in 1866, Elk Mountain Ranch combines the oldest water rights in
Wyoming with some of the finest native grasses in the Laramie Plain
to produce a commercial herd of outstanding buffalo, the largest
living mammal native to North America. Ancient buffalo (bison) horns
and skulls have been found buried on the ranchlands and archeologists
from the University of Wyoming confirm that this is evidence that
the huge historic herds of bison used to roam these very lands.
is a prime example of "Wild Spaces, Working Places," The
Nature Conservancy's motto for ranches that continue operating in
their agricultural legacies, yet work to combine their profit goal
with high regard for and preservation of the natural order of their
ecosystems. For these reasons, the ranch supplements its traditional
agricultural revenues by conducting limited big game hunts, trout
fishing on its lakes and nearby rivers, and receives small corporate
groups interested in the privacy the ranch can offer.
In 1998, Elk
Mountain Ranch imposed a conservation easement on its lands, thus
assuring for posterity that these notions of careful land stewardship
will be observed and continued.
restrictions imposed by the conservation easement do not interfere
unduly with grazing of the hundreds of bison (buffalo). The animals
and the lands they occupy are carefully managed to mimic the historic
grazing patterns of their ancestral herds of thousands. It is believed
that those herds caused severe grazing, trampling ("herd effect")
and fertilizing, but did not return for extended periods of time,
thus providing ample "rest periods" for the lands and
flora. In this fashion evolved both the bison and the Great Plains
rotation program depends on the amount of rainfall in each different
grazing area and the rainfall is monitored by 18-different rain
gauges. Management adjusts grazing to differences in the amounts
of forage available and assures that ample forage is left behind
in wildlife migratory areas. Repeat grazing visits to specific areas
depend on whether sufficient "rest" has been provided
each area. Electric fences of only two- and three-wires control
the buffalo and provide easy and safe passage for wildlife.
root stock of the Elk Mountain Ranch buffalo/bison herd is from
the Durham Ranch in northeast Wyoming. Durham Ranch is one of the
oldest buffalo operations in North America and some of its gene
pool comes from the few bison saved by Montana ranchers in the 1890's.
These genes are mixed with those from the Custer State Park bulls
and others, as appropriate to provide new genes from different geographic
female calves born each year grow up to become breeding stock in
our herd and others, and the bull calves are raised elsewhere for
eventual slaughter for meat and other products. None of our animals
is given growth hormones or any subtherapeutic antibiotics; our
goal is to raise them as naturally as possible. The animals that
are destined for slaughter do not go to traditional confinement
feedlots; they gain weight in areas where there is always sodded
ground and naturally occurring vegetation.
our bison operation may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
74, Elk Mountain, Wyoming 82324
phone: 307-348-7440 | fax:307-348-7447