Frequently Asked Questions about SAAM Training, Hunting and Your Stay at FTW Ranch

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Frequently Asked Questions about staying at FTW Ranch and about our hunting and training packages. If you have questions about FTW Ranch that aren’t answered below, please click here to get in touch!

How did the FTW Begin and What does the FTW Ranch Do?

The FTW was founded in 1996 and is dedicated to making Hunters better, supporting our Nation’s Military and Preserving Endangered Species from around the world. The FTW Ranch:

  • Is home to the SAAM Hunter Training Program for hunters and corporate groups for product training and introduction
  • Facilitates and Trains U.S. Military and Law Enforcement Groups
  • Provides Hunting of the Species on FTW, many of which are no longer huntable in their indigenous homelands or are endangered
  • Preserves and breeds endangered species located on the ranch, preserving them from extinction
How big is the FTW Ranch and what is the terrain like?

The FTW Ranch encompasses 12,000+ acres. It is very rugged terrain with many deep valleys and mountains making it perfect for training and protecting a large wildlife refuge! There are many canyons and areas we can hunt, most only on foot or on the fringes of these areas. There are many species of oak and other trees, giving it a diverse browsing line with some very prolific Texas native grasses growing throughout. We do have natural water all year around in many of the spring fed creeks, and we have installed stock tanks throughout the ranch for accessibility.

How many guests will be at the FTW while I am there, and how many students in my class?

For regular (non-custom or corporate groups) SAAM classes, we normally run 6 students per instructor team, and we can manage two instructor teams at any one time. On hunts, we normally have a maximum of 12 hunters – depending on the species being hunted.

Can the FTW be used for private corporate or family groups?

Yes. We are happy to host private groups for families, corporations and writer’s groups. With a minimum of 12 folks, the ranch will be yours to hunt or to train or for both. The FTW is a great place for product introductions, sales training and corporate/family retreats!

How do we get around the FTW Ranch?

There are well over 110 miles of roads/trails on the FTW. We will be travelling in our fleet of jeeps outfitted with gun racks and plenty of space for your personal gear.

How many ranges and what types of target systems does the FTW Ranch have?

There are over 32 active ranges and more under construction. Several are for military use only. The distances on our ranges vary from “up close and personal,” for dangerous game species training, to 700 yards on our “truing” ranges, and 4,500 yards on our military ranges. Our target systems are a combination of paper precision targets, and steel plates in 6”, 9”, 12”, 15”, 18”, 24”, 30” and 36”. There are also many life-size replicas of mountainous game, plains game, and dangerous species in both moving and static targets. For the SAAM Safari program, there are life-size elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard, hippo and croc; many are moving and charging for realistic training and situational awareness drills.

Is the FTW High Fenced?

We have a 33-mile, high-fence perimeter to keep animals out, not to keep them in. It is the best way to control genetics. For instance, we have one of the largest free range herds of Markhor and Nubian Ibex in North America, and it would only take a few domestic goats to ruin our genetics! We also high-fence to keep out feral hogs which, if not controlled, are a very serious problem.

What can you expect for the weather and temperatures?

We average 18” to 30” of rain fall each year (we hope), and normally get showers in one half to 1 inch increments at a time. The winds are one of the many special things about the FTW! With our deep valleys and rough terrain, the FTW is a “Wind Callers” proving ground!

November-March;cold (30-45) mornings and evenings, warmer (50-75) throughout the day.

April-October;60-70’s in the AM/PM, 80 to 90’s mid-day.

Does the FTW Operate all Year?

Yes. Our busiest months are March-August and November-December. We normally operate 44-46 weeks annually, and the remainder of the time is for construction projects that require us to shut down for safety reasons.

How far in advance should I book?

Please click here for schedule.

We book 3-12 months ahead. If you have a group planned, please give us at least 6 months notice. For individuals, if you have a large hunt planned, please try to come through the SAAMTM course 60 days or more before departure. This will allow for correction of equipment issues and allow enough time to get your gear corrected and trued/proven before going on that hunt of a lifetime!

Are the sleeping accommodations comfortable?

Our 13 cabins are very comfortable with in-suite bath and two or three Queen/Double beds depending on the size of cabin. Please see the brochure or website for photos

Will I have my own room?

It is our policy to only house guests with members of their group or family. If you are attending alone, you will be assigned your own cabin

Is the Lodge comfortable?

Our lodge is 7,000 Sq. Ft. and very spacious. There are three TV’s, a complete sound system and three different areas (including the classroom) for private meetings. In addition, there are two sitting areas and a bar area which seats up to 20 folks.

What entertainment/communications are available in the lodge?

There is Wi-Fi in the lodge and classroom area (a few cabins get it as well). Of course, television, Wii games, pool table and a wide variety of reading material from our library are available. Your cell phone will NOT (unless you have Wi-Fi calling) work except on three mountain tops. There is a guest phone available in the lodge for calls..

What are the meals like?

You will not lose weight, we promise :)! We manage our menus to give you a wide variety of culinary delights.

Breakfast/brunch is a variety of egg dishes with a wide offering of meat and fruits.

Lunches are delicious with everyone’s favorites such as sandwiches/soups, pizza, chef salads and hot casseroles.

Dinners vary from Mexican, Beef Brisket/Steaks, and Stuffed Chicken to Kabobs and Ribs/Sausage and are all served with many sides. Please let us know via the questionnaire if you have allergies or special needs.

What if I have allergies to certain foods?

When you receive the information package, there is a client questionnaire included with a section for allergies or food dislikes/intolerances. Please complete this, and we will work to accommodate your needs.

Is there a bar at the lodge? And if so, what is it stocked with?

We have a bar with beer on tap, a wide variety of wines and a variety of liquors and mixers. For special brands, please inquire.

What are the bar hours and rules regarding liquor?

The Bar opens after all shooting/hunting is done for the day. The bar closes a minimum of 8 hours before wake-up the next morning in accordance with our “8-Hour Jigger to Trigger” policy. There is no alcohol consumption allowed during the hunting or training day. If any liquor is consumed, all activities involving firearms are done for the day.

Can I keep liquor in my room?

We ask that you not do that. If you bring your own, we can keep it under lock and key for you.

What if I don’t drink liquor? Are there non-alcoholic beverages available?

No problem, we offer a wide variety of juices, soft drinks, coffee, and tea, both iced and hot.

What if I forget to pack a personal item?

We maintain a wide variety of personal supplies in case you forget something.

Can I bring a Pet to the Ranch?

Please No. It is not fair to your pet to be locked up outside all day, and we do have predators, coyotes, etc. As we often have guests with pet allergies, we do our best to be respectful to all guests and cannot allow you to bring your animals as many folks have allergies

Are Observers welcome? What can they do while there?

Observers are more than welcome! Most times they ride along during some of the training evolutions to watch/observe. They are welcome to take photos of the ranch and animals. We also welcome them to stay at the lodge and watch their favorite movie, television show, or just to relax and read. The adult observers might choose to take their rental car and go explore the Hill Country area of Uvalde, Fredericksburg, Junction or even San Antonio for the day and come back for dinner.

Can my whole family come?

We encourage it! A few things to keep in mind though; if bringing small children that are not hunting or going through training, a family member or sitter will have to be with them at all times. We have many family groups come through each year, and it is truly a great experience for everyone.

What if we have a Private Group, will other students be there?

If you have booked a group of 12 or more, the FTW is dedicated to you (unless approved ahead of time). Normally, a class is made up of 6 students per instructor team, and there can be up to two teams on the ranch at one time. If you have your own group/team of 6, then you may have another group at the ranch that you will see in the lodge area, but not on the ranges. Each group/instructor team will have their own ranges from which they will train and shoot.

What do I need to bring?

Keep in mind, you will want for nothing when you get here! You will receive a complete “Suggested Pack List” with your info package. For personal items, bring enough for your time here. For equipment, we will provide the rifle cleaning supplies, and you should bring the gear with which you will hunt in the field. The FTWTM is a great place to test and increase your skills with your equipment.

What will my exposure to the sun be?

We do 80% of our training under a covered roof, but sunscreen (we keep that on hand for your use) should be used regardless. On day 3 and 4, we will do evolutions on our walk-through and drive-around courses. Long pants and long sleeves are a good idea as well as sunglasses. Each client will receive an FTW ball cap to keep, which can also be used for sun protection.

Is Tipping required?

No, it is totally up to you! It is very appreciated if you choose to do so. The tips are pooled, and each team member gets a share. The staff elected several years ago to do this, as it makes the clients’ lives easier. As each member of our staff works equally as hard for everyone, regardless of their role, this system works best for FTW.

If I come by myself, will I feel at home?

Trust us, YES! Relax, you are about to go through a life changing event at the FTW and remember, your fellow students have the same fears and apprehensions you might. It is truly amazing to see individuals go through the SAAM Course who do not know each before arriving, and then become the greatest of friends over the next few days. We literally see it almost every week! It is very common to have folks who did not know each other before the class, re-book a class the next year and even hunt together in the future!

Will I need hiking boots while at the FTW?

This is your preference, although we find that ankle high hiking/walking boots work very well, especially for the SAAM training. Additionally, there are several miles of roads and trails on the ranch which are great for taking a hike or jog during off hours.

How do I book and what is needed?

We simply need a verbal or e-mail confirmation committing to the dates and desired packages. At that time, we will need all attendees: (US Citizens)- cell, mailing address and email. For Non-US Residents- we will also need a copy of a valid passport. At that time, usually within 24 hours, you will receive an electronic information package detailing your options.

After Booking, what Happens?

Upon booking you will receive a very detailed “Information Package” including a suggested pack list and detail Map as well. PLEASE READ THIS PACKAGE CAREFULLY! You will receive an electronic invoice via email for payment of 50% of the course or hunt fee. The balance can be paid at checkout after your trip. Please complete the Client Questionnaire and Waiver and return them to us as soon as possible (Otherwise we will pester you ;=)!) These help us plan meals and assists in any special needs requirements.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

We find that children 10 and up do very well. In fact, it is not uncommon for the ladies and children to be some of the best shooters in the class. Coming through the FTW is often a life changing experience for younger folks; you will likely see a more mature and responsible youngster!

Can I send my child or grandchild by themselves?

Anyone under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The parent or guardian may come as an observer but must be at the ranch at all times.

What is included in my package?
  • Meals and Lodging
  • Guiding and Instruction
  • Beverages including liquor, beer and wine (if you have a special brand, please inquire)
  • On SAAMTM courses you are given hearing pro, shoulder pad, SAAMTM manual and several other useful tools to use and keep
  • Trophy Preparation if hunting
Not Included:

Rifle Rental (if needed) and ammunition (if you need to purchase it)

  • Transportation to/from the FTW
  • Trophy Fees if hunting
What airports should I use?

San Antonio (SAT) is the nearest commercial airport, 2.5 hours by car. There is a private airport in Kerrville and Uvalde with full services, 1.5 hours by car. Rock Springs has a 2,500 ft runway, no services, 30 minutes by car. Austin is also another commercial option, just know it is a 4-Hour drive, but sometimes flights are much less expensive.

How far from the San Antonio Airport is the FTW?

It is about a 2.5-hour drive on good roads. Take I-410 West out the airport, merge from I-410 West onto I-10 West. Stay on I-10 West for about 85 miles to Exit #490 (Hwy 41). Turn left onto Hwy 41 and travel 47 miles to Ranch Road 335 (RR335) and turn left. Travel 14 Miles and on your left you will see the FTW Ranch sign. That is Country Road 228. Travel 2 miles to our front gate. Come in the gate (please close it behind you) and come up to the Lodge.

What if I am driving, what is the best way to get there?

With your booking package you will be sent a detailed map to the FTWTM. The main route will be I-10, please see the directions above, and once on I-10 take exit #490 regardless if coming from the East or West. There is another option from the South through Uvalde on Hwy 90 if coming from the South; it will not save time and I-10 is a more direct route.

Can I ship my luggage, guns and ammunition to the Ranch?

Yes! UPS or Federal Express are the best methods. We receive shipments from these companies daily. The FTW is an FFL holder and can receive guns and ammunition. Please ensure everything is very well packaged. If shipping anything, please let us know ahead of time. Also, allow plenty of time for your shipment to arrive on the ranch.

Can you ship my guns and ammunition back to me?

Yes! Please bring a prepaid Fed Ex or UPS Bill of Lading and we can drop it off in town on our next trip. If packaging is required, we can take care of that for you as well. There will be a packaging charge from the UPS Store which will be added to your invoice.

What time do I need to arrive at the lodge on the arrival date?

Unless otherwise specified for a corporate or custom group, we serve dinner the first night at 7:00PM, so arriving between 5:30 and 6:30 gives you some time to settle in and relax a bit. Please note that Kerrville is your last fuel stop until you get to the ranch. It is about 150 miles round trip from Kerrville to the ranch, please plan your fuel accordingly.

What time should I fly in and out of San Antonio?

A flight arriving into San Antonio between 1 and 2PM will give you ample time to rent your vehicle and make the 2.5-hour drive. On the departure day, we suggest the same departure time.

When should I plan to depart?

We appreciate it when folks can stay the last night after class as we usually have a graduation ceremony and mini celebration of everyone’s accomplishments. Everyone normally does their check out paperwork then as well. If you are flying out of San Antonio, plan to leave the ranch at least 4.5 hours before flight time, time enough to turn in your rental and check guns etc. We do ask that everyone depart no later than 9:00am to allow the staff enough time to clean up and prepare for our next guests.


Frequently Asked Questions about staying at FTW Ranch and about our hunting and training packages. If you have questions about FTW Ranch that aren’t answered below, please click here to get in touch!