Vast beyond imagination, farther than the eye can see, the Great Western Ranch stretches across the flat-topped mesas and sandstone bluffs, the prairie grasses and red arroyos of Western New Mexico. For 53 miles east to west and 26 miles north to south, the Great Western encompasses 176,805± deeded acres and 115,974± leased acres of state and federal land for a total of 292,779± acres under its control. Altogether, the Great Western Ranch spans 457 square miles or an area more than one-third the size of Rhode Island.
Located about 80 miles south of Grants, New Mexico, the Great Western is a true, four-season ranch with superior big game hunting and a rich history. The expansive park-like rangelands, with abundant native grasses and a moderate climate, support cow-calf and yearling cattle operations. Extensive livestock water resources developed on the property include 56 wells, most of which are solar powered, and seasonal ponds, lakes and dirt tanks. Home to a large resident elk herd, as well as plentiful mule deer and pronghorn antelope, the Great Western supports a revenue-generating hunting operation known for its trophy-sized bull elk. The diverse terrain offers a variety of hunting experiences from ruggedly adventurous to hunts for all ages and experience levels. A newly refurbished hunting lodge with a stone fireplace, maintenance shop, steel barns, utility buildings and staff housing support ranching and hunting operations.
There is history here too, from the Anasazis and Spanish explorers to the early homesteaders and the ranchers of today. On the ranch are historical and archaeological sites, including Anasazi petroglyphs, ruins, and the tumbled-down stone homes and corrals of New Mexico’s earliest homesteaders.
One of the largest single landholdings available in the United States, the Great Western Ranch presents a rare opportunity to acquire an important part of the American West.
The main entrance to the Great Western ranch headquarters is located on New Mexico Highway 117 about 57 miles south of Exit 89 on U.S. Interstate 40. The closest town, Quemado, (pop. 250), is 34 miles from ranch headquarters via U.S. Highway 60 but only 4 miles from its southern boundary. Springerville, AZ, (pop. 1,971) with a hospital and shopping, is 66 miles from ranch headquarters. Grants, NM, (pop. 9,182), is 80 miles from the ranch, while Albuquerque is only 150 miles from the ranch entrance, a driving time of two-and-a-half-hours.
The ranch has an airstrip, which though currently unused, can be restored to accommodate small planes. The Grants-Milan Municipal Airport near Grants, NM, has a 7,100-foot runway. Two nearby Arizona airports, the St. Johns Industrial Airpark and Springerville Municipal Airport are for public use, jet capable general aviation facilities with runways of 5,300 and 8,400 feet respectively. The Quemado Airport is an unattended, private-use facility. Albuquerque International Sunport, about 150 miles from the ranch, has direct flights daily to regional hubs, including Dallas, Chicago and Denver.
Spaceport America, 25 miles from Truth or Consequences, is an example of the significant economic investment currently occurring in New Mexico.
Total Acres: 292,779±
Deeded: 176,805± Acres
BLM Grazing Permits: 12,395± Acres
New Mexico State Leases: 103,579± Acres
Total: 292,779± Acres
Annual grazing leases on state lands are quite reasonable at $56,916 for 103,579 acres for 2013. BLM grazing permits provide for 2,489 aums with annual fees less than $1.40/aum for the last several years.
What man has built here is what is needed to run an honest, working ranch. Money has been spent on what matters: strong fences, sturdy gates, electric and solar-powered wells, reliable cattle drinkers and irrigation pivots, steel barns and workshops, a comfortable hunting lodge and solid, well-kept houses for people who work on the ranch. It has been this way since the beginning, since Frank A. Hubbell, Sr., drilled water well after water well, since his family operated a trading post and commissary for the cowboys, since the first names were carved on Cowboy Rock.
Residences and Guest Lodging
The historic adobe guest lodge has been fully refurbished and features a comfortable great room with a stone fireplace, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths, full kitchen with large dining area, and utility room. Sleeps up to 26 hunters with room for four hunting guides in an adjacent building.
Ranch Manager’s House
This modular home with a stucco exterior and metal roof offers a panoramic view of the ranch. Completed in 2012, the home has 2,100 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, living room, kitchen, den, office, landline telephone and satellite dish for Internet.
Cattle Foreman’s House
This 1960s-era home of cinderblock construction has been fully renovated with a new stucco exterior and steel roof. The house features a large living room, kitchen/dining combination, 2 beds and 1 bath in 1,638 square feet.
