When people think of exclusive hunting experiences, they more often than not conjure up images of wealthy people in exotic locations with big game trophies. However, thanks to Andy Anderson, owner of Executive Outdoor Adventures, this is no longer the case. Now, anyone can enjoy an experience of lifetime, limited only by the adventure’s imagination. As Anderson so casually puts it: “We offer a Lamborghini experience at VW prices.”
Situated a short hour-and-a-half drive northwest of the Dallas Metroplex in Bowie, Texas, Executive Outdoor Adventures is leading the way in affordable outdoors excitement by raising the level of professionalism. They offer a multitude of services from night hunts with thermals and night vision goggles to fully automatic experiences to military-style insertions and sniper experiences, just to name a few. The cornerstone of Executive Outdoor Adventures is based on helicopter hog hunting, and that’s what brought me to Andy and his team at Executive Outdoor Adventures at Sully Ranch to find out more.
As the buildings of the city grew ever smaller in my rearview mirror, the D/FW perma-construction gradually changed to vast open and untouched prairies. Upon arrival at the ranch, visitors are immediately welcomed in the lodge’s great room. Adorn with local mounts as well as trophies from various hunts around the globe, this space is an obvious starting point to any hunter’s adventure. The meeting space with full projection screen is perfect for team building and corporate meetings while the fully stocked bar, leather furniture and entertainment center is perfect for relaxing after a long day.
Before leaving for our hunt, our group enjoyed a first-class lunch, which isn’t uncommon for each of Sully Ranch’s guests. Our hosts had outdone themselves in the first 30 minutes of our arrival.
Over the last eight years, Executive Outdoor Adventures, or EOA, has been honing their craft and making sure their organization appeals to all clients and not just the seasoned hunters. Their clients encompass the entire spectrum; from first timers to big game trophy hunters; from people who have never fired a gun before to Navy SEALS. No matter what the level of expertise, they mitigate the risk by treating everyone the same.
“When you visit us, our experiences are inside the confines of the law but outside of the box,” Anderson explains, “and all you need to bring is a change of clothes, your boots and your hunting license.”
And nothing could be more accurate. They have played host to bachelor parties and corporate team building events to individual’s looking for something new. They have stacked old cars at a client’s request and shot them with a minigun until they exploded with controlled ordinances. Their most recent addition, the Zero Dark Thirty experience, outfits your group with weapons, ammo, night vision goggles and thermals just before dark. You then cruise thousands of acres through the night hunting for boar, coyotes and other game. The fun doesn’t stop until the sun comes up or you’ve had enough. When working with EOA you don’t get a silo approach to hunting, this is a personalized adventure; it’s not the experience of a lifetime but rather, an experience of your lifetime. Each client’s experience will never be the same as another client and they pride themselves on that service.
Executive Outdoor Adventures is also leading the way in the aerial hog hunting industry to create a safer environment for all involved. With over 20 years of flight experience, pilot Richard Sidebottom, whose North Texas Helicopters provides EOA’s aviation services, has been approached by the state of Texas and the FAA to help develop policies and procedures to benefit all involved. “My goal is to make sure everyone has fun but that we all go home and there isn’t a scratch on the helicopter; that’s a good day,” Sidebottom proudly exclaims.
Over dessert of made-from-scratch peach cobbler, we discuss the impact feral hogs have on the state of Texas as a whole. The rising feral hog population in Texas has created more of problem than ever imaginable. Decimating the landscape with their endless feeding habits as well as spreading disease to the water supply and local livestock, feral hogs have become a substantial liability to Texas agriculture. With an estimated population of 3.2 million boar in Texas alone, population control has become a top priority to ranchers and landowners. Couple these problems with the rapid breeding rate of feral hogs and it becomes an overwhelming obstacle for landowners. Attempts at population control have gone on for years to no avail. They have been known to attack deer, feast on eggs of local birds like quail and turkey and kill local livestock. Their unchecked invasion of the natural ecosystem has left many to wonder if things could ever return to normal if the hogs were eliminated permanently.
“Pigs just piss me off.”
Unknown to most, these creatures breed at an alarming rate. A sow typically has two litters annually and can begin reproducing at as young as 6 months of age with an average litter of six piglets; though giving birth to up to 12 piglets in one litter isn’t unheard of. The Smithsonian Institute and Texas A&M estimates that there are 3.2 million feral hogs in Texas. Anderson adds that we must eradicate that number by 70 percent annually just to maintain the current population. “And that’s why pigs just piss me off,” Anderson says.
After lunch it was time to hunt. We drove to the north end of their 47,000 acre ranch (although he has permission to hunt over 800,000 acres because of his “good neighbor” program) for our helicopter hog hunt. What struck me most on arriving to our hunting ground was the level of detail they applied to their operation. The logistics of our individualized experience were planned out before I had even left my house earlier in the day. Unlike other outfitters, EOA has taken a page from military planning and created a mobile base of operations. Our Bell 206/ Jet Ranger helicopter was already onsite and gassed up by their mobile fueling station, safety briefings and issuing of weapons took place in their travel trailer equipped with a kitchen and refrigerator for drinks and refreshments. Weapons and ammo are always included with each adventure and when we entered the helicopter, we were greeted by what seemed like an endless supply of loaded 30-round magazines. The ease of mobility and professionalism of the staff plays a crucial role in a successful hunt. It is even more impactful on multiple day or overnight hunts to ensure that the proper supplies are in place prior to your adventure.
Once we were airborne, we were reminded that while we are at a strategic advantage and will be able to cover 2,000 to 10,000 acres during a hunt, it was still a hunt. Everyone on-board was responsible for calling out wildlife as we saw it.
The skill of our guide and experience of our pilot was going to play a major role in the strategy of getting us on pigs as fast as possible. Moments later we were passing over a group of pigs. Sidebottom’s expertise with the aircraft and Anderson’s knowledge of the land quickly put us into position where both sides of the helicopter could take advantage of our targets. Within seconds we had both emptied and reloaded our AR’s, dispatched the hogs and prepared to find our next herd. From liftoff to our first engagement was only a matter of about 15 minutes and we still had plenty of time to hunt for more game.
The thrill of hunting in flight is an experience that will resonate with me for the rest of my life. Thanks to Executive Outdoor Adventures I’m already planning my next adventure with several of my friends to see how creative we can get. The next question remains: What experience will Executive Outdoor Adventures be able to supply for you?
While adventures are personal and can be done on an individual basis, I highly encourage you to make this a group event. For an experience like this it is definitely better to take friends. The competition and camaraderie will enhance your time spent and you’ll have stories to tell for years to come. The team at Executive Outdoor Adventures have extensive backgrounds in law enforcement and military service and welcome the chance to create an unforgettable experience. Once you’re ready to have Executive Outdoor Adventures supply you with your own unique experience visit their website at executiveoutdooradventures.com to find out more on accommodations, experiences and their hunting packages.