|2012 Golden Buck Kid Rock of Cross Canyon Whitetails
Cross Canyon Whitetails is truly a family owned and operated whitetail deer breeding enterprise. The ranch was founded five years ago by Johnny and Judy Millegan along with their son Jason and his wife Valerie. Cross Canyon Whitetails is a hands on family business with each person focusing on different aspects of the operation. Johnny and Judy live on the ranch and handle the daily care of the deer. Jason and Johnny focus on the business end of the program, the sales and marketing, and the strategy of the breeding program. Jason's wife Valerie creates all the advertising and design while Judy's passion is the fawning season. Judy oversees the does and the buck fawns in the breeder pens and runs the nursery where all the Cross Canyon Whitetail doe fawns are raised. In addition to deer, the Millegan's also exhibit some exotics at their ranch but, their passion is whitetail deer.
Cross Canyon Ranch is located on the beautiful Lampasas River near Belton, Texas. It is 160 acres filled with natural beauty and a variety of land, from the pecan trees of the river bottom to the spectacular views from the canyon cliffs. Their whitetail deer facility is the center of their operation currently featuring around one hundred and seventy deer. It's a state-of-the-art facility with nine breeder pens and a very functional, first class fawn rearing area. They have designed their pens and entire facility to minimize stress and enable them to care for their deer in the best possible way. Their goal is to 'prevent' disease and injury rather than have to 'treat' it! The Millegan's are in their pens on a daily basis personally feeding and observing their deer. They have installed a state-of-the-art misting system to help prevent disease. The deer are also vaccinated annually.
The Millegan's goal for their whitetail deer breeding program has always been to focus on investing in the best genetics available. They have no aspirations to be the largest deer breeding facility in Texas, but to produce the quality of whitetail deer that today's market demands. Not knowing much about what it took to run a deer operation from the beginning, Johnny and his family volunteered themselves at other deer ranches such as Robert Williams, The Refuge, Sullivan Whitetails, 5F Whitetails. They did this to learn the basic principles that were required for such an operation. The Millegan's were thrilled with how enthused these breeders were to help them learn how to raise and care for these deer. The friendships made and the knowledge gained from these visits was priceless! The Millegans began to build a herd with special attention spent on the productivity and predictability of the doe side, and the marketability of the buck side. Since they first started their operation, about five or six years ago, Cross Canyon has become well known as a successful breeding operation. Today they breed around fifty does a years, producing, on average, about eighty or so fawns a season.
The Millegan's have hand selected an unmatched herd of whitetail does and through their state-of-the-art artificial insemination program, are able to cross their superior does with the best whitetail bucks in the nation. They know that to continue to produce the quality of whitetail deer that today's market demands, they must continuously improve and update their genetics. In choosing the genetics they use, their focus was on antler growth at a young (early) age and antler conformation, marketability of the bloodline, and ability to produce. Their operation does tend to put special emphasis on the females. This is partially due to their previous experience in the horse breeding industry. They know first hand that the female can make all the difference in how an offspring can turn out. The Millegan's also place special emphasis on what they call "The Look" in whitetail genetics; the huge frame, long tines, and eye-catching width! This proves to be working really well for them, because Cross Canyon is the proud recipient of the 2012 Golden Buck Contest with their buck 'Kid Rock'.
Johnny and Judy Millegan and their son Jason of Cross Canyon Whitetails were elated as one of their premier breeder bucks, Kid Rock, was honored with the Golden Buck Award at the recent Deer Breeders Corporation annual convention in San Antonio, TX. Kid Rock is one of the biggest if not the biggest breeder buck in Texas. This year, even after moving him from his birthplace at High Roller Whitetails in Center, Texas, to Cross Canyon Whitetails in Belton, Texas, Kid Rock is making a huge jump in his score at only three years old and is still maintaining, "The Look"; the huge frame, long tines, great mass and width that makes an outstanding buck. Kid Rock scored 271 inches as a yearling, 332 inches at two years old, and looks to be an impressive 450 inches plus this year at three. His antlers will be officially scored soon!
The story of how Kid Rock came to be with the Millegan's is interesting. Kevin Grace of Whitetail Sales & Service had been encouraging the Millegan's to attend the Top Thirty Sale in Illinois in January of 2011. The Millegan's had been considering expanding their business by investing in some does in the North. However, while studying the sale catalog one specific Lot kept coming to their attention, High Roller Whitetails was selling the choice buck off their farm. Johnny called an executive "family" meeting to discuss if considering this Lot was even a possibility for Cross Canyon Whitetails only a day before the auction. The Millegan's had some experience with an auction lot of this magnitude as they had purchased a choice yearling buck from High Roller Whitetails in 2008. That choice turned into a buck you might have heard of by the name of 'Express'. Express has been a huge blessing to the Millegan's scoring over 300 inches with a width of over 32 inches for three consecutive years. As Jason says, Express has opened our eyes to how big of a deal owning a big marketable buck can be for a breeding operation. The Millegan's also greatly value their relationship with Terry Bailey and James Butler of High Roller Whitetails. According to Jason, their experience with Express gave them the confidence it takes to seriously consider investing in a buck of this caliber. This year the genetic potential of Express has been proven with several outstanding yearlings including Federal Express, Midnight Express, and Sudden Express. With the addition of Billy and Mitzi Sage of S & S Whitetails Galore in Ohio, to the Cross Canyon/High Roller partnership, Express has an exciting future ahead.
After quickly arranging to attend the Top Thirty Sale, the Millegans drove to Illinois discussing and debating the possible advantages of having a big name sire on the ranch. As Jason says, by the time we got to Illinois we were looking at one Lot and one Lot only, the choice from High Roller Whitetails. Even at that time we had our eye on Kid Rock. We continued our "executive" meeting right up until the auctioneer started introducing the Lot. After a quick prayer in the hallway, we walked in firing and did not stop until we had won the Lot. Jason was watching for other bidders, Johnny was doing the bidding, and Judy was trying not to faint! Next thing we knew, a new record had been set in deer auction history and a new chapter had opened for Cross Canyon Whitetails. It was another long summer for the Millegan's, watching the bucks grow out and making the big decision. Their initial choice would stand, Kid Rock was heading to Cross Canyon Whitetails. Since then, Cole Wolff of DaVine Genetics has now joined the Cross Canyon/High Roller partnership on Kid Rock. All are expecting great things out of this outstanding buck in the near future. With Kid Rock's huge score and his impressive look combined with his powerful genetics (Shadow x Texas Super Doe A225) the sky is the limit. Hopefully this is just the beginning…
As a family the Millegan's feel truly blessed to be part of such a great industry. They have really enjoyed working with these amazing animals, as well as all the wonderful people in this business that share their passion. They also love the challenge and the competition of the business. This has been one of the most rewarding adventures they have ever invested in as a family, and are excited about the future of the deer business!