Walnut Bend Ranch
Size: 1,750+/- Acres
County: Cooke County , Texas
PROPERTY OVERVIEW: Walnut Bend Ranch is a sprawling, 1,750+/- acre high fenced recreational ranch found in the northeastern portion of highly sought-after Cooke County in North Texas. The property is 17+/- miles by way of paved FM 371 and graveled County Road 115 from downtown Gainesville, TX. This impressive property offers scenic terrain with dramatic topography and big views, numerous potential building sites, plenty of FM and County Road frontage, hardwood forests, miles of both sides of perennial Hickory Creek, and an abundance of surface water. This quintessential Cooke County landscape has superior whitetail genetics, 12+/- miles of game fence, multiple smaller lakes, several potential lake site(s), 47+/- acres of planted food plots, outstanding wildlife habitat and expansive hardwood timber. A significant portion of the ranch is encumbered by oil and gas production, but the encumbrance is minimized by the terrain and tree cover. The northern 800-915+/- acres is devoid of active oil and gas production lending itself to numerous building locations in scenic and secluded locations.
It is especially rare in this area to find a ranch of this size and quality with limited improvements. We are honored to offer the Walnut Bend Ranch to the market. This is likely the largest property to be offered for sale in this area in the last 10+ years. This ranch represents a unique opportunity to own a sprawling, trophy hunting ranch within 80 miles of the DFW-metroplex in an exceptional location.
TERRAIN: The Walnut Bend Ranch ranges in elevations from ~829’ near the eastern boundary to ~650’ in the Hickory Creek valley for a total elevation change of ~ 179 feet. The land is marked by a scenic transition from east to west throughout the property. Picturesque points, hilltops and oak covered hills provide views across the ranch and into Oklahoma. Deep drainages provide potential lake sites and make the property feel even larger than it already is. Hickory Creek is a key feature with long stretches of clear water and diverse riparian areas extending for miles.
WILDLIFE & LAND MANAGEMENT: The array of wildlife on the Walnut Bend Ranch is a unique and impressive asset seldom found within 90 miles of the metroplex. The entirety of the ranch’s 1,750+/- acres is game-fenced and home to an impressive whitetail deer herd. Several breeder bucks were brought in years ago, and the resulting herd is as impressive as it is healthy and properly managed. A small, wildlife management minded group lightly hunted the property with archery equipment only. There is currently no hunting since the ranch is now being marketed for sale. Several of the harvested deer shown in the photos speak to the quality of the deer herd. There are also 6 Outback protein feeders that are included with the sale.
In addition to the deer herd, Rio Grande turkeys are numerous in this part of Cooke County, and provide outstanding hunting potential. Waterfowl hunting in this part of Cooke County is also a unique opportunity. The winter wheat fields provide food for migrating waterfowl of the Central Flyway, while several of the lakes appear to be preferred loafing spots for ducks and geese alike. Bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, owls, hawks, dove, bats, bald eagles, woodpeckers, falcons and over 315 different vertebrate species are native to this region of Cooke County and the greater Red River Valley. The diversity, abundance and variety of habitat and local species alike makes for a special and unique wildlife asset within the Walnut Bend Ranch.
WHITETAIL DEER HERD: Ranch is in the Managed Lands Deer Program through the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. There are typically 10-14 buck permits and 10-14 doe permits issued annually based on spotlight deer counts. Buck doe ratio is close to 1 buck: 1 doe and quality of trophy bucks is high. There are believed to be bucks in the 180+ B&C class currently on the ranch with the largest buck harvested being in 2018 scoring 232 B&C.
TREE COVER & WILDLIFE HABITAT: Approximately 70% of the property is wooded with a strong collection of mature post oak, red oak, blackjack oak, plum, pecan trees, sycamore, hickory, walnut, elm, cottonwood, and other trees common to this area. Brush and beneficial browse for wildlife include greenbrier, blackberries, redbud, sand plum and other native species. The diversity of vegetation, density of cover, reliable water sources, and natural travel corridors created by the landscape all combine to provide top-tier wildlife habitat. Typical of Cooke County and the greater Red River Valley, the vegetation found on the ranch is dominated by native bluestem grasses. The remaining 30% of the ranch consists of 25% open to semi-open grasslands dominated by strong bluestem grasses. The remaining 5% of the ranch has been worked into cultivated wildlife food plots for hunting, game management, and wildlife ag exemption. There haven’t been any cattle on the ranch in years so the grasslands are in phenomenal condition.
WATER FEATURES & FISHING: Hickory Creek is a live-water and perennial creek that runs through the middle of the ranch for approximately 4.34+/- miles with long stretches of clear water. There are numerous seasonal/wet-weather creek drainages that run water throughout the property, all flowing into the impressive Hickory Creek valley. Eight (8) smaller lakes/ ponds were built and stocked with fish; these bodies of water measure approximately 1.5-3.5+/- acres in size. The stocked ponds/ small lakes provide excellent fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, crappie and catfish. In the winter months, migrating waterfowl use the bodies of water frequently as well.
