A Love of all Things Western and Wild

By: Tyler Jacobs

You’re not supposed to write about funerals in a blog post. However, it was last month that we buried my uncle “Bo” and the brief eulogy, familiar faces, and the lack of a cell phone distracting me offered some true revelation and clarity regarding my ever-present attraction, even love, for all things western and wild. Cattle, cowboying, hunting, fishing, neighboring, and even life in a Texas deer camp, all came from initial experiences shared with me by “Bo.”

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Tyler Jacobs and a gator.

Being raised in East Texas, my grandparents ranched along several miles of the San Jacinto River bottoms, and the upland mixed timber where we wintered the cows. My first substantial memory of Bo (and always accompanied by my aunt Holly), was that of being invited along with my cousins to bring our horses and camp along the river for two weeks during the early part of summer. I was seven or eight years old. Campfires, tarpaulins stretched between cattle trailers, horses tied everywhere, numerous cousins and friends, all color my memories, regardless of how accurate they are.

The most vivid memory was baiting droplines in the river.   I can see us crisscrossing the river and sandbars, working our way upstream to check each of them. Bo walks to within eyesight of each dropline tied to a limb and can instantly decipher what may or may not be on the hook.  All the kids stood in awe when Bo tells us to hold the small stringer of channel cats, and he takes his shirt off, knowing there’s something big on the line. Slowly approaching the dropline, he suddenly disappears below the water line as his feet fail to find footing below him.   After an eternally long time (for a 7-year-old to watch), Bo re-emerges with a 25-pound blue catfish above his head, gripping it only through its gills with one hand.  Best catfish I have ever had, filleted, fried and finished by all of us kids in one night. That was the wildest thing I had ever seen.

I think I was twelve and was asked to come help pen cattle, and at that time we were running Simmental bulls on our Brahman-cross cows. Those bulls did not like the summer heat, and sure did not appreciate getting bothered with kerr dogs. We had most of the cows and calves penned, and went back to grab everything that had slipped off into the timber and brush in the river bottom. The ranch shared a three or four acre natural lake near the southern boundary, and the long-haired Simmental bull decided to find relief from both the heat and the kerr dogs by wading into the water.

Tyler Jacobs and his daughter.

Tyler doing what daddies do.

Bo and I, and two or three others, sat horseback on the bank to devise a plan, dogs barking as the bull swam away from us, not knowing there were always two or three alligators on the far bank. It did not take long for the alligators to awake from their slumber among all the commotion to notice that stubborn bull swimming right towards them. Bo said, “Well, this will be worth watching,” and soon thereafter a 2,000-pound bull met three alligators nose-to-nose. The immediate and direct reversal of the bull resulted in the alligators on his tail, and shortly thereafter on dry land surrounded by cow dogs. Bo remarked, “Never expected those ‘gaters to be the best cow dogs we ever had!” That was the wildest thing I had ever seen.

A few years later, we were penning cows and had some friends there helping us, one of which was “Bubba.” I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but we were casually riding without dogs among the palmettos and oak trees, when Bo hollered “Pig, pig! Somebody rope it!” Bubba was riding a three-year-old colt, but as the pig crossed his line of sight, he could not resist the urge to shake out a loop. Bubba roped that pig, but a dead, standing tree quickly came between his horse and the pig on the end of the rope, immediately reversing the pig’s trajectory towards Bubba’s three-year-old colt.  Bubba was tied on hard and fast, the colt thoroughly rejected the idea of the pig being under his legs, and the entire event was anchored to a dead tree. That was the wildest thing I had ever seen.

There are so many stories, many of which were shared by eulogy or fellowship afterwards – of elk hunting in New Mexico, the numerous accounts of helping neighbors when they were in a tragic bind, calving heifers, building deer camps, training mules, and endless other accounts. It is strange that it took a funeral for a man in his mid-40s (myself) to identify the primary genesis of my love of all things western and wild. You know what they say, “funerals are for the living!”

Tyler's daughter roping a cow.

Tyler’s daughter Molly.

Billionaire Businessmen Buying Up Rocky Mountain Ranches

By: Jim Taylor

The underlying theme to last Friday’s Wall Street Journal story entitled “The Cowboy Moguls” is that ranchland is recognized as an investment class asset by many wealthy individuals and the fact that it is fun to own has not gone unnoticed. A part of the untold story is that Hall and Hall represented one or both sides of three of the four “biggest ranch deals” mentioned in the article and they have been quietly involved to one extent or another in the majority of major ranch sales over the last 25 years. Of course it goes almost without saying that the other untold part of the story is that, for us, this is not news.

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We have recommended ranchland and farmland as an investment class asset since the 1970s. We began working with now deceased billionaire Earl Holding of Sinclair Oil and Sun Valley in 1983 to put together his ranching empire, which is still carried on by his family. He was followed by Lee Hirsch, founder of U.S. Surgical Supply which held the patent for the surgical staple, and who we represented in building and subsequently disbanding a cattle empire that quickly grew to be one of the 20 largest cattle operations in the U.S. Ted Turner followed in the 1990s and we helped him accumulate what was once the largest private land holding in the U.S. – now second largest. New entries to the market like the Wilks brothers bought their first 175,000 acres in Montana through Hall and Hall and continue to employ us to assist them in the management of their growing ranching empire.

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This is a trend that continues with the recent Wall Street Journal recognition of some of the new players in what has been going on quietly for a long time. We are honored and proud to be a part of the story. If one looks at the fabled castles and estates in Europe and the United Kingdom that have been passed down within families for centuries, it is easy to understand what is going on here. We are not sure what the thoroughly overused term “legacy ranch” means but these individuals are undeniably building legacies for their families. [see full WSJ story]

Estancia Los Remolinos

Ranches for Sale in Argentina

Ranches for Sale in Argentina: Estancia Los Remolinos – Neuquen Province – $16,700,000 Situated 65 miles north of the community of Junín de los Andes, Estancia Los Remolinos is a classic Patagonian estancia comprising 70,000± deeded acres and offering all of the features that today’s ranch buyer finds desirable – gorgeous scenery, seclusion, outstanding hunting and fishing, excellent improvements and ease of access. The rolling highlands, meadows, grasslands, rock outcroppings and canyons on the ranch are a haven for wildlife, including a significant population of free ranging red deer, while the Aluminé River and Catan Lil River flow along the boundaries of the estancia for a combined total of over 20 miles offering unlimited trout fishing opportunities. The ranch features a full set of residential and agricultural improvements, including a superbly constructed 2-bedroom owner’s residence, a 2-bedroom guesthouse plus ranch office, manager’s home, staff quarters, and a 2-bedroom fishing cabin on the banks of the Aluminé. Los Remolinos supports up to 2,500 Hereford cows on a year-round basis and is well-known throughout the region for its excellent livestock management program. This Argentina ranch property is being offered turn-key along with 2,000 head of cattle.

View More Photos, Maps, and Listing Details – Estancia Los Remolinos


Estancia Argentina Ranch Properties

Russian Beef Industry

In late March, Wes Oja of Hall and Hall traveled to Russia to consult on the development of a Russian domestic beef industry. Below is a condensed version of his summary.

Based on the overall size of Russia, one would think that they could be self-sufficient in beef production. However, the current Russian beef cow herd is estimated at only 500,000 head while the US beef cow herd is near 95 million head. This relatively small herd size, coupled with vast unused land resources and ample labor, have the Russian government and businesspeople committed to and gearing up for significant expansion of their beef industry.

As the Russian standard of living improves, their demand for beef will grow. This has caused the government to initiate public/private arrangements that allow for beef development on a large scale. The players in this budding industry aren’t “Mom and Pop” operators with a homestead and a job in town; they are Russia’s largest meat companies, leading industrialists and businesspeople. They appear to have financing, government connections and initiative. The smallest operational plan we reviewed was 2,000 cows while the largest one encompassed owning 100,000 mother cows, feedlots and a packing plant. Generally, the plans aim at a fully integrated system focusing on high quality meat production comparable to Certified Angus Beef in America. [Read more...]

Update From Russia

Our Hall and Hall Montana cowboy, Ranch Management consultant Wes Oja, reported from Russia today, “We spent the first two days in and around St Petersburg. There are still several feet of snow on the level. (Not like the mostly bare soil out my window at 5,000 feet in Bozeman, Montana) All of the cattle in this area are held in confinement all winter. The pens are generally a bit on the small side with shelter via converted concrete hog barns. Feed consists of grass hay – predominantly Timothy and Orchard Grass. The hay is mixed with an Oat/Pea haylage. Some of the cattle also get some ground wheat in the ration. Some calves are born in September/October and some in January/February. I can’t understand why they don’t wait to calve until green grass. Today we are going to Voronezh in the Black Soil region of southern Russia.


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Previous Posts: On Assignment in Russia

On Assignment in Russia

Wes Oja at the N Bar Ranch

Montana cowboy Wes Oja leaves home for Russia today. Oja, a Hall and Hall’s Ranch Management Consultant, is on assignment with a contingent of Montana cattlemen to help Russian cattlemen establish a beef cattle finishing and processing business. Today, he’s flying from Billings through New York and then onto the red-eye for Moscow (and we’re not talking Moscow, Idaho….wonder if Wes knows that?) Stay tuned for more reports.
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