I hunted the property near Refugio. Here is my review of it.
It took me a while to write this review as I was attempting to work something out with the guide service to resolve the problems I encountered. As a consolation I was offered a follow up hunt for one person in Freer Texas in June. This is a long write up, so get some popcorn and read on. The short version is to avoid this outfitter like the black plague.
I started communicating with Haiden Mensik in September of 2015 attempting to book a Javelina hunt for my Father, my Son, and me. We have hunted feral hogs several times and very specifically wanted to book a Javelina hunt. This was made clear in several emails back and forth with the owner, Haiden Mensik. I had to correct his reference to a “Hog hunt” multiple times and remind him we wanted to hunt Javelina, or not go at all.
Once I confirmed the dates of Feb 15-17 for the three of us, the communication problems continued. Emails went unanswered for days, despite multiple re-sends from me. Finally as we neared the hunting dates, I needed to confirm the location of the actual ranch with Haiden. The first request for this information went out in December and I had to follow up in January to get a response, which ultimately changed again two weeks before the hunt.
I sent a final pre-hunt email to Haiden on February 3rd, confirming our arrival on Sunday February 14th to start hunting on the morning of the 15th. At this point Haiden had confirmed the hunting location as Jourdanton, TX and also told me lodging would be included in the hunt. I confirmed in writing we planned to stay at the ranch on the nights of Feb 14, 15, & 16.
On February 6th, I texted Haiden for the address of the ranch in Jourdanton. On February 8th, not having received a reply, I sent another text asking for directions when we arrived on Sunday night. 24 hours later on February 9th I sent a third text nearly begging for a reply and address for our arrival. Later that evening (three days after the first request) Haiden told me he was moving us to Refugio where he “located some javelina.” He said we would meet at the local Dairy Queen in Woodsboro and to call when we arrived.
We arrived at San Antonio airport and I texted Haiden at 3pm on Sunday February 14th to let him know we were on the way. He replied asking if we were coming in “today or tomorrow?” “Tomorrow is what I have you down for.” Turned out Haiden Mensik had the flu so he referred us to Hayden Wagoner (another guide from STXHO).
Hayden Wagoner was not available to meet us Sunday either. So the ranch hand, Tyler came out to meet us and bring us back to the lodge. We arrived to a filthy lodge with no bedding on the beds (other than the dirty linens left from the prior hunting group.) Obviously we were not expected. Tyler was very pleasant and did his best to help us get settled.
I knew all was lost when Tyler asked us “Y’all ready to hunt some hogs tomorrow?” and I replied, “Nope, we are here for the Javelina!” at which point Tyler deadpan informed me “We don’t have any javelina on this ranch. We have lots of hogs though!” Imagine my disappointment having booked a hunt for my father and son for Javelina and being told “We ain’t got none here,” on arrival.
Sure enough, neither sightings of hogs nor javelina the first morning. When Hayden Wagoner arrived he was a very professional guide who also said “Javelina are very rare in these parts.” Tuesday afternoon the camp manager, Chis Fontenot arrived and confirmed once again that “Javelina are just not found this far north. Why don’t you just enjoy hunting hogs?” We were then rushed out after lunch on the last day to make room for the next group of hunters. Who knew a three day hunt didn’t include the last afternoon?
At the end of our trip my father, son, and I spent some quality time together hunting for hogs (none of us harvested one.) However, I could have done that near my father’s home in Florida as we have done in the past for far less expense that this trip. Haiden Mensik mislead me about the possibility of finding Javelina on his property and conned me out of the expense for the trip, flights, meals, and hotel room for the night before our flight out.