The eastern side of the property has a several drainages which appears to be prime sites for several small lakes. There is even a potential location for a waterfowl area with flooded timber. Determining the viability of these lake sites and wetland area is the responsibility of the Buyer, but both scenarios appear feasible.
ROAD FRONTAGE & INTERIOR ROADS: Multiple entry points provide great access to Walnut Bend Ranch. There is frontage on two paved, black top Farm-to-Market roads as well as frontage on an all-weather, graveled county road. The eastern side of the ranch fronts on FM 371 for approximately 0.34+/- miles; the southern boundary fronts on FM 2383 for approximately 0.52+/- miles; and the eastern side of the ranch fronts on CR 115 for 0.75+/- miles. Several locked gates with cattle guard provide secure entries. There is also a roadway easement providing another all-weather access point.
The interior roads are superior which is a positive impact of the expansive O&G field found on the southern portion of the ranch. Over 8+/- miles of all-weather rock roads provide access throughout the ranch, including two concrete crossings over Hickory Creek. Several trails provide access to more remote areas with little to no O&G production. Additionally, almost the entirety of 12 +/- miles of game-fenced perimeter is drivable, furthering the already excellent access throughout the ranch and allowing for fence maintenance and inspection.
STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS & 10 ACRE LEASE: The structural improvements on the ranch are limited to a 10 acre ‘yard’ utilized and under a perpetual lease by the O&G operator. The lease renews annually and can only be canceled by 90-day written notice by the lessee.
Breeding pens and soft release pens are found near this yard, and were operational in the past, but are not currently being utilized. The next owner could clean up these pens and easily begin a deer or exotic breeding program. The breeding pens are not encumbered by the lease agreement.
AREA HISTORY: 200 years ago, the line between eastern, agrarian Caddo tribes and the violent, nomadic Comanche’s of the west was a stark boundary found in Cooke County. Heavily timbered forests lay to the East, with ample rainfall to support agricultural efforts. To the west, seemingly infinite open, grass prairies were home to enormous populations of bison, deer and elk. Wars were waged along this line, in hopes of asserting claim to the boundless game, the deep canyons, elevated camp sites and opportunity found here. Incorporated in 1848, the county was named after a hero of the Texas Revolution, William McKinley Cooke, who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto and served as Chief Clerk of War for the Republic of Texas. Later, the Butterfield Overland Mail Route would cross this part of North Texas, carrying mail and wealthy passengers from St. Louis, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee along some 2,800 miles to San Francisco. Today, the countryside still exudes the same wild nature that appealed to past civilizations.
AIRPORTS: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is a full-service international airport located 70+/- miles south of Walnut Bend Ranch. Gainesville Municipal Airport (GLE) is only 19+/- miles southeast of the ranch. This public airport averages 67+/- aircrafts per day with two (2) runways measuring 6,000’ X 100’ and 4,307’ X 75’.
DIRECTIONS FROM DALLAS CITY (1-hour, 20-minute drive): Take I-35 north to Exit 498 going east on Highway 82 toward Sherman, TX. After 4 miles on Hwy 82, turn left (north) on FM 371, then go 5 miles before turning right on FM 2383. There is an entrance along this paved road, but it is best to continue for 1 mile before turning left on CR 115. The entrance gate to the ranch will be 0.75+/- miles to the north and on your left.
O&G MINERALS: Surface only. O&G production was recently sold to Team Operating. There are currently plans to improve the existing production without drilling any new wells. Overall, the production does not have a major detrimental impact on the quality of the property. The terrain and tree cover conceal a lot of the wells lessening the visual impact of the activity on the southern portion of the ranch. Again, the northern 750+/- acres does not have any O&G production. There is also a Surface Use Agreement that was put in place December 1, 2020.
RIGHT-OF-WAYS: Numerous electric and pipeline easements traverse the ranch aboveground and belowground. The northern half of the ranch has less disturbances, less activity and far fewer wells than then southern half of the ranch.
ELECTRICITY: Cooke County Electric Cooperative is the primary electric provider in the area. Brazos Electric built a private grid for the Walnut Bend Unit on the property which is owned and controlled by the O&G Operator. There are no provisions for the surface owner to tap into this infrastructure.
GROUND WATER: Water wells are common in this area and ground water is believed to be good. Most wells appear to be 800-1000 feet in the Trinity Aquifer.
SCHOOL DISTRICT: Callisburg School District.
PROPERTY TAXES: The property taxes for 2020 were estimated to be approximately $7,362.54.
PRICE: Realistically priced at $3,150 per acre ($5,512,500). Asking price is below current market values for this area because of the oil and gas activity impacted the southern portion of the ranch. Walnut Bend Ranch is believed to be a quality investment for an impressive property.
Blake Hortenstine– Partner/Broker
Chris Wengierski– Agent
Broker & Commission Disclosure: Buyer’s Agent/ Broker must be identified upon first contact with Listing Broker/ Listing Agent and Buyer’s Agent/ Broker must be present at the initial property tour in order to participate in the real estate commission. Commission splits will be at the sole discretion of Hortenstine Ranch Company, LLC.