?
12,000+ acres. It is very rugged terrain with many deep valleys and mountains, perfect for training and works great as a large wildlife refuge! It is so rugged that we literally can only access about half of the ranch. There are many canyons and areas we can hunt, but only on foot or on the fringes of these areas. There are many species of oak and other trees, a very diverse browsing line and some very prolific Texas native grasses as well. We do have natural water all year round in many of the spring fed creeks and we have installed stock tanks throughout the ranch for wildlife diversity.
Do Military units train on the FTW and can I shoot their targets?
We do a considerable amount of Military and Law Enforcement training. We do not allow civillians to shoot the dedicated military targets (i.e.: human silhouettes), the SAAM Program is hunter training, not tactical training. There are many hunter training target systems on the FTW that will keep you well entertained! Note:
We DO NOT train civillians in tactical methods
, SAAM is hunter training!
Is the FTW High Fenced?
Yes. We high fence to keep animals out, not to keep them in. It is the best way to control genetics. For instance we have one of the largest semi-free ranging herds of Markhor and Nubian Ibex in North America and it would only take a few domestic goats to be catastrophic to our genetics! We also fence the 27 mile perimeter to keep out feral hogs which, if not controlled, are a very serious problem.
Is Tipping required?
No, that is totally up to you! It is very appreciated if you choose to do so. The tips are pooled and each gets a share. The staff elected several years ago to do this as it makes the client's life easier and it is most fair and equitable to all as the staff works equally as hard for everyone.
Can I ship my luggage, guns and ammunition to the Ranch?
Yes! UPS and FedEx, are the best methods, we receive shipments from these companies daily. The FTW is an FFL holder and allowed to receive guns and ammunition. Please ensure everything is very well packaged. If shipping anything, please let us know ahead of time. Also, allow plenty of time for your shipment to arrive at the ranch.
Can you ship my guns and ammunition back to me?
Yes! Please bring a prepaid UPS or FedEx Bill of Lading and we can drop it off in town on our next trip. If packaging is required, we can take care of that for you as well. There will be a packaging charge from the UPS Store for packaging and we will add that back to your invoice.
What is included in my package?
- Meals and lodging
- Guiding and instruction
- Beverages including liquor, beer and wine. If you have a special brand, please inquire.
- On SAAM courses you are also given hearing protection, shoulder pad, SAAM manual and several other useful tools to keep
- Trophy Preparation or Trophy Fees if hunting
- Rifle rental (if you choose not to bring your own) and ammunition if you need to purchase it
- Transporation to/from the FTW Ranch
What are the rooms like and am I expected to stay with someone that I do not know?
Our cabins are very comfortable with in-suite bathroom and queen size beds. It is our policy to only house guests with members of their group or family members only. If you are attending alone, you will be assigned your own cabin.
What if I forget to pack a personal item?
We maintain a wide variety of personal supplies in case you forget something, i.e.: toothbrushes, shampoo, etc...
What entertainment/communications are available in the lodge?
There is Wi-Fi in the lodge and classroom area (a few cabins get it as well) and, of course, television, Wii games, pool table and we offer a wide variety of reading material from our library. Your cell phone will NOT work except on 3 mountain tops; however, there is a guest phone available in the lodge as well.
What are the meals like?
You will not lose weight, we promise!! We manage our menus to give you a wide variety of culinary delights. For dinners, we have Mexican dishes to beef brisket that will melt your mouth as well as pasta meals, stuffed flounder and Ribs. Breakfast/brunch is a variety of egg dishes with a wide variety of meat and fruits. Lunches are made up of everyone's favorites such as sandwiches, pizza, chef salads, soups, etc...
What if I have allergies to certain foods?
When you receive the information package, there is a client questionnaire included with a section for allergies or food dislikes/intolerances. Please complete and we can accomodate your needs.
Is there a bar at the lodge? And if so, what is it stocked with?
We have a bar with beer on tap, a wide variety of wines and a variety of liquors and mixers. For special brands, please inquire.
What are the bar hours and rules regarding liquor?
