Tumbleweed Smith
Tumbleweed Smith

Susan and I were invited to a fund raising event for the Boys and Girls Club of Brown County. It was at the 3 Springs Ranch near the community of Zephyr. It was overcast when we left on a Saturday morning and on the way down the highways were lined with gold wildflowers that stretched across the pastures almost to infinity, creating a glorious sight. The state has had the most impressive wildflower display all spring.

I’ve always enjoyed Zephyr. Long ago the word apparently was used to describe a gentle west wind. When some sarcastic surveyors were in the area and were caught in a blizzard they named the place Zephyr.

I was anxious to get to the ranch because Dodie Mills, a former student of mine when I taught broadcasting at UTPB now owns the ranch along with her husband Steve. It was great to see her again. Dodie and Steve bought the ranch 4 years ago and have been busy converting it into a commercial hunting operation. The ranch offers white tail hunting November and December and after that is the place for corporate retreats, weddings, birthday parties and other activities.

“We’ve built a lot of new stuff,” says Dodie, who designed the buildings and desert landscaping. “We’ve added two houses for lodging. One is the Doe House for girls. It’s got pink wood and is very feminine. A bride can come here with her entourage and have her day. Then we have the Antlers House, which has four separate bedrooms for hunters. We built a huge open air pavilion that can accommodate 600 people for a sit down dinner.”

The pavilion is where the Boys and Girls Club event took place. After the meal and a profitable auction (one of the items was a puppy) Mark Chesnutt played for a dance.

Before dinner, Steve and Dodie took us for a tour of the ranch. We were in a pickup and when Steve pressed a button, corn shot out from the front of the vehicle, attracting deer. This might be common for hunting ranches, but it was the first time I had ever seen anything like that.

3 Springs Ranch used to be called Pecan Springs. After renaming it, Steve and Dodie found out it has about 10 springs. It also has rolling hills with canyons and scenic overlooks, an Olympic size skeet shooting range with stadium lights for nighttime shooting, a huge swimming pool with a swim-up bar, a store that offers hunting gear and a comfortable lodge with a fireplace, pool table and dining room. Sidewalks are large flat stones from Arizona. “Everybody has concrete sidewalks,” says Dodie. “I wanted something different. I want our guests to feel like they’re at a luxurious resort.”

Dodie does not hunt but has her own safari area full of animals that have names. “I’ve got sable, oryx, fallow, watusi and other animals enclosed in a 50 or 60 acre high fence pasture. People can see the animals, but can’t hunt them. These are pets.”