2014 Landowners of the Year

The Landowner of the Year award is presented to Wyoming landowners who have demonstrated outstanding practices in wildlife management, habitat improvement, and conservation techniques on their properties. These landowners also cooperate with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to provide access to hunters and anglers on their properties. Award recipients are nominated by any department employee and selected by the regional leadership teams as model citizens for the conservation, ethical use, and stewardship of Wyoming’s natural resources.


Casper Region

Landowners:  Jim, Peg and Casey Price

Jim, Peg and Casey Price, owners of Miles Land and Livestock Company, in concert with their family, manage a portion of central Wyoming’s open spaces in a traditional livestock operation with a progressive eye on the future.  The Prices have been instrumental in cooperating with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (Department) and other conservation groups to implement the Bates Creek Watershed Restoration project on their private land and state and federal leases for the past 11 years.  To date, they have rested treatment areas from livestock grazing, which allows the areas to provide full benefits to wildlife, watershed health and livestock performance.  They have unselfishly invested money and time in these projects.  For example, they have had to seek additional pasture for their livestock to accommodate changes in their operation to ensure the habitat projects are rested and successful. 

The Prices recognize the importance of hunting as a sporting activity and as a wildlife management tool. Their lands enrolled in the Muddy Mountain Hunter Management Area have significantly improved the Department’s ability to manage big game in this area and provides sportspersons access to superb elk, mule deer, and pronghorn hunting.

The Prices are now seeing the immeasurable benefits from the restoration projects they have implemented.  It is without doubt their progressive attitude, willingness to take some measured risk, and spirit of cooperation will benefit the Bates Hole watershed and the associated wildlife resources for generations to come!
Congratulations to Jim, Peggy and Casey Price of Miles Land and Livestock as the recipients of the 2014 Casper Region Landowner of the Year Award.


Cody Region

Ranch Name:  Hoodoo Ranch
Manager: J.D. Radakovich
The Cody Region is pleased to nominate the Hoodoo Ranch as our 2014 Landowner of the Year.  Under the guidance of ranch manager J.D. Radakovich, the Hoodoo Ranch runs a cow/calf cattle and farming operation on 255,000 acres of private, state and federal lands in Northwest Wyoming.  The Hoodoo Ranch provides excellent habitat for a multitude of game and nongame species. 
J.D. Radakovich became ranch manager in 2010 and since that time the ranch has increased the number of acres enrolled in the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Private Lands Public Wildlife program to over 92,000 acres.  In 2014, the ranch provided more than 1,600 licensed hunters the opportunity to hunt deer, elk and antelope in multiple hunt areas.

The Department works closely with ranch employees  to manage large carnivore conflicts that occur regularly on the ranch.  The Hoodoo has an interest in sage grouse conservation and has entered into a voluntary agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to inventory pastures, allow vegetation sampling, and develop a grazing plan that ultimately results in productive spring nesting habitat for sage grouse.

It is safe to say that without the cooperation and commitment to wildlife conservation by the Hoodoo Ranch, northwest Wyoming would not enjoy the abundance of wildlife  we have today.

Green River Region

Landowners:  Paul and Hugh Lowham
Ranch Name:  Lowham Ranch
The Lowham Ranch is located in extreme southwest Wyoming in Uinta County, and is owned by brothers Paul and Hugh Lowham.  The Lowham Ranch comprises approximately 2,560 acres of sage brush, mixed mountain shrubs, aspen and mixed grasses. The property is enrolled in the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Walk-In Program and provides hunters with opportunities to hunt mule deer, antelope, elk, moose, sage grouse and small game as well as providing access to state land.
Both Paul and Hugh are conservation minded landowners and have invested both time and sweat into providing quality habitat for Wyoming’s wildlife. The Lowhams have worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to implement a grazing program that promotes sustainable livestock production while maintaining quality wildlife habitat.
Paul and Hugh provide important habitats for both game and nongame species, and have a shared interest in both.  Recently, their ranch was included in the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s annual bird surveys in Wyoming (one of 106 sites).
Paul and Hugh also provide important habitats for aquatic species. Paul and Hugh have been working with Department biologists to improve and preserve habitat for native aquatic  species.  Additionally, Paul and Hugh are pursuing some earth work to provide a public fishery on their ranch.
It is our pleasure to recognize the Lowhams and the contribution they make to our shared wildlife resources.

Jackson Region

Landowner:  Kelly, Elizabeth, Cody and Chase Lockhart
Upstream of the Snake River Canyon, the valley floor opens up into rolling pasture land, bisected with spring creeks and flanked by a view of the Tetons.   For many Jackson residents this sight signals that they are “home.”  For the Lockharts, it represents much more: a legacy of homesteading, ranching, and stewardship.
Kelly and Elizabeth Lockhart, and their sons Cody and Chase own and manage properties that provide opportunities for wildlife conservation through the maintenance of open space and  valuable aquatic resources, all while maintaining their western heritage.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (Department) has enjoyed a great working relationship with the Lockhart family which has helped tremendously in reaching management objectives along the Snake River bottoms.
The family’s endeavors reach beyond cattle ranching to stream restoration.  Four spring-fed tributaries to the Snake River flow through the Lockharts’ parcels. 
The family has worked with the Department aquatic biologists for decades to improve habitat conditions for spawning, native cutthroat trout.  The restoration and fish passage work on the Lockhart’s property has made an additional 13.5 stream miles available to spawning cutthroat trout.
The Department has enjoyed a great working relationship with the Lockharts allowing for better management of all wildlife within the Snake River corridor.

Lander Region

Landowner:  Bill and Dorothy Maiers
Bill and Dorothy Maiers are  landowners on the north side of Green Mountain, with approximately 300 acres on Middle Cottonwood and West Cottonwood Creeks. The Maiers provide hunting and fishing access to everyone that takes the time to ask permission, and have done so for the past 42 years that they’ve owned the property. What the Maiers may lack in quantity of deeded acres, they make up for in a strong will to add quality to their land , and the surrounding  areas.
In 2014, the Lander Region hosted a mule deer workshop in Lander to discuss issues regarding mule deer in two key herd units. Bill and Dorothy came over from Casper to attend the meeting and were instantly moved by the desire to provide an opportunity to help mule deer habitat on their property. Before the workshop was over, Bill invited his local game warden, habitat biologist and wildlife biologist to come out to their property to assess its condition and identify any improvements that could be made to benefit mule deer.
Bill convinced his neighbor of the merits of healthy mule deer habitat and effectively doubled the amount of private ground to be improved. Potential future improvements on their land include treatments to benefit existing bitterbrush communities, cheat grass control, spring enhancements, conifer thinning in aspen stands, and transplanting beavers to riparian areas.
Bill and Dorothy have shown that the size of the ranch isn’t what makes a landowner special, but it’s what that landowner does with the available resources to improve upon their land that does.

Laramie Region

Landowner:  Doug and Susan Samuelson
Properties owned and managed by Doug and Susan Samuelson total more than 30,000 acres in the Laramie Range between Laramie and the eastern edge of Wyoming.  Their land provides excellent wildlife and fisheries habitat, supporting a diversity of wildlife species from Hungarian partridges to bighorn sheep.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (Department) has been working cooperatively with the Samuelsons and the Bureau of Land Management to conduct prescribed fire treatments in mixed mountain shrub habitats.  Over 2,000 acres have been treated and additional acres are planned for treatment this fall.  Shrubs burned by fire re-sprouted vigorously and resulted in exponential increases in forage quality and quantity for use by big game.  The Samuelsons ranch manager, Dennis Magnusson, worked cooperatively with the Department and several conservation organizations to complete the project.
The Samuelsons participated in the Iron Mountain Hunter Management Assistant Program in 2012 and 2013 elk seasons.  Doug Samuelson and Dennis Magnusson were incredibly helpful during these hunts, allowing for much better harvest success than anticipated.  During the course of these two seasons the public was allowed to harvest more than 200 cow and calf elk on their property.  This harvest brought the Iron Mountain elk herd closer to the objective.
Doug and Susan Samuelson demonstrate strong wildlife conservation and land stewardship ethics and are most deserving of the Laramie Region’s Landowner of the Year Award.

Pinedale Region

Landowner: Pam Chrisman
Ranch Name:  Fish Creek Flying W Ranch
Pam Chrisman is a stalwart in Sublette County when it comes to maintaining and supporting wildlife and fish habitats. Her interest in preserving crucial riparian willow bottoms and cottonwood galleries along LaBarge Creek, Fish Creek, South Piney Creek and the Green River will ensure that a whole host of avian and mammalian species will endure into the distant future.  Her land management ethic in conserving these habitats is remarkable.
Her interest in maintaining and preserving movement and migration corridors on her ranches for segments of the largest Shiras moose and mule deer populations in Wyoming is commendable. Pam initiated a reconstruction of pasture fences on her properties to ensure these fences are of a standard to provide the necessary corridors for unrestricted and unhindered travel for big game species.
Pam was one of several permittees involved with the Piney Creeks Vegetation Restoration project after the 2012 Fontenelle Wildfire.  In order to maximize the stabilization and recovery of her allotments, she chose to rest these allotments and utilize different pasture away from her base operation. 
Pam’s commitment to maintaining a working ranch and all of the essential wildlife habitats that are found there reflect an extraordinary interest in the conservation of Wyoming’s diverse and unique wildlife species.

Sheridan Region

Landowner:  Steve and Judy Washut
The Washuts live on approximately twenty four acres of agricultural land south of Sheridan in an area dominated by dispersed residential development and a robust white-tailed deer population. As this area made the transition from open land to rural subdivisions and small tract properties, the ability to control deer numbers with traditional hunting became extremely difficult. The close proximity of homes, animal confinement facilities, public roads and other infrastructure made the concern for firearm safety paramount.
The Washuts raise alfalfa in the summer and allow hunters to harvest approximately 60-80 white-tailed deer each fall on their seven acre alfalfa field. One year the harvest was approximately 100 deer.  This unparalleled harvest of deer per acre has aided the Game and Fish Department’s deer management objectives and has provided significant recreational opportunities to resident and nonresident hunters.
The Washuts regularly host visually and mobility impaired hunters. A shooting bench is provided and this arrangement provides an excellent opportunity for physically challenged hunters to harvest deer.  Young hunters or those new to the sport also find a home on the Washut property. A number of these new hunters have harvested their first deer there, perhaps preparing them for future hunting experiences.
Because of their willingness to try innovative management techniques and their outstanding contribution to hunting opportunities and deer management, Steve and Judy are deserving recipients of  the Sheridan Region’s Landowner of the Year award.
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