The Land Report

FALL 2015

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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86 The LandReport | FA L L 2 0 1 5 LANDREPORT.COM The Antler Creek Dugout It took Rick and Wyman Meinzer six months to craft this tribute to hardy landowners of yore: a bombproof dugout built to rival any ever constructed on the Great Plains. D uring his undergraduate days at Texas Tech, Wyman did extensive research on the Pitchfork Ranch and befriended Ranch Manager Jim Humphreys and the Pitchfork's second-in-command, Bob Moorehouse. They told him about an ancient half-dugout tucked away in a far corner of the great ranch. Best suited for a bachelor, it was called "the Batch Camp." For the next three winters, the Batch Camp served as the college graduate's home while he trapped and hunted on some 300,000 acres of the wildest, most remote rangeland in the U.S. "It was probably the most formative time of my life. It taught me independence, to accept responsibility for my own mistakes. I had to get myself up in the morning, do my own cooking, stay out all day long. No matter the wind or rain or cold, I had to skin the animals and make sure everything was functioning so that at the end of the month I could pay on my college loan, make my pickup payment, buy groceries, and continue. I learned to focus on the land, the natural history of my quarry. I learned to love big, open country, and that it was my country, my home." Forty years on, Wyman still returns to Batch Camp to make repairs and do general upkeep. As with so many experiences in his life, he absorbed lessons that he would subsequently interpret and apply. The legacy of the Batch Camp would be realized with the Antler Creek Dugout which Wyman built with his brother, Rick, in 2015. This past February, Rick realized he had found a perfect spot for a traditional dugout — the iconic structure of the frontier prairie — in a bank cut thousands of years ago by the shifting Brazos River. Wyman had recently unearthed some petrified whitetail

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