Joseph W. Braman, the son of Daniel and Mary Braman, is a fifth- generation Texan who grew up with his two brothers on a working cattle ranch in Refugio, Texas. With a family history steeped in oil & gas, ranching, and real estate, Joe gained an inherent understanding of family’s businesses, while he simultaneously cultivated a deep appreciation for the outdoors.
Joe’s affinity for the outdoors resulted in a deep understanding of animals. At a very early age, Joe started to work at training dogs, the start of a talent that he would cultivate and develop throughout his life. Raised around cattle and horses, Joe gained an affinity for competitive roping, which he translated into becoming an eight-time qualifier of the Texas circuit finals in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Mary O’Connor Braman, Joe grandmother, was quick to recognize Joe’s culinary skills, and personally spent countless hours in the kitchen with Joe, helping to develop his natural talent. Joe attended culinary school, refining his skills and becoming a master chef. Joe learned to pair wine with food, and translated this talent into the start of Braman Winery in 2010. Growth of the winery led to the creation of a brewery a few years later, which today produces a full line of beer under the Running Walker label.
Known in wide circles for his lifelong work training hounds, Joe was contacted by the Jaguar Conservation Fund to potentially help their efforts in saving the species. Jaguars had been dwindling in population for many years, and were in serious danger of losing their remaining habitats to human reclamation of certain areas.
Joe’s strategy was to immerse himself in the jaguar’s habitat, to learn where they roamed, and what resources they needed preserved. In 2010, Joe spent three weeks in the jungles of Mexico, mapping the best corridors for safe jaguar habitats. Along with his hounds and his team, Joe successfully tagged and released 6 jaguars into the protected, natural environment corridors. This work has provided immeasurable scientific data that will allow further study on the preservation of this incredible creature.
Joe undertook similar efforts with the wild quail population. Understanding the fragility of that species, Joe worked with a noted biologist to quadruple the wild quail population in Zapata, Texas, by controlling the quail’s primary predators.
Most recently, Joe was asked to help evaluate the use of dogs as a potential solution to the rhino-poaching epidemic in South Africa. After a month-long evaluation trip in early 2017, Joe spent a year and a half training dogs in Texas, specifically suited for the anti-poaching mission.
In mid-2018, Joe deployed to South Africa with several of his specially- trained hounds, where they demonstrated unparalleled success in saving rhinos. So successful was the initial trial, Joe was asked to help develop a formal curriculum for training both dogs and dog handlers for anti-poaching missions, so that the program could be expanded.
Joe has been an active law enforcement officer for more than two decades. He continues to investigate ways in which his passion for dog training can assist in other conservation endeavors, and he continues to spend his time and efforts finding ways in which he can help others.
Joe resides in Refugio, Texas with his family.
Show Music: “The Ropin Pen” (Live) by: Trent Willmon
MC Podcast Production & Editing: Matt Kirschner