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Ed O. Taylor Wildlife Habitat Management Area
This habitat area combines the flavor of the Old West with magnificent geological features and significant wildlife populations. Ed O. Taylor is 19 miles west of Kaycee near the south end of the Big Horn Mountains. The area straddles the Middle Fork of the Powder River. The 10,215-acre area was purchased in 1971 to ensure protection of winter range for elk, which summer in the Bighorn National Forest. In addition, Protection of year-round habitat for mule deer is ensured. From April through October, pronghorn antelope may be observed on the open rangeland areas.
The elevation gradient from east to west varies from 6,000 to 7,000 feet with steep canyon walls above the Middle Fork of the Powder River, Bachus and Blue creeks. Sagebrush, mountain shrubs and grasslands make up most of the habitat. Conifers, wet meadows and rock outcroppings cover much of the remaining land.
Two creeks and the Middle Fork of the Powder River provide water all year for wildlife and good fishing for the angler. You may find rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat trout in these streams. When you are not catching fish, watch for the many game species that live here. Blue grouse, sage grouse, Hungarian partridge, wild turkeys, doves and cottontail rabbits are plentiful.
Butch Cassidy’s “Outlaw Cave” is on the flanks of the Middle Fork of the Powder River Canyon. Steep canyon walls offered shelter and security for Cassidy and his men and have always provided protection for a variety of wildlife species. Swifts and swallows use canyon walls for nesting, while wintering deer and elk seek south-facing slopes for food and solar warmth.
Bighorn sheep present in the area were transplanted here. Between 1975 and 1976, 136 bighorns were moved to an area in the vicinity of the Middle Fork Canyon. To date, their numbers have declined. The few remaining sheep do not appear healthy. Every effort is being made to find out what is causing the population decline.
This remote winter range is not the place for the casual winter visitor. For those who make the effort during the warmer summer months, you will be rewarded by the spectacular scenery and recreational opportunities this area has to offer.
Ed O. Taylor is closed each year from December 1 through April 30.
Last Modified: November 11, 2013