West Powderhorn Ranch is located along the Texas Gulf Coast in Calhoun County between Port O’Connor and Seadrift, 75 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, 110 miles southwest of Houston and 130 miles southeast of San Antonio. The ranch fronts on the north side of state highway 185 for over 3.8 miles and west side of FM 1289 for 3.5 miles. The ranch also has frontage on CR 492 giving access to the farmland and irrigated fields to the north near Seadrift.
The ranch is literally surrounded by Coastal Protected Areas that include Matagorda Island WMA, Powderhorn WMA, Mad Island WMA, Welder Flats WMA, Guadalupe Delta WMA, three units of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and thousands of acres of private preserves and conservation easements. Additionally, a million acres of state and federal waters for hunting, fishing and recreation connect them all. Two words come to mind… Habitat and Wildlife!
10,016 Acres in Calhoun County
The Historic Powderhorn Ranch once totaling 27,000 acres was once one of the largest private intact coastal properties in Texas. The 17,351 acres across FM 1289 to the east on Matagorda Bay was sold in 2014 by the ranch’s current owner to Texas Parks and Wildlife as its newest Texas Wildlife Management Area. This WMA was set up through a unique partnership brokered by King Land & Water with two national conservation organizations and several state agencies. West Powderhorn is remarkably diverse with its extensive forests of coastal live oak, intact wetlands, coastal prairies and a range of fishery habitats. The combination of these natural habitats has provided for a huge diversity of wildlife and a rich ranching heritage. Decades of proper range management such as prescribed burning, disking, spike treatment, brush management, contouring, and water control structures has created a ranch like no other in Texas.
The ranch is largely high fenced along the highways and waterways for enhanced privacy and allows for a diversity of native and non-native game management. There are hundreds of prairie potholes and wetlands with 6.8 miles of Coloma Creek, the major tributary of Powderhorn Lake, providing water resources and habitats across the entire ranch. There are about 800 acres of farmland in the northern part of the ranch with access to Guadalupe Blanco River Authority irrigation ditches. Crops such as rice, milo, cotton, and wheat not only diversify the agricultural operations but also provided enormous waterfowl opportunities.
Ranching livestock has been the traditional use of this ranch for over 100 years and the property is set up with infrastructure of wells, troughs, fences, pens and traps. Through a series of roads, mowed lanes, and adjoining public roads there is great access to much of the ranch.
West Powderhorn Ranch lies within the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion and is part of the Ingleside barrier-strand plain geologic system, a unique Pleistocene coastal system limited to a narrow band stretching from Calhoun County to Kleberg County, much of which has been impacted with development. Many say the habitats at Powderhorn are very similar to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and with the network of similar protected areas in the immediate vicinity, a wildlife mecca. This system is characterized by a diverse complex of soils, and habitat associations, including live oak mottes, tallgrass prairie, sand barrens, freshwater marshes and freshwater pothole ponds. Tidal bayous, brackish emergent marshes, creeks and frontage on Coloma Creek further enhance the ranches biological diversity. This broad soil diversity supports a unique assemblage of native grasses, forbs, brush and trees.
The wildlife resources on West Powderhorn are “refuge quality” not only in game but also in non-game species. Hunting, birding, photography, and just enjoying the array of wildlife is easy to do within this diverse assemblage of habitats. Fresh and Coastal waters are home to a wide array of wintering waterfowl, shorebirds and waterbirds such as ducks, geese, cranes, stilts, plovers, egrets, bitterns, and herons. Sandy soils, prairies and oak mott woodlands provide world class bobwhite quail, native whitetail deer, and turkey hunting. Other large game animals include Impala, Eland, Addax, Sambar Deer, and Axis Deer.
The large motts and woodlands of Live Oak trees provide exceptional fall-out habitat for neotropical songbirds during spring and fall migration. At times the diversity of warblers, oriels, vireos, tanagers, and hummingbirds foraging and resting in the trees are unbelievable.
Fishing on the ranch and In adjacent waters is world class. Redfish, trout, flounder, and drum are all part of the fishery that makes Port O’Connor a fishing destination. With the jettied pass out into the Gulf, offshore fishing for billfish, snapper, ling, and tuna are all possible. The Poco Bueno tournament in Port O’Connor is known across the country as one of the best for its bay and offshore divisions.
The ranch has two headquarter complexes with easy access off state highway 185 that include a 4 bed/ 4 bath guest lodge, foreman’s house, 1 bed/1 bath barndominium, several large equipment barns, sheds and working/shipping pens. The ranch is set up as a working cattle ranch and there are several pastures, pens, and gathering areas all with adequate water resources. High fence exterior on part of the ranch with some interior high fencing creates the ability to manage a diverse, native and exotic hunting operation.
The hundreds of freshwater pothole ponds are distributed naturally across the ranch as well as water troughs and storage from a network of wells providing adequate water for livestock, wildlife and the headquarters. These consist of 12 windmills and solar wells as well as 2 submersible wells. There are miles of tidally influenced Coloma Creek and its tributaries on the ranch that are great for redfish and speckled trout. A Guadalupe Blanco River Authority irrigation ditch traverses part of the ranch and can provide a huge amount of fresh water for agricultural and water retention ponds designed by Ducks Unlimited with managed water structures to create freshwater wetlands for wildlife.
There is no Conservation Easement on the Property. Given its location near other protected areas and the diverse resources found on the ranch the sale of a Conservation Easement in the future is possible.