Ranch History

The Vela Ranch is located between San Diego and Freer, 65 miles West of Corpus Christi, Texas. This area is known for its wildlife habitat and trophy whitetail deer.

Dr. Robert Vela, a practicing internal medicine physician in Corpus Christi, and a native of Duval County, purchased the ranch in 1990. Although initially acquired for recreational and limited cattle-breeding purposes, the Vela Ranch was rapidly transformed into a managed whitetail deer operation. Guests and hunters alike will rapidly realize that the Vela Ranch is not only a hunting haven, but a place the Vela family calls its second home.

Over the last 17 years, we have enhanced our native deer herd by instituting an intensive management program. These measures have included high-fencing, supplemental/continuous feedings, food-plots, and introducing better genetics. We also actively cull what is felt to be inferior deer. Via the T.T.T. permits (transfer of deer) and the breeder program, the genetic pool has improved drastically, producing beautiful, antlered bucks.

The breeder program has become the heart and soul of the Vela Ranch. In the last five years, we have released quality bred does and large-framed multi-point bucks into the open range, adding substantial diversity to the existing genetic pool.

The native habitat is optimized by frequent discing of the senderos, food-plotting, and year-long supplemental protein feeding.

Anyone interested should contact us for further details. We will be happy to share our experiences.


In 2006, the Vela Lodge was rebuilt from the ground up. We welcome you to come enjoy the four bedroom, brick lodge in a scenic, serene atmosphere. You will immediately feel at home.

Granite countertops adorn the spacious, open kitchen where we cook breakfast meals ranging from chorizo and bean tacos to standard bacon and eggs. The kitchen, bar stool seating area, dining area, and living room embody the family-feel we are so proud of.

Inside the lodge, you’ll find all the comforts and amenities such as central air and heating, satellite television, entertainment, and great cooking. When you’re not hunting, spend time sitting by the campfire, BBQing, 4-wheeling, playing pool, doing target practice, watching tv, or simply playing a game of cards.

One thing that sets the Vela Lodge apart is its varied bedroom layout, making it equally enjoyable for everyone --from a group of four friends, to a couple, to a small family.

Alternatively, at your expense, arrangements can be made for lodging in nearby Alice, Texas where numerous new hotels have been built due to the surging drilling industry.


"Robert treated me like family. We joked, had fun, threw back a few beers, and I had a trophy buck to mount on my wall afterwards!" ~ Jerry Guerra


The Vela Ranch is located in Duval County, Texas.

If you are driving South from the San Antonio area via IH 37:
• South on IH 37
• Exit on US 59 HWY-West, headed towards George West, stay on US 59 headed towards Freer
• 10-11 miles after passing the 624 and 59, turn left on Country Road 101 - Temple Ranch Road
• Travel 10-11 miles, dirt road, South on CR 101, passing high fence Temple Ranch
• Turn right into narrow CR 102 - landmark Vela Ranch by high fence and red-orange gate entrance
• Follow road, pass cattle guard - gate - and follow road to high fence gate. You will see Vela Ranch sign

If you are driving south from San Antonio area via US 281
• Headed towards Alice, Texas
• Turn right - west - onto US 59 headed toward Freer and George West
• Follow W 59 (west) and follow above directions

If you are driving from Alice, Texas via HWY 44 towards San Diego, Texas
• Nearly pass the city of San Diego, Texas, just after the railroad tracks
• Make right turn at edge of town, small "taco" stand on west corner
• Travel about 1.5 miles north and turn left on CR 101, passing cattle guard
• Travel 10.5 miles north and turn left on CR 102, as outlined above

If you're coming from afar, we recommend flying into Corpus Christi, Texas (CRP). For an additional cost, we are happy to arrange pickup from the airport and transportation to the Vela Ranch.

Not a hunter, but still needing directions to the Vela Ranch? If you're making a delivery, please call 2 to 3 hours before arrival to make arrangements.