This 1950s-era, stick-built house with frame construction, steel pro panel roof and new stucco exterior has 1,900 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, living room, kitchen, dining room, laundry/mud room and cellar.
Additional residences include a single-wide modular home and a double-wide modular home, both of which have been refurbished with stucco exteriors and metal roofs.
A concrete and adobe structure, the maintenance shop is fully equipped to service ranch equipment and vehicles. The building has new electric wiring and doors.
There are two metal barns, one at the headquarters and one off NM Highway 36 near the western pastures where it is used for hay and feed storage. The ranch also has a restored historic stone barn.
Shipping pens, scales
The ranch has five state certified shipping scales for weighing cattle and several shipping pens. Two shipping pens—one at the headquarters and one on NM Highway 117 at the Reyes pasture—are used most frequently.
West-Central New Mexico has a predominantly semiarid climate, though with summer showers the air swells with moisture. Precipitation averages 12 to 20 inches a year, with most of that falling between July and September. Summer rains fill the arroyos and plump the playa lakes to attract herons and migrating cranes. Prairie grasses grow tall and thick in the late summer as the coreopsis, sunflowers, and lacy purple globes of the Rocky Mountain Bee Plant erupt in a riot of color to rival the finest alpine fields.
Spring comes early, with stout grasses up by mid-March in the southeastern pastures. Spring and early summer are drier, as is late fall. Winter snows average about 22 inches annually in this area, with accumulations rarely more than a few inches.
With most of the ranch lying between 6,560 and 7,422 feet above sea level, summer temperatures are milder than the highs of eastern New Mexico. Daytime highs average between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit with nighttime lows in the 50s. Winters are warmer than those of the high country of northern New Mexico with average high temperatures in the 30s and 40s and average lows in the teens and 20s. The average frost-free season is 115 to 130 days with a growing season that reliably runs from May 30 to September 20.
“What makes the Great Western so good is the water. They have a great water system—second to none.”
– Paul Carrica, New Mexico Farm Credit
Good ground water in the West is worth more than gold to a rancher and the Great Western has lots of it. Every pasture on the ranch is served by reliable well water. These are supplemented by numerous natural ponds and reservoirs during certain times of the year. The extensive water resources greatly enhance the wildlife resources of the ranch.
Frank Hubbell’s early wells, plus dozens more, give the Great Western an extensive water infrastructure deemed second to none with five artesian wells, 51 drilled and producing wells, most supported by electric and solar power and 80+ cattle drinkers and dirt tanks. The majority of the wells pump from a depth of 200 to 400 feet.
A two-pivot system facilitates irrigation on 119 acres, which are usually sown in alfalfa. The large pivot covers 90 acres while the small pivot waters 29 acres. Both pivots are fed by artesian wells. The well that supports the larger pivot also has a pump. An unassisted artesian well supplies water to the 29-acre pivot. Current ownership believes additional water resources can be developed.
High on a bluff amid the tumbled down boulders, there are tracks, rounded prints from a large cat. Behind a scatter of rocks, protected on three sides, are the whitened bones of a kill, a rabbit, perhaps. There is scat, too. She has been here within the last day. This is one of her places.
A pronghorn, startled, bolts across the range, a flash of tan and white in the early morning sun. Of course there are hawks, red tails and kestrels, too many to count, and owls, barn owls, pygmy owls, and in the late summer when the rains have filled the playa lakes, there are herons and cranes. To be still in the early morning and to watch is to see the lizards in the rocks and the deer, almost hidden in a thicket of juniper. These are large, healthy mule deer, many thousands of generations descended from the animals the Anasazis copied onto the stone.
And then there are the elk, massive creatures with broad shoulders and muscular flanks, among the largest mammals still to roam North America. The bugling and the antler wrestling are primal and violent and awesome. By fall, with their antlers magnificently long again, the bulls are wily and wise, not easy prey in the least, even though there are throughout the 457 square miles so many of them, in herds on the range, and alone in the trees. There is good reason they grow so large here.
Tom McReynolds of Black Mountain Outfitters, which has the contract for the 2013 hunting season, is very clear about the quality of the big game on the Great Western ranch. “This place,” he says, “has the potential to be the best hunting ranch in the world for these species. The trophy quality is extremely high.”
It is no idle boast. The largest elk killed on the ranch measured 427 inches on the Boone and Crockett Club scoring system and set the state archery record for 2004. The average sized elk killed on guided hunts on the ranch is 340 to 350 inches—a very high score for animals from private ranches in New Mexico. Antelope score an average of 83 Boone and Crockett book points with many of trophy size. Genetically strong stock, an abundance of mature animals and a habitat that encourages the elk to breed, all contribute to the high scores.
