Written by: Brian Long, Senior Manager Orvis Sporting Traditions
I just returned from a quail hunting trip at Greystone Castle in Mingus, Texas. The ride to the Castle was an easy hour and fifteen minutes to get to the front gate of the facility from DFW in Dallas. I’d never been to Greystone before so this was a new experience for me. The Castle sits atop the highest point on the ranch and overlooks the entire property, offering a spectacular view.
I was met by John and Diana Fredericks. Diana was very helpful in my pre-trip planning, and even though I arrived a little late on the first night, they were gracious enough to have appetizers and dinner waiting for me shortly after my arrival. I enjoyed a lovely dinner with John and Diana that evening, and I knew going forward I the food at Greycastle would never disappoint.
Our day of hunting was to consist of an early morning wild duck hunt followed by an afternoon quail hunt. We arrived at the duck blind early. John set the rig of decoys out and we settled into the blind waiting for legal shooting time. There was some cloud cover so the early light made it hard to see the ducks before they landed in the decoys. After about 10 minutes of hearing ducks coming and landing without any shots, we were finally able to open up. The wild pintails and gadwalls came into the calls and rig on a steady basis, and the flights lasted about an hour. I shot about a box and was able to down two ducks. I don’t think I impressed John with my shooting abilities that morning. We stayed in the blind until about 8:30 had some great conversation and some really exciting shooting opportunities. The duck hunting was a perfect way to start my day.
We headed back to the Castle and I shot some 5-stand, double wobble trap, and sporting clays. I redeemed myself and felt better about going after quail in the afternoon. Lunch was a French chicken breast over citrus toasted couscous with crispy spinach. Needless to say it was excellent. I recommend dieting before you go to Greystone Castle, because you won’t be able to push away from the table even though you know you should. The rooms are all well appointed and very comfortable. Each “lodge” has a common area that includes a sitting area, fire place, TV, complimentary bar and cigars, with 3 -5 bedrooms attached to that common area. They also have a conference room fully equipped if you need to have meetings, and a work out room, and fully-stocked pro shop that was just recently remodeled.
Later that afternoon, we were met at the Castle by Tim, my guide, with two brace of English pointers, and an English cocker and Lab to flush the birds. I was really impressed by the quality of the cover. You can tell that they put a lot of work and thought into the management of the property.The cover was primarily made up of natural grasses with small scrub oaks scattered throughout which really enhanced the shooting. We were into multiple coveys all afternoon with roughly 10-20 birds per rise. The birds all flew strong and presented some very challenging shooting. Tim and his dogs provided a great hunting experience for us and ensured that we retrieved all of our downed birds.
Ultimately the experience from start to finish at Greystone was on a par with some of the best operations in the business, and I am fortunate in my job to see a great many of them. The staff, accommodations, and service were all first class, the meals were excellent, and the dogs, guides, cover, and hard-flying birds provided a very memorable hunting experience. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Greystone Castle to anyone and I look forward to my next visit already.