October/November 2014

October/November 2014

With the ranch being covered in snow, it seems fitting that the last blog post for 2014 should hit the website. The animals have been seen migrating off the mountain in droves heading for the warmer areas with more feed. The elk will return in the spring to calve and feed when the melting snow opens up the succulent grass underneath.

Right now, we are knee deep into a coral project for our cattle herd. We are building corrals and holding pens, which are much needed. Calving season for our cows will begin in February and we hope to have this project completed by then. We are hopeful that we will have a very productive calving season this spring so our cows are ready to go up on the mountain in May.

Rifle season this year was the toughest in recent memory. Unseasonably warm temperatures during most of the rifle seasons allowed the elk to migrate up into the high country after the rut to cool off and relax. This is not normal behavior. Usually, the snow during rifle seasons at higher elevations will keep the elk out of the nasty dark timber. This year was different. The elk became tough to find because of the lack of weather. Thus, our success rate was not as high as we would have liked. We did not see any significant snow until 4th season, which is very late. However, we have now caught up as the weather in mid and late December has brought the area much needed moisture. This will be very important for next year’s vegetation.

Our opportunity rate for rifle seasons in 2014 was 73%.   We would have liked a higher opportunity rate but unfortunately the weather and elk behavior made it very difficult. Our guides put in an amazing effort during rifle seasons to find the elk. We had many comments from hunters about the efforts put in by our guides. They are a great group of guys and they are already looking forward to next year. This year was an albatross because of the lack of weather. We expect the weather to be back to normal during rifle seasons next year. This makes the elk behavior much more predictable.

The deer hunting during rifle season was fantastic. We did not have many deer hunters this year. However, the hunters with deer tags were very successful with a few of them taking their first mule deer. We had some very impressive bucks on the properties this year but none of the really big deer were taken. Some nice bucks were harvested this year but none of the hunters were able to connect on the monster bucks that were seen. We are excited to hopefully see them again next year!

We are very thankful for all of the great people we had hunting with us this year. We were extremely fortunate to be around so many wonderful people during the course of the 2014 hunting season. It makes our job so much more enjoyable.

There is already excitement in the air regarding our 2015 hunting season. At this point, we are about 80% booked for 2015. Many repeat hunters will be with us next year, which is always a great feeling. We hope that the winter continues to bring a good amount of snow, as this is always a great predictor for the feed and antler growth during the summer.

Again, we want to thank all of our hunters this year. We are humbled that you chose to spend your time with us this fall.