- SERVING PEOPLE -
Landowner: Tim and Dawn Pexton
Ranch Name: Indian Creek Ranch
The Indian Creek Ranch, consisting of more than 4,200 deeded acres, is located south of Douglas, Wyoming in the foothills of the Laramie Range. The Pextons call the ranch home and actively work with various agencies, conservation groups, and others to enhance lands they own and lease.
The Pextons work very hard to perpetuate quality management practices on their ranch, which is primarily a cattle and hay operation. Their excellent stewardship is reflected in the richness of wildlife present on their property. Their ranch is home to a diversity of wildlife, including antelope, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge, turkeys, black bears and mountain lions. Managing the cattle ranch amidst a rich diversity of wildlife has its unique challenges. The conflicts that sometimes arise with wildlife are met with a positive attitude by Tim and Dawn, because they see wildlife as an integral part their ranching operation. They are an excellent example of how agriculture and wildlife are inextricably linked, which goes a long way to preserving Wyoming’s wildlife and its hunting heritage.
Landowner: Dr. Lenox Baker and Greg Luce
Ranch Name: Pitchfork Ranch
Manager: Dan and Darcy Morris
The historic ranch situated on the Greybull River west of Meeteetse is owned by Dr. Lenox Baker and Greg Luce and managed by Dan and Darcy Morris. The Pitchfork Ranch’s wildlife legacy is known internationally as the place where black-footed ferrets, then thought to be extinct, were discovered in 1981. Lesser known but as important is the ranch’s large contribution to habitat for a multitude of species. The Pitchfork provides year-round habitat for all big game species and crucial winter range for elk and mule deer. The ranch hosts a large number of elk during winter, some migrating from as far away as Yellowstone National Park. The Greybull River, which flows through the heart of the Pitchfork Ranch, is one of the last remaining strongholds for Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
With large numbers of big game using the ranch, access is critical to managing these populations, and the Pitchfork Ranch has always been a cooperative partner in that management. In 2001 the Pitchfork Ranch enrolled a portion of the ranch in the Department’s Private Land Public Wildlife (PLPW) Walk-in Access Program giving hunters the opportunity to hunt antelope, deer, and elk. Since 2002, the entire ranch has been enrolled in the Department PLPW Hunter Management Area Program giving access from mid August to the end of January for hunting antelope, deer, and elk during the respective seasons. Access on the ranch is mostly by foot and horseback, but designated roads for motor vehicles have been identified to assist the hunter in getting in to different portions of the ranch. In the 2011 hunting season, more than 600 permission slips were issued to the hunting public demonstrating the popularity of this access opportunity.
Green River Region
Ranch Name: Little Sandy Grazing Association
The Little Sandy Grazing Association (LSGA) is a significant landowner of a large percentage of the private lands in the Little Sandy Creek drainage. Within southwestern Wyoming, LSGA ownership supports a wide diversity of sagebrush dependant species and diverse aquatic resources.
LSGA has been a leading partner in restoration of three important native fish species (roundtail chub, bluehead sucker and flannelmouth sucker) in Little Sandy Creek. Over the last decade, LSGA has been supportive of the native fish restoration efforts in the Green River drainage and allowed administrative access to Wyoming Game and Fish Department (Department) employees to work on LSGA properties.
LSGA has proved to be a good partner regarding wildlife-related recreational access through its land ownership in southwestern Wyoming. A significant number of hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts benefit from the open space these lands provide, in combination with lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. This commitment by the Little Sandy Grazing Association opens access to important areas for wildlife recreation.
Landowner: Roger Preston
Ranch Name: Preston Ranches
Roger Preston has had 1040 acres in three different parcels of property enrolled in the Department’s Private Land Public Wildlife walk-in hunting program for many years. These walk-in areas provide for deer, elk, grouse and mountain lion hunting opportunity for the public. Roger also allows the public permission to hunt some of his additional property as long as they ask. In addition to the hunting opportunity he provides, Roger also has 0.75 miles of stream enrolled in the walk-in fishing program. This stretch of Willow Creek provides some great fishing in a quiet setting that is still close to the main highway.
Roger’s cooperative attitude with the Department is of great benefit to Wyoming’s wildlife and fisheries resources. Willow Creek is critical as a spawning stream for the Salt River fishery. Roger worked with the fish management crew and aquatic habitat biologist to identify a fish passage barrier on Willow Creek. The area has been identified as a future enhancement for the native Snake River Cutthroat trout population.
Landowner: Jeff and Susan Sussman, owners
Ranch Name: Diamond D Cattle Company
Manager: Reg Phillips
The Diamond D Ranch is home to a diversity of wildlife species, including mule deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, and many non-game species of wildlife such as peregrine falcons and osprey. The ranch also contains a fantastic sport fishery. The Diamond D Ranch lies in the path of a major elk migration route and occupies lands in and adjacent to an extremely important elk winter range complex. At times, more than 2,000 elk utilize habitat within a mile of the ranch’s central facilities and hay meadows. Many of these elk use land parcels owned by the Diamond D on Spring Mountain throughout the winter. The Diamond D recognizes the importance of this elk migration corridor in sustaining the Wiggins Fork elk population and they have worked to minimize any obstructions to elk movement through the ranch.
The Diamond D Ranch has always been proactive in proper livestock management practices. Reg Phillips has been conducting rangeland monitoring for almost 22 years, long before it became common practice. The ranch maintains fences on both deeded and leased properties to reduce impacts to riparian or other sensitive areas. The Diamond D Ranch is actively participating in progressive conservation management practices including resource monitoring, soil and water conservation, livestock grazing management, endangered species management and watershed management.
Landowner: Gene and Lola Russell
Ranch Name: Russell Ranch
The 13,000+ acre Russell Ranch west of Glendo, Wyoming is home to pronghorn, mule deer, elk, mountain lion, wild turkey and numerous other game and non-game species of wildlife. Horseshoe Creek meanders through the property for approximately 3 miles, and provides sub-irrigation for native hay fields supporting the Russell’s agricultural operation.
The Russell family has long been an active supporter of wildlife management and their generosity is second to none when it comes to allowing access to their private lands for hunting. In 2001, when the department’s Private Lands/Public Wildlife Program was first made permanent, Gene & Lola enrolled approximately 4,100 acres of their lands into two Walk-In Areas, which have provided excellent opportunities for antelope, deer, and elk to a great many hunters.
Landowner: Don and Pete (Peto) Meike
Ranch Name: Meike Ranch
The Meike Ranch was founded in 1901 by Emil and Emma Meike. Emil Meike envisioned and created a twenty mile long canal to be used to irrigate meadows along the Powder River. Today, numerous species of wildlife call these irrigated meadows “home.” As fourth generation ranchers, Don and Peto Meike continue to manage much of the land their ancestors settled and developed. Assisting Don and Peto is an exceptional group of hired hands, who work long, hard hours to keep things running smoothly. The Meike Ranch encompasses 33,851 acres. Their home place is located along the Powder River twenty miles east of historic Kaycee, Wyoming. Their mountain property is located near the headwaters of the Powder River in the southern Bighorn Mountains.
Perhaps one of the greatest contributions made by the Meikes is providing access to hunters. Don and Peto continue to follow the advice of their father, Pete Meike Sr., who believed “that hunting should be a sport for all to enjoy.” Pete Sr. feared hunting would one day become a “King’s Sport,” if others weren’t able to afford it, or find a place to hunt. Don and Peto are keenly aware that hunting is one of the best management tools for managing wildlife populations.