My parents and I have visited a place in Doss, Texas (right next to Fredericksburg) called Quiet Hill Ranch. It is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Whatley who have lived there for 30+ years. They come from families that have lived around the area there for six generations.

The Whatley’s started out as cattle ranchers. Then, in 1995 they started renting out cabins to people. In 1997, they built a wildlife observatory. This is a great place to take pictures and study wildlife. When I was there I saw mostly birds. The Whatley’s get lots of different types, like the Painted Bunting, the Black-capped Vireo, and the Scott’s & Orchard Orioles.

I asked Mr. Whatley a few questions about Quiet Hill and the wildlife observatory. Here is what he had to say:

J: Mr. Whatley, how did the ranch turn from a working cattle ranch into a place where people can book a cabin, hold weddings and family reunions, and especially observe wildlife and nature?

Mr. W: Joe, in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s, cattle ranching was a very tough go (nothing new there).  The lingering drought, bad press about beef, and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) all combined to drop the price of beef as low as I have ever seen it (I bought my first cow in 1953 at the age of 9 years).  So, as usual, Cindy and I began praying to God for guidance in what direction we should go to enable us to stay on the ranch and raise our family here.  Quiet Hill Ranch is the answer to that prayer!!!

Quiet Hill Ranch Observatory
Photo by Quiet Hill Ranch

J: What are some of the different types of animals that you have seen? What are some of the different types of birds?

Black-and-White Warbler
© Copyright 2007
Quiet Hill Ranch Photography

Mr. W: Gosh, Joe that’s a big question… Well let’s see, there’s the deer, raccoons, skunks, opossum, bobcats, ringtails, rabbits (jack&cottontail), squirrels, porcupines, armadillo, coyote, snakes and lizards of all kinds (sorry, because of fire ants there are no more horny toads tho)-: I’m sure I’ve left out a bunch.  The bird sightings are too great to list here but one of our guests photographed 38 different species from the observatory in one day.  That did not include the numerous flycatchers etc down in the meadow below.  I have personally seen more that 100 different species of birds here at Quiet Hill Ranch.

J: Have you ever seen animals like bears or bobcats? Tell me about that.

Mr. W: I have seen bobcats here on the ranch.  There have been sighting reports by hunters and other ranchers of Mexican black bear and mountain lions in the area.  Just to be honest, I hope they stay far away from Quiet Hill Ranch.  We have enough to deal with as it is with the coyotes etc.

Painted Bunting
Male Painted Bunting
© Copyright 2007
Quiet Hill Ranch Photography

J: I have seen your cat, Snoopy, your pig, Pork-and-Beans, the chickens, and I think a horse. Do you have any other animals I have not mentioned?

Joe and Mr. Whatley at Quiet Hill Ranch a few years ago.

Mr. W: Snoopy is doing very well.  He hasn’t (contrary to what he may tell you) been elevated from Head Barn Cat to house cat status.  Pork-n-Beans lived his entire 15 years at Quiet Hill Ranch.  He passed away Sept 12, 2000.  He is still greatly missed.  You probably remember his favorite thing…eating whipped cream from a spoon.  You might say he lived very large…in many ways. He will never be replaced but we have a new pig.  She is Queen Prissilla and she enjoys life at the ranch too.  She is especially thankful ol Jim didn’t put in one of those new fangled garbage disposals.  She looooves eating the table scraps of the Quiet Hill Guests.

Rest in peace Pork-n-Beans!

   I really love visiting Quiet Hill Ranch and I hope we get to go back there sometime soon. The Whatley’s are extra-nice,
  too. If your family needs something to do for a weekend you should drive over and stay at Quiet Hill Ranch.

Here is their website for you to check out:

Quiet Hill Ranch: