Montana Marias River Ranch
While cities deal with overcrowding and face the struggle of keeping people isolated and apart, central Montana still has land available that offers rugged, untouched wild land where one can venture for hours without coming upon another person. A social distancer’s dream, this ranch lets you breathe in your own air on over 4,000+ deeded acres and an additional 4,825 leased acres. That is not to mention the deep traverse canyons that cut through the land and meet the rolling plains, comprising the unique and distinguished Rocky Mountain Front. Twenty-five miles from Conrad, the property spans in the shadows of five mountain ranges—Sweet Grass Hills, Rocky Mountain Front, Bear Paw Mountains, Highwood Mountains, and Belt Mountains. This distinct area gives you the opportunity to adventure all different kinds of land: the prairie, mountains, and corridors of the Marias River. It comes with a VIP pass to outstanding fishing, hunting, and recreating, all at your fingertips. In addition, the habitat and perfectly placed Marias River nourishes the land and vegetation making it excellent grazing land for cattle. In fact, 10 water tanks have been strategically placed across the property allowing hydration for the cattle without having to journey too far. The daily weight gain for cattle is incomparable and unsurpassed as they munch on nutrient packed native grasses that flourish along the lush riparian zones along the water’s edge. There are BLM, BOR, and state leases in place presently that offer an additional 4,825 acres of land that will transfer to the owner. This property embraces all habitats of Montana, wildlife, endless recreational opportunities, is rich with history, and is available during a time in which people only believe they can dream of such places still existing. Stake your claim; experience the wild and live the dream!
Montana’s economy is bolstered by agriculture. Annually, agriculture contributes more than 2.4 billion dollars to the state. Of that colossal number, livestock contributes almost half. The wide-open plains and grazing land of Montana supports 2.6 million beef cattle and 18,000 dairy cows. To put that into perspective, that is ultimately 3 head of cattle for each human in the state! It’s no wonder that Montana is ranked 6th for the total number of beef cattle and is considered the world’s hub for seedstock, registered cattle used for breeding. In addition to beef and milk, cattle also provide important by-products such as leather, soap, cosmetics, and buttons. The cow-calf operation is popular among ranchers where a herd of cattle is kept for breeding and producing calves. Because of a cow’s digestive system, they can digest plant material and thus thrive on grasses and other vegetation.
Hidden away like a prize just east of Shelby, Montana lies a versatile recreational area that provides a place to make golden memories and enjoy Montana scenery and leisure. Tiber Dam-Lake Elwell boasts year-round angling for Walleye, Northern and Sauger Pike, native Trout, Ling, Perch and others. Try out bow fishing for carp that frequently exceed 20 pounds! Along with many campground and picnicking areas, there are over 178 miles of shoreline to appease swimmers and boaters alike. Five well-maintained boat ramps make it convenient and easy to get your boat in the water. Take in the spectacular windblown sandstone formations and one of the largest earthen dikes in the world over three miles long! Relish in the surrounding area’s excellent hunting for Mule and White-Tailed deer, antelope, upland game birds, waterfowl, and varmints. Birdwatching is a popular activity as well. Experience some of Montana’s best at the Tiber Dam-Lake Elwell marina!
This area is rich with history as it still portrays the land as it was when settlers first roamed the frontier. The event known as the Baker Massacre or Marias Massacre took place 150 years ago. It is one of Montana’s most tragic historical events as Major Baker led his US Army troops into the sleeping camp of Piikuni Chief Heavy Runner and attacked killing almost 200 people. Although it is not a tale of joy, it depicts a distant memory of past days in its current state of agricultural prosperity.
Hunting and Fishing
This portion of Montana, specifically the Rocky Mountain Front, has a greater diversity of fish and wildlife than any other state in the US. With protection from the altering contours of the land and ample food from the surrounding farm fields, wildlife and birds alike flourish making this area a coveted destination during the hunting and fishing seasons. The area provides year-long habitat for the grizzly bear, black bear, elk, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, and antelope. In addition, other furbearers such as beaver, mink, muskrat, otter, weasel, badger, coyote, lynx, bobcat, mountain lion, and wolf can all be found within a 100-mile radius. White-tail and mule deer maintain a healthy population here and a 208” trophy mule deer has been harvested on this land! Mule deer are often open-country deer offering those with farm ground or acres such as these a treasure trove of delicious tasting, large, beautiful bucks. Mule deer are not as shy as whitetails and are content with little cover or sparse brush. They have the distinctive large ears that stick out like a big V against a hillside. However, these big bucks, ones with a 30 inch inside antler spread, are quite challenging to track down. They prefer the rugged areas such as badlands and breaks. Glorious long walks through fields and up and down draws can reward you with a big mule deer buck. The open country can also provide the added challenge of bagging the swift antelope. These speed goats are all over the country-side so the challenge is waiting for your acceptance. The property is located in hunting district 400 and FWP Region 4. The riparian vegetation of deciduous woodlands dominated by towering cottonwoods that line the Marias River banks and the undergrowth consisting of willows, rose, and buffalo berry make for fine nesting locations and hiding places for game and upland birds. Many hunters travel to this area in the fall to harvest swans, goose, and duck. Field and Stream Magazine recognizes the Tiber Reservoir as a “Reservoir Duck Hotspot!” There are also plenty of pheasants, Hungarian Partridge, Rough Grouse, Blue Grouse, and Spruce Grouse.
The Marias River gently meanders for more than 60 miles through the rolling prairie before it spills into Lake Elwell. It is marked by the soft shale and sandstone bluffs that flank the river. Both coldwater and warmwater species can be found here, but it is primarily a warmwater fishery near Tiber Reservoir. Walleye is the most abundant game fish, and every summer, there is a fishing tournament to declare the best fisherman. Walleye use the upper portion of the Marias for spawning thus the population remains in the river throughout the summer. Cold-water game fish such as Rainbow Trout and mountain whitefish inhabit this portion of the Marias but are lower in numbers. Northern pike, yellow perch, and burbot are other fish species that anglers seek. The non-game fish that inhabit these waters include common carp, Flathead chub, lake chub, emerald shiner, fathead minnow, longnose dace, and Rocky Mountain sculpin.
Anglers find fishing opportunities surrounding the area of Shelby and can expect to reel in Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Arctic Grayling and Kokanee Salmon. Warm water species include Shovelnose Sturgeon, Paddlefish, Northern Pike, Walleye, Channel Catfish, Burbot, Perch and Sauger. The Marias River offers beautiful scenery and warm waters in addition to Lake Francis and Tiber Reservoir.
Sweet Grass Hills
Located in north-central Montana along the Canadian border, the Sweet Grass Hills are an isolated mountain range that invite hiking and wildlife viewing of deer, antelope, elk, fox, golden eagles and grouse! The Sweet Grass Hills are comprised of three buttes: the West Butte, Middle Butte and East Butte. Hardly hills, these towering peaks reach 3,000’ in elevation! The Hills are a result of igneous activity that occurred about 50 million years ago. Take the Sweet Grass Hills Backcountry Drive for 66 miles of remote and unique scenery.