Follow long and winding Tommy Letulle Road in Matagorda County, Texas, far enough and you will find yourself at the gates of Spread Oaks Ranch. The 5,500-acre working ranch is on the Texas mid-coast Central Flyway, known for prime habitat for wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds.

The ranch has a rich history dating back to the 1400s, but it is the property’s more recent history that makes it so special. In 2011, when Forrest Wylie purchased the first tract of 1,200 acres that would become the sprawling ranch, he knew he had something special.

In the mid-1990s, previous owners Tommy and Alta LeTulle worked with Ducks Unlimited (DU) on several Texas Prairie Wetlands Projects (TPWP) on the property. By the time Wylie acquired the land, those projects had expired. Seeing there was an opportunity to continue using some of DU’s conservation methods to help improve the land, implement innovative waterwise agriculture methods and create quality wintering habitat for migrating waterfowl, Wylie knew the partnership with DU needed to grow.

In 2018, the property’s first conservation manager was hired to begin constructing waterfowl impoundments. Working with DU and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, additional impoundments were installed, which now provide nearly 500 acres of duck habitat. In addition to these impoundments, the ranch manages Jennings Lake as prime waterfowl habitat.


For more than 10 years, Spread Oaks Ranch has been a valuable partner in conservation. Over the past 6 years alone, 20 conservation projects have been completed on the property, working with several state, federal and non-governmental organization partners. Most of these projects are part of the TPWP.

“This is a unique property in that it is actively managed for wildlife, ranching and farming,” said DU Regional Biologist Taylor Abshier. “Conservation is very important to Forrest. The projects we’ve done out here speak to that. From using water from Blue Creek via a re-lift pump for irrigation and switching from only row crops to including rice and utilizing some of DU’s water-wase practices, the ranch takes conservation and using natural resources efficiently seriously. Tying in their management for waterfowl and deer hunting, Spread Oaks Ranch is a great example of how hunting and conservation can work hand in hand.” 

It is not just the waterfowl habitat side of DU that interests Wylie, but how the breadth and depth of DU’s on-the-ground work touches people, too.

Over the years, Wylie has remarked that DU strives to ensure these places are around for generations to come. It’s important to invest in the future. That’s part of the reason he and Spread Oaks Ranch continue to support DU scholarships for high school students wanting to further their education, helping to bring more conservation-minded people who not only want to fill the skies with waterfowl but also understand that the work DU does helps people, too. DU’s work provides water-filtering wetlands, which provide clean water for municipalities, and their coastal work provides storm and flood protection. It all helps people and wildlife.

A long-time DU Major Donor, Wylie also understands the critical role volunteers and volunteer fundraisers play in conservation.

“Forrest is an amazing conservation partner,” said Matt Bunn, managing director of Development for Ducks Unlimited. “Over the years, he has not only supported DU’s on-the-ground conservation work, but he has helped raise critical dollars for conservation by providing hunts and specialty weekend get-a-way packages at Spread Oaks for auction. The f

Beyond the amazing habitat that Spread Oaks Ranch has developed is a world-class lodge offering a variety of activities and services, featuring luxury accommodations and a culinary experience like no other. There truly is no place quite like Spread Oaks Ranch. It has something special for every group.

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