The ranch is a rut area for the elk who come to its large, wide-open rangeland to display and fight during the mating season. Perennially available water from the ranch’s extensive water system supports the wildlife, as well the cattle. Plentiful forbs, grass and water create a superior habitat for wildlife.
The ranch has a large resident elk herd, estimated variously by hunting guides and the owners at between 1,500 and 2,000 animals. The Great Western also attracts large numbers of seasonally migratory elk, as the animals move southward from the higher elevations of the Acoma, Zuni and neighboring Navajo reservations and northward into the ranch from the mountainous regions around Quemado, in search of winter grasses and water.
"The Great Western has the Big Three so critical to a sustainable and healthy wildlife habitat: a mix of open and covered land, good grasses and plenty of water."
The diverse terrain—thick, flat rangeland, rimrocks and mesas and piney areas—creates an exciting hunting ground with degrees of difficulty that range from easy to challenging. With good road access, some hunting areas on the ranch are even handicap-accessible. Elk hunting is primarily spot and stalk while the deer and pronghorn are typically sited at a distance through binoculars and pursued. There also is a Merriam’s wild turkey habitat in the northern part of the ranch, which though currently not hunted, has the potential to be developed.
The Great Western is located in the New Mexico Game Management Unit 12. Unit 12 is not designated as a core occupied elk range (COER), which permits more flexibility for game management and allows landowners to negotiate the number of tags rather than receive a pre-determined allotment. The New Mexico Department of Fish and Game reports that hunters harvested 244 elk bulls and 86 cows in all of GMU 12 in 2012. GMU 12 is designated as a core occupied antelope range (COAR).
For 2013, the ranch has more than 130 hunting tags for elk, including 40 rifle tags for bull elk, 12 archery tags for either sex and 80 tags for cow elk. Mule deer tags are available over the counter and are easy to obtain. The ranch has 6 pronghorn antelope tags. Black bear tags are also available over the counter and mountain lion can be hunted year round.
In New Mexico, gun licenses are valid for five days per season, October 1 to December 31. Bow tags are valid from Sept. 1-22. The ranch can easily accommodate 10 hunters at a time per each designated 5-day period. Black Mountain Outfitters typically manages 30 to 40 gun hunters and 12 bow hunters per season on the Great Western.
- 130 + Hunting tags for 2013
- Record 427 bull from property
- Estimated 1,500-2,000 head resident elk
Hunting leases provide the opportunity to create significant revenue for the ranch owner.
The sky is limitless, the air is crisp and clean, the sun is bright and the night sparkles with billions of stars that no city dweller will ever see. Georgia O’Keefe clouds billow pink against the distant mesas in the setting sun, and summer mornings dawn sweet and cool. Changeable, occasionally powerful, often withholding, but gentle more often than not, the sky rules the land. The people who developed the Great Western Ranch over the course of a century—who dug deep wells and preserved hardy native grasses--understood this.
The night sky of the Anasazi is the night sky of today over the Great Western. Almost three hours from the big city lights of Albuquerque and more than 20 miles as the crow flies from tiny Quemado, there is no light pollution to cloud the stars.
This is the land of the Anasazi and the Spanish conquistadors, of homesteaders and sheepherders, of speculators and ranchers, a place of secrets and mysteries where petroglyphs, pottery shards and stone ruins whisper the stories of people long gone.
The Ancient Ones
First there were hunters, more than 10,000 years ago, stalking bison, deer and antelope across the range. Then there were farmers, growing corn on the Colorado Plateau some 3,000 years before Columbus set foot on North America. After that came the Ancient Pueblo Peoples who hunted and farmed, built homes into the cliff sides, painted pottery with geometric designs, chipped projectile points and carved mystical patterns and creatures into the rock. And then, sometime around 1350 A.D., these Ancestral Puebloans packed up and left, possibly for lands to the north, possibly for lands to the south. No one knows why they went—perhaps famine, drought, war, religion or all of the above. All that is certain is that when they went, they left behind enduring and intriguing reminders of their lives upon this earth.
Hundreds of Native American archaeological sites have been located on ranches in the area—incontrovertible evidence of a flourishing civilization. These sites include building foundations, stone dwellings, petroglyphs, projectile points, flint chips and thousands of pottery shards with a wide array of classic black-on-white and brownware patterns. Most of the relics likely date from the Puