Ranches and stately restored homes befitting Texas oilmen and cattlemen are at every turn in Refugio County. Located on one of the main travel routes between Houston and Corpus Christi, Refugio has the elegance of the Old South with its mansions built in the 1870's through the turn of the century. The ranches began as Spanish land grants, settled by Irish colonists, and some have opened their doors to overnight stays, birding or hunting expeditions.
Hunting opportunities in Refugio County include white-tail deer, wild hogs, quail, dove, wild turkeys, duck and goose. Packaged hunts complete with guides may be arranged at nearby lodges, which offer luxurious accommodations and hunting services. Aransas Wildlife Refuge arranges seasonal bow-and-arrow hunting, and "hunting with a camera" is available year-round.
Trophy whitetail deer are found in abundance, and so are feral hogs. Feral hog hunting is big in South Texas, especially since the animals can be hunted year-round.
Salt water fishing is available just 17 minutes away at Bayside, where Copano Bay leads into the Gulf of Mexico waters. Shallow water fishing occurs in this bay and others along the shores that front the Gulf of Mexico, and catches in these settings can include drum, flounder, redfish, speckled trout and whiting. Fresh water fishing is also available on the Mission River in Refugio County, as well as at nearby lakes such as lake Corpus Christi and the Coletto Creek Reservoir. Lake Corpus Christi , which features 200 miles of shoreline, provides prime opportunities to catch bass, catfish, crappie, flathead and perch. A 60-pound flathead has been caught on the lake, as has a 13.5-pound largemouth bass.
Most offshore gulf fishing trips occur anywhere from Port Aransas to Rockport (both less than an hours drive), with fishermen able to go for amberjack, red snapper and tuna on a year-round basis. The best times for species such as bill fish and marlin are from May through September.
Duck hunting is big business in the Coastal Bend region. Dozens of guide services are available to help hunters bag the waterfowl. Most such excursions include decoys, dog retrievers, blinds and bird cleaning.
Most guide services require hunters to bring only their own shotguns, steel shot shells, wading boots and hunting license. Airboat transportation to ideal duck hunting spots around Corpus Christi, Ingleside, Rockport and Aransas Pass is generally provided as part of the service.