The Bar opens after all shooting/hunting is done for the day. The bar closes a minimum of 8 hours before wake-up the next morning in accordance with our "8-Hour Jigger to Trigger" policy. There is no alcohol consumption allowed during the hunting or training day. If any liquor is consumed by you, all the activities involving firearms are done for the day and no guns are handled whatsoever.
Can I keep liquor in my room?
We ask that you not do that; if you brought your own, we can keep it under lock and key for you.
What if I don't drink liquor? Are there non-alcoholic beverages available?
No problem, we offer a wide variety of juices, soft drinks, coffee, and tea, both iced and hot.
Can I bring a pet to the Ranch?
We are sorry to say, NO. It is not fair to the pet to be locked up outside all day and we do have predators, coyetes, etc...
What are the best airports to use?
San Antonio (SAT) is the nearest commercial airport, 2.5 hours by car. There is a private airport at Kerrville with full services, 1.5 hours by car. Rock Springs has a 2,500ft runway, no services, 30 minutes by car.
How far from the San Antonio Airport is the FTW Ranch?
It is about a 2.5 hour drive, good roads. Take I-410 West out the airport, merge from I-410 West onto I-10 West. Stay on I-10 West for about 85 miles to Exit #490 (Hwy 41). Turn left onto Hwy 41 and travel 47 miles to Ranch Road 335 (RR335) and turn left. Travel 14 Miles and on your left you will see the FTW Ranch sign. That is country road 228, travel 2 miles to our front gate. Come in the gate (please close it behind you) and come up to the Lodge.
What if I am driving, what is the best way to get there?
The main route will be I-10, please see the directions above, and once on I-10 take exit #490 regardless if coming from the East or West. There is another option from the South through Uvalde on Hwy 90 if coming from the South; it will not save time and I-10 is a more direct route.
What time do I need to arrive at the lodge on the arrival date?
Unless otherwise specified for a corporate or custom group, we serve dinner the first night at 7:00PM so arriving between 5:30 and 6:30 gives you some time to settle in and relax a bit.
Please note that Kerrville is your last fuel stop until you get to the ranch. It is about 150 miles round trip from Kerrville to the ranch, please plan your fuel accordingly.
What time should I fly in and out of San Antonio?
A flight arriving into San Antonio between 1 and 2PM will give you ample time to rent your vehicle and make the 2.5 hour drive. On the departure day, we suggest the same departure time.
When should I plan to depart?
We appreciate it when folks can stay the last night after class as we usually have a graduation ceremony and mini celebration of everyone’s accomplishments. Everyone normally does their check out paperwork then as well. If you are flying out of San Antonio, plan to leave the ranch at least 4.5 hours before flight time, time enough to turn in your rental and check guns etc. We do ask that everyone depart no later than 9:00AM to allow the staff enough time to clean up.
Is SAAM Precision Long Distance Hunter Training?
NO! We consider “long distance hunting” as that point in time when “you are not 100% certain that you will kill your quarry with one shot!” We teach ethical hunter practices and to know you can or cannot make that shot. In our opinion, hoping to hit your quarry is unethical and unsportsmanlike. At SAAM, you will;
- Become a better hunter
- Expand your capabilities
- Have a much better understanding of your equipment capabilities
- Be much better prepared for those expensive and hard earned hunts
You owe it to yourself and your quarry!
Are Observers welcome? What can they do while there?
Observers are more than welcome! Most times they ride along during some of the training evolutions and watch/observe. They are welcome to take photos of the ranch and animals. They can stay at the lodge and watch their favorite movie, television or read. The adult observers might choose to take their rental car and go explore the Hill Country area of Uvalde, Fredericksburg, Junction or even San Antonio for the day and come back for dinner.
Is there a minimum age requirement?
We find that children 10 and up do very well, in fact it is not uncommon for the ladies and children to be some of the best shooters in the class. Coming through the FTW is often a life changer for younger folks; you will likely see a more mature and responsible youngster!
Can I send my child or grandchild by themselves?
Anyone under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The parent or guardian may come as an observer but must be at the ranch at all times.
Is there a minimum Class Size and can I have a private class?
Yes. We must have a minimum of four students per instructor team. Private classes are available however, we do not recommend a one on one class as you learn much more with fellow students. Private classes for groups are available, please inquire.
Can my whole family come?
We encourage it! A few things to keep in mind though; if bringing small children that are not hunting or going through training, a family member or sitter will have to be with them at all times. We have many family groups come through each year and it is truly a great experience for everyone.
What will my exposure to the Sun be?
We do 80% of the training under covered roof but sunscreen should be used regardless. On day 3 and 4, we will do evolutions on our walk through and drive around courses. Long pants and long sleeves are a good idea as well as sunglasses. You will be given an FTW ball cap to keep, which can be used for sun protection.
Do I need a canteen?
No. Wherever you go on the FTW you will be accompanied by a cooler of bottled water and we will encourage you to stay hydrated at all times.
Can I bring my spotting scope and binoculars?
Yes. Although you will have little use for the spotting scope on hunts or beginner SAAM classes as we use our own and you will be spending most of your time on the gun. On SAAM Advanced classes, the spotting scope will come in handy as you will have time for wind calling practice.
Can or should I bring my shooting sticks?
For SAAM Training, YES! For hunting that is your call, we have them here and you may or may not need/want them.
Why do I need a Backpack?
For hunting you will need it for carrying your gear. For SAAM you will actually train with it and use it as a shooting aid. It is amazing what you can do with a pack. Please bring the one you plan to hunt with. If not convenient to bring one we have loaners.
What if I am not happy with my gun or my scope, or if either of them breaks while there?
No worries! We have a very large pool of guns in varying calibers which you can rent. If your scope fails we have a wide variety in many makes and models that you can use to get through the course and purchase if you wish. Either way, the important thing is to finish the course. (Note: In many cases we find hunters that are much more capable then the equipment they bring. In these case it is highly recommended to rent gear that will maximize your training opportunity.)
Can I come through the training and not bring a gun and just rent one?
Of course, that is a great way to learn and make a better purchasing decision in the future as to the kind of gun make/model and/or scope that works best for you.
How many rounds will I shoot during the SAAM Courses?
Plan on bringing 260 rounds unless bringing two calibers, then bring 140 for each. If planning to shoot one more than the other, adjust accordingly.
Bring a total of 280-300 rounds as follows; 160 for your medium caliber rifle (.243-.338). 100 rounds for your big bore guns (.375 and up), suggest 40 downloaded rounds, 40 hunting “softs” and 20 “solids”. If not bringing “downloads” then bring 40 softs and 20 solids and you can purchase 223 rounds for our heavy 223 bolt action rifles.
SAAM Hunt Combo:
Bring 200 rounds total or if bringing two calibers adjust accordingly. You can hunt with the gun you brought for the course.
Two Day Hunter Prep or Two Day Dangerous Game:
Bring 160 total. If bringing a big bore along, suggest 60 for big bore and 100 medium caliber.
It is OK to bring more ammunition than suggested above. Try to find out ahead of time what your gun likes and then buy the same brand/load. You will be frustrated if you bring a mix of ammo for the same gun.
What kind of ammunition should I bring?
The brand and bullet weight that your gun likes” (groups well) and you plan to hunt with. We understand this can get expensive but, you are going to leave here with a very accurate range card built for your scope/gun and ammo combo. It will be frustrating for you to get a solid range card with one ammo and then go hunt with something else.
Do you promote any certain brands of ammunition, guns or scopes?
No. We are totally equipment neutral; we love all brands and makes/models. Now, having said that, we do see almost everything made for the hunting world coming through our school and do have a good feeling for what works best for any given budget and use.
Do you stock ammunition, guns and scopes and if so can I purchase it there?
We do stock a wide variety of all three in many makes and models. You can purchase a product that you used here and we stock some very nice field hunting gear that we know works well. We are not a retailer and only stock primarily what it would take for a student to get through the course should their equipment fail or not work properly while here.
Can I bring my Semi-Auto Rifle to SAAM?
Yes, as long as you are going to use it on your future hunts and it will only be used for SAAM Hunter Training. We will not teach tactical methods. Please do not bring it hoping to shoot hundreds of rapid fire rounds down range.
Why do you have the species you have and are the trophies we hunt on the ranch wild?
We specialize (with the exception of whitetails of course) in exotic species that do well in our rugged terrain and mountains that can no longer be hunted or are endangered where they are indigenous; helping to perpetuate the species if you will, and it works well for us. The wildlife is well suited to our terrain and thrives on the ranch! To maintain our herd levels we sell a number of our species back into the zoo/wildlife breeder industry to maintain healthy herd populations. All our species are wild, the majority are born here and they have all the same challenges here that they would have in the native land, including predators. Our pastures are very large, the smallest being 1,900 acres.
Do I need a hunting license to hunt on the FTW and where can I get one?
Yes, as required by Texas Law. The hunting licenses can be purchased here at the FTW. For Non-residents, there is a $48 5 Day Exotic license available that allows you to hunt everything except Whitetail and Turkey. The Whitetail License is $315 which lasts till Aug 31 of the next year.
How are the hunts conducted?
That is determined by both the hunter and the species being hunted. There are two effective ways to hunt here, in blinds and spot and stalk methods. The factors affecting which works best is the species and the time of year the hunt is taking place.
Am I pretty much guaranteed I will get the trophy I came for?
We cannot guarantee that, the FTW is a large area and this is real hunting. You will see a great deal of game and we will hunt hard! We may or may not get the animal you are looking for but you do not pay trophy fees unless harvested. Tell us up front though about your trophy expectations; knowing in advance will help us pre-scout as well. Be realistic, our staff can give you a good understanding of the quality and size of the animals you can expect to see.
What if I wound my trophy, do I still pay a trophy fee?
Yes. We will do everything possible to find the animal. Most importantly we will not put you in a position of trying to make a shot that you are not comfortable with. We consider wounded as blood or other parts of the animal found after the shot is taken. We have very few wounded animals every year, mainly due to the fact that you are not pressured to shoot and only make shots that you are comfortable with.
Will you process my trophy and what about my trophy cape and horns?
We do process your trophy and have very nice facilities for that. Normally after caping, we hang the meat in our walk in cooler and freeze the cape immediately. If driving to the ranch, please bring a large cooler for the quartered meat or we can deliver it to a local meat processor for special cuts, sausage and processing. We most often deliver your cape and trophy to a local taxidermist who for a nominal fee will flesh out the hide, salt and dry it and ship it to your preferred taxidermist by UPS. The advantage of this, of course, is if your trophy is lost during your flight, the risk of having the hide ruined is eliminated.
Can I donate the meat?
Absolutely, there are are several locations we can deliver to, such as the SCI Hunters for the Hungry program or there are also local families who would be delighted to have the meat.
What calibers are best to hunt with on the FTW?
270 through 338 calibers work very well. Hunters commonly bring 7MM Mag or a 30 caliber such as 308, 30-06 or 300 Win Mag. We have these calibers to rent if you choose not to bring your own.
If hunting whitetail deer, how many should I expect to see?
We run a very intense whitetail herd, you will see about twice as many bucks as does and it will not be unusual to see as many as 10 to 15 deer each morning and afternoon. You will see lots of deer, hopefully the one you are looking for!
Why are blinds and feeders on the ranch? How many are there?
Much of the hunting is done from blinds as it is a great way not to disrupt the natural movements of the game by walking around. We run feeders most of the year depending on the seasonal natural food supply here in South Texas. The protein blend we use stabilizes their nutrition during times of scarce natural browse. There may be times you will not see animals come to the feeders as there might be an abundance of natural browse available and other times the animals are standing by for them to go off. The blinds and feeders are located in areas that are natural travel routes, usually near a water source. There are 24 hunting blinds and at least 2 feeders at each blind; some have 3 feeders. We do this so there is always something going on during the feeder cycles. We typically stage the feeder times at each blind to go off every 30 minutes and this also helps ensure one group or species of animals does not get all the feed. For instance, at your blind, one may go off at 7:00, the next at 7:30, 8:00 and 8:30. The blinds are very comfortable and are insulated with sliding windows on all four sides for easy shot placement and have padded office chairs.
Will I need hiking boots while at the FTW?
That is your preference, although we find that ankle high hiking/walking boots work very well, especially for the SAAM training. Additionally there are several miles of roads and trails on the ranch which are great for taking a hike or jog during off hours.
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