Our blog will help keep you informed about news and information related to the farm, ranch and rural real estate markets. If you share our desire for wide open spaces and investment in the land, we hope you will subscribe, read and discuss the stories we find and develop here. More than just an investment, ranch, farm and rural real estate evokes a type of lifestyle that was born over a century ago and still provides a certain romance and passion for those who embrace the pioneering spirit from those days gone by.

Turkey Hunting at Jefferson Island Ranch in Montana

By: Tim Murphy

Turkey season opened up this weekend and I was lucky to have drawn a tag for the Jefferson Valley.  My wife Beth, and two daughters Samantha (age 9) and Meghan (age 6) love the outdoors, and we saw this as a great opportunity to take a family outing.

Preparations began with nightly practice on the turkey calls after dinner and watching a couple of turkey hunting shows on the outdoor channel.  Our good friends at Beartooth Capital were gracious enough to allow us not only to hunt their Jefferson Island Ranch, but also to spend the night in the guest house.

Spring weather was in the air as temperatures rose to the mid-60’s, and the area landscape began to take on greenish hue.  One of my favorite quotes was from Mark Twain who once said, “don’t let education get in the way of learning”.  So, we pulled the girls out of school at noon and traveled to the 1500 acre ranch an hour west of Bozeman in anticipation of scouting and putting a bird to roost that evening.

After arriving we were not disappointed to discover that a good sized flock of birds were using the fields near the residence to strut prior to roosting in the tall cottonwoods 300 yards from the front porch.  We settled in and took advantage of the nice weather to warm up the girls fly-casting skills on the stocked pond.  With this nice weather, fishing season is also upon us!  Later that afternoon we took a drive through the ranch to see if we could spot the flocks ending up back at the house just in time to watch the birds come out into the fields and display prior to flying to roost at dark.  Of the 20 or more birds, at least 15 of them were tom’s.  We made the call on where to set up in the morning and settled in for the night.

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At 5am I roused the family.  We slid into some camo, painted our faces to match and headed out into the darkness to set up prior to daylight.  As dawn approached, the silhouettes of the birds became apparent and they had been raucously gobbling on the roost from the moment we left the house in the pitch black.  I stuck the decoy in the ground 25 yards into the field, began to give some soft calls and soon the birds began to bail off the roost.  Beth and the girls were set up behind me in a dark snag of junipers and I could hear them anxiously whispering, “here they come!”  As I continued to call, both girls would mimic my calls, and soon we were starting to sound like our own little flock.  I thought to myself, “hmmm, they actually sound pretty good,” as they stroked the box and slate calls in exact repetition to my mouth call.

Almost immediately a jake hit the ground off the roost and literally ran right at us.  He took the time to give us the full display complimented by a whole lot of gobbling within 15 yards of our hide.  I could hear whispering behind me as the girls wondered why I wasn’t shooting it.  A hen approached and the two eventually walked off and rejoined the larger flock.  I then took a moment to explain to the girls why we don’t shoot the young birds.

An hour into it, the birds continued to go nuts displaying, gobbling and feeding.  The kids had no idea what this was going to be like and were fully absorbed by it as they continued to call.  I did however notice that only one of them was calling after a while as one adult bird broke from the flock and began to slowly make its way towards us.  I whispered over my shoulder, “this bird is going to come in” and positioned my shotgun in anticipation.  And sure enough, he did come but instead of taking the direct route across the open field, he came down to the treeline where we were positioned and worked his way towards the hen decoy.

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He was 12 yards off my right shoulder when I started to realize he was going to walk on top of me.  Fortunately he turned around a large cottonwood and started to move into my field of view gobbling and strutting as he came in.  He cleared the tree and I popped off the safety of my gun.  I thought about letting him do his thing for a while but also gave some thought to the fact that this might be the last chance to bag one and I didn’t want to screw it up as he was in clear view of the family.  At 18 yards I pulled the trigger and the gun roared as the bird tipped over hard.  I turned to look at the family and noticed that Meghan had fallen asleep and as she bolted straight up at the blast she had a classic surprised look on her face with a crooked hat and dazed eyes.  Huh? She blurted out!  At six years old she is still young enough to fall asleep anytime, anywhere but she was with us in her dreams I am sure.

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Quick check of the watch was 7:30 am.  We watched the flock move off as we took the time to look closely at the bird observing the beard, spurs and colorful feathers while recalling the mornings events.  They were a part of the whole process and were pretty darn proud of it.  A short walk back to the house, a few photos and we were off to find Mickey Mouse pancakes at breakfast in town.  I don’t think I could have scripted it better and it was one of those memorable times that we will all remember forever.

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East Rosebud Wild and Scenic Designation

U.S. Sen. John Walsh and U.S. Congressman. Steve Daines each considered introducing legislation to protect the East Rosebud area under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. While the Friends of East Rosebud have tried for several years to get the designation, the most recent push began after a Bozeman company allowed its preliminary permit to build two small hydroelectric projects on East and West Rosebud creeks to expire.

Considered by many to be one of the most pristine and beautiful areas in Montana, the East Rosebud/Beartooth front is a stop off for many tourists and locals alike on their trek to Yellowstone Park.  A recent study conducted by FM3 Research and Public Opinion Strategies concluded that two-thirds of Montanans have recreated on Montana’s rivers in the last year, so many feel their ultimate protection is paramount.

The 245± acre Aspen Meadows Ranch located 60 miles southwest of Billings, just south of Absarokee,  lies along approximately one mile of the East Rosebud River and is accessed by a private bridge across the river, creating an exceptionally private ranch. Consisting primarily of riparian bottom lands and productive irrigated meadows with extraordinary views of the dramatic Beartooth front, it offers outstanding wildlife and first class angling.

Easy access to wilderness, multiple towns and Red Lodge – a complete year around alpine resort – combines with complete privacy for an unbeatable combination.

The East Rosebud provides excellent fishing for rainbow and brown trout. It is characterized by large rocks providing good pocket-water fishing with standard dry flies, such as an elk hair caddis or parachute adams.

The East Rosebud provides excellent fishing for rainbow and brown trout. It is characterized by large rocks providing good pocket-water fishing with standard dry flies, such as an elk hair caddis or parachute adams.

Hager Farm & Ranch Sale Named Agriculture Deal of the Year

The Land Report, the magazine of the American Landowner, has named the Hager Farm and Ranch sale the “Agriculture Deal of the Year”. The Triple Crown of auctions took place November 7-8, 2013, as 33,667 acres of Kansas farm and ranch land were put on the market by Hall and Hall Auctions. Over 500 spectators, including 128 registered bidders, participated in a two-day auction, which totaled $46,485,770 in land sales.

Highlights of the auctions included: a 160-acre Wichita County tract that brought $3,312 per acre and ranchland south of Meade that brought $1,007 per acre. Properties were purchased by 22 separate individuals, including local landowners and buyers from Louisiana, Texas, Nebraska and Colorado. A $3.6 million equipment sale happened at a later date.

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Where Would You be Without Agriculture?

National Ag Week is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of agriculture.  Agriculture provides most everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis.  The intent of Ag Week (March 23 – 30, 2014) is to connect consumers with a better understanding and appreciation of the sources of their food and fiber.

In Northwest Colorado, the Community Agriculture Alliance coordinated several events and activities focused on the value of agriculture and how agriculture matters in the Yampa Valley. Steamboat Springs based Hall and Hall partner Brian Smith, now in his fifth year serving on the Board of Directors of the Community Agriculture Alliance, was involved in several events throughout the week, including:

Ag Appreciation Breakfast – This well-attended event was a great way to show appreciation for family producers and the many ancillary businesses and agencies that support local agriculture.

Ag Estate Planning Workshop – Informative panel discussion drawing upon the strengths of attorneys and financial advisers focused on the importance of estate planning for agricultural families who have often accumulated significant value their land assets.

Historical Perspective on Local Agriculture – Diane (Hitchens) Holly, whose ranch has been owned and operated by the same family for over 100 years, hosted a spirited and humor-filled discussion about the hardships experienced by local ranch families prior to the modern conveniences we often take for granted.

For those who are not involved in agriculture on a daily basis, Ag Week is an excellent time to acknowledge the vital role that agriculture plays in the livelihoods and abundance that Americans enjoy.

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Bill Kurtis Narrates Hall and Hall Auctions Video

Hall and Hall Auctions is excited to release a new promotional video featuring the voice of celebrated television journalist Bill Kurtis that details the art of marketing farms and ranches via auction. The video features spectacular scenery and actual footage of properties selling at auction. Thanks to Aerial Imaging Productions for a job well done.

Be the first to view this inspirational video.

Hall & Hall Auctions from Aerial Imaging Productions on Vimeo.

IX Ranch – One Youngster Helps Another on a Montana Ranch

By: David Johnson

Yesterday 14-year-old Jessica Roth helped a 1st-calf heifer deliver in the OB room at the Eagle Creek headquarters on the IX Ranch in Big Sandy, Montana. They don’t call it “pulling” calves for nothing. In the photo you see they’re both giving it their all.

Two weeks from today, hundreds of 2-year-old heifers will have their first babies suckling at their sides thanks to Jessica……… and a few of her bigger ranch hand friends.

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Jessica Roth helps a 1st-calf heifer deliver in the OB room at the Eagle Creek headquarters on the IX Ranch.

The IX Ranch is located south-east of Big Sandy in the mixed-grass prairie of north central Montana. The ranch extends through the southern edge of the Bear Paw mountain range and on east towards the Missouri River. It encompasses a wide variety of terrain from rolling hills and willow creek bottoms to jagged river breaks and mountains.