About Us

Spread Oaks Ranch invites you to experience the finest outdoor experiences and indoor amenities in an elite, remote environment enriched by an attentive and capable staff.

The ultimate outdoor experience for the discerning hunter and naturalist. Join us — and go Deeper into the Heart of Texas.

Situated near Bay City, Texas, Spread Oaks Ranch is a 5,500-acre working ranch that integrates an actively managed prized Brangus cattle and agriculture operation with wildlife in a setting of ancient live oaks mottes, coastal prairie, and river bottom wetlands. The ranch is situated within the apex of the Texas mid-coast Central Flyway renown for its concentration of hundreds of thousands of wintering waterfowl.

A harmonious system for wildlife

Our habitat and conservation efforts are focused on creating a world-class environment for waterfowl and whitetail deer. We have over 500 acres of water in 30 units, both natural and restored. Our native river bottom whitetail herd is prolific, and we offer world-class genetics in our high fence. 

Developing the ideal habitat

The habitat at Spread Oaks Ranch is managed not only for waterfowl and whitetail deer, but for throngs of other game and nongame wildlife—“setting the table” for them, so to speak, to provide the quality wild foodstuffs, habitat, and sufficient resting areas these wild creatures need to thrive. Other wildlife, including bald eagles, alligators, wild hogs, coyotes, myriad species of songbirds, shorebirds, and even an occasional bobcat roam the property.

Fishing and clay target shooting

Freshwater fishing opportunities abound in the managed bass lake behind the lodge and along the five-mile Colorado River frontage. In addition, Spread Oaks Ranch has an in-house coastal guide service for saltwater fishing adventures in nearby Matagorda Bay. A clay target field adjacent to the lodge allows guests to hone their shooting skills, and an oversized firepit overlooking the lake provides the ultimate setting for an evening’s wind-down.

Not just for the outdoors-person​

We offer something for everyone year-round. A place for the kids to learn about nature, catch their first fish, or attain new heights in our kid-friendly tree house. An ideal environment for corporate retreats, leadership courses, ladies’ retreats, culinary adventures, wildlife tours and photography, weddings, family reunions and, since 2021, our intimate musical performance series called The Cozy Concerts. Don’t see an activity on our list? Just inquire!​

Why we do it

Our mission is to provide the discerning adventure seeker with the ultimate outdoor experience. Come join us—and go “Deeper into the Heart of Texas.”

How the ranch protects the land with a conservation easement

Conservation is about getting the land back to where it can sustain itself. Listen to the owners and managers of Spread Oaks Ranch discuss how they use a conservation easement to help ensure that they leave the land better than they found it.

Meet Our Team

Forrest and Audrey Wylie purchased three contiguous properties to create the 5,500-acre Spread Oaks Ranch along the Colorado River in Matagorda county. Their perspective as a landowner allowed them to fuse their passion for managing wildlife with their Brangus cattle-ranching operation and best-practices approach to both organic and conventional crop production, resulting in a harmonious, improved ecosystem.

Get to know what is special about Spread Oaks Ranch by learning about the team members that keep it running.
Ged DurhamBooking & Logistics Team Leader

Ged has an ideal resume as the point of contact for booking and arranging your ranch visit logistics. On the social season side, his resume includes global travels, a passion for food, and coaching youngsters in organized sports. On the hunting and fishing side, Ged ran his own company called Wildlife Outfitters in Texas and Mississippi. He’s duck hunted in Turkey, fly fished the Bahamas and Canada, chased antelope in Wyoming, and hunted ducks and whitetail all over Mississippi and Texas. Like most of the ranch staff, he has a diverse litany of passions that includes wing shooting, fly fishing, coaching, training dogs, and cooking.

Ged’s father was a career military officer, and when the family wasn’t traveling, they called Mississippi home. He attended Mississippi State University and finished at Sam Houston State University with a BS in Criminal Justice and Criminology. Besides his professional career, he’s proud of the family he raised – daughter and realtor Kadie Durham, and his son, Arkansas commercial appraiser Ty Durham.

Ged is the newest member of the ranch staff, and he looks forward to helping you craft a special Spread Oaks Ranch experience. One of the reasons the Spread Oaks role appealed to him, he says, is that “I’ve never met a stranger.”

Ric RosserChef, Lodge Manager

Spread Oaks Ranch Chef Ric Rosser is a master of what he terms “micro-local” cuisine. Ric sources most of the lodge kitchen ingredients right from the ranch, plating such items as grass-fed beef, lamb, poultry, wild game, and fish. Ric also incorporates foraged ingredients such as wild garlic, onions, dewberries, wild grapes, pecans, organically grown fruits, and vegetables and herbs grown in our greenhouse and shade house.

A passion for hunting, fishing, and the great outdoors run through Ric’s inventive cuisine. “I’m nose-to-tail, roots-to-stem – you name it. Most recently I have been experimenting with different forms of charcuterie and focused on different curing styles of hams and bacon in our smokehouse. I’m constantly on the lookout for what wild foods are in season, and how I can incorporate them into my menu. For example,” he continues, “I’ve made a honeysuckle-infused syrup that I use in craft cocktails.”

Rosser hails from Bryan, Texas, and discovered fine dining at the age of 19. He enrolled in the Art Institute of Houston, graduating with a Culinary Arts degree. “I may have received my degree there, but my knowledge truly came from other chefs, by working side-by-side with them,” says Ric. He met and married his wife, Becky, when he was in school. It was a smart move – Becky is Ric’s greatest cheerleader and loves to join him afield hunting and fishing. “In fact,” he adds, “she’s become quite a competent bowhunter … probably better than I am!”

Ric is renowned for his ranch culinary adventure weekends, curating chef-led experiences to your desires. Daytime activities often include foraging, egg-gathering and chicken-keeping, butchering, canning and preserving, charcuterie, mixology and craft cocktails, and whole animal and live-fire cookery. In the evening, he’ll match his fabulous cuisine with wines amid settings that include the wine cellar, the terrace, and the vintage chuck wagon venue.

Rob SawyerOutdoors Manager

Rob Sawyer spent his youth on Maryland’s Eastern Shore chasing ducks and geese before or after school nearly every day. After graduating from the University of Florida with an MSc. in geology, his oil and gas career afforded him the luxury of pursuing his hunting passion to a dozen states and four countries.

Rob’s been in Texas now for over 30 years and traveled most of the state to experience its diverse waterfowling opportunities. His journeys ultimately led him to chronicle Texas’ fabled waterfowling history and culture in a three volume book series beginning with A Hundred Years of Texas Waterfowl Hunting: The Decoys, Guides, Clubs, and Places, 1870s to 1970s, (2012), Texas Market Hunting: Stories of Waterfowl, Game Laws, and Outlaws in 2013, and Images of Texas Waterfowl Hunting in 2020. Spread Oaks Ranch was the sponsor of the Images book and it is available for purchase online. Rob’s most recent publications include the limited-edition Welcome to Spread Oaks Ranch (2020) and The Tarpon Club of Texas & The Genius of E.H.R. Green (2022).

Rob is putting the same energy he had for waterfowling history into creating world-class duck habitat at Spread Oaks Ranch. Now when you talk to him, his conversations are less often about wooden decoys, sink boxes, or punt guns, and more often about what food the ducks are swarming before your hunt!

Go deeper into the heart of Texas

Just 90 minutes southwest of Houston. Connect with us to learn how you can share in the experience.