Agua grande means "big water." Fed by more than 30 springs, year-round Live Oak Creek, which bisects the ±17,132-acre Rancho Agua Grande for about seven miles, is indeed big water, especially amidst the arid landscape of Kinney and Uvalde counties. Located about 25 miles northwest of Uvalde and just two hours west of San Antonio, Rancho Agua Grande is one of the largest live water ranches for sale in Texas today.
The creek's flow is slowed and pooled by 10 dams strategically placed along its route. Numerous lakes, some large enough for jet skiing, dot the landscape. Both banks of Live Oak Creek lie within the ranch's borders ensuring complete, private access.
The crystalline waters beckon waders, swimmers, splashers, tubers, kayakers and paddle boarders. Largemouth and hybrid-striped bass as well as rainbow trout, tilapia, catfish and bream thrive in the clear water, offering an angling challenge to while away the hours.
In dry regions, water has long been the land's most valued asset. As evidenced by the numerous undisturbed Indian mounds and middens located in close proximity to the creek, Native Americans relied on the life-giving water. Arrowheads and other artifacts abound. Lumbering dinosaurs left tracks in the once soft mud that has hardened into a unique historic record.
While the surface water is spectacular, the ground water is equally abundant. Water wells have been punched throughout the ranch to serve the needs of wildlife.
Both Boiling Mountain, the highest peak in Uvalde County, and Salmon Peak, the highest point in Kinney County, are located on Rancho Agua Grande, adding craggy grandeur. The rugged hills and deep canyons that characterize this transitional landscape contrast with the shady pecan bottom along the creek, offering the best of all worlds.
The limestone hills are pitted by caves, five of which have been explored at different degrees. Spelunking is just one of many activities offered by the unique landscape. Hikers and 4x4 off-roaders can test their skills against the ever-changing terrain.
The velvety night skies, unpolluted by light, beckon amateur astronomers to gaze at the heavens through night vision goggles or the ranch's Celestron telescope. With a bit of patience, bird watchers can add to their life lists and nature photographers can capture images worthy of magazine covers. And shotgunners can hone their skills on the eight-station range that can accommodate skeet shooting, five-stand, trap shooting and wobble trap.
South Texas, West Texas and the Hill Country meet at Rancho Agua Grande. Because three ecoregions converge on the ranch, the vegetation is diverse ranging from pinon pines to live oaks and mesquites, huisache, guajillo and black brush. The textures draw the human eye and the natural nutrition attracts the wildlife. Between 2007 and 2010, more than 10,000 acres of cedar were cleared to open up the ranch to further improve the habitat.
Kangaroos, camels, zebras, gemsbok, sable, water buffalo, white bison, Iranian red sheep, scimitar-horned oryx and waterbucks are just a few of the more than 60 species that call Rancho Agua Grande home. The ranch boasts some of the largest herds of Axis deer, blackbuck antelope, and scimitar-horned oryx in the state.
Whitetails, turkey, dove and a limited population of quail are native to the ranch. More than 50 miles of high-fence encircle the perimeter keeping desirable wildlife inside and free-ranging game out. Rancho Agua Grande, one of the nation's premier hunting destinations, currently is run primarily as an exclusive hunting operation and has been the site of numerous high-profile hunting shows. Bowhunters have scored numerous Safari Club International Records including the #1 blesbok taken with a crossbow and a top 5 four-horned sheep.
The ranch is managed under an MLDP Level 3 permit and features 30+ feeders and hunting blinds located to make the most of the extended hunting season. One blind, dubbed as the Big Blind, can hold up to 10 hunters simultaneously. With a live camera feed, fully stocked bar and poker table, it is the ultimate "man cave."
The ranch's main residence, an expansive custom-designed, two-story rock house, is sited near the geographic center of the ranch. Secluded and private, it overlooks Live Oak Creek. Nothing has been left to chance, the home is resplendent with high-end finishes and incorporates glass to help bring the light and beauty of the outdoors inside. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Designed with entertainment in mind, the ±6,000 square foot lodge features an antique bar, dance floor and bandstand is the perfect place to celebrate the day's adventures or special events such as weddings, retreats or reunions. The lodge easily accommodates 250 people. With an additional ±2,300 square feet of covered porches the guest list can swell.
The lodge's expansive main room is bookended by massive fireplaces that stretch from the floor to the vaulted log ceiling that soars 34 feet above. A game loft offers another level of fun.
Eight mid-19th century cabins, transplanted from the mountains of Kentucky, have been restored and updated to meet the most discriminating standards for modern convenience and rustic elegance. Most include a Jacuzzi tub, a kitchenette and a spacious living room with a fireplace. The cabins can sleep three to six guests depending on the cabin's size and arrangement.
The majority of the cabins are located lakeside, so lapping water lulls guests to sleep. The exception? The Summit Cabin, which is perched on the top of a secluded mountain, provides a birds-eye view of the rugged countryside that is best enjoyed from the private pool or hot tub.
Two additional 3 bedroom/1 bath cabins known as the manager's house and the "cooler" house complete the residences. Numerous equipment sheds and storage buildings as well as a meat processing room with a walk-in cooler round out the ranch's infrastructure.
A black top road runs from the main entrance to the main compound. For those who prefer air travel, Agua Grande has a 5,800 foot x 75 foot instrument marked, painted and lighted runway that is surrounded by a high fence to ensure that the airstrip is always clear. Jet fuel is available on the ranch.
Rancho Agua Grande is home to big water and big opportunities. It's perfectly appointed as a commercial hunting operation, but is equally suited to becoming a corporate retreat, an events center for weddings, birthday parties and family reunions, or an enviable private ranch. The possibilities within its fences are as big as the vast blue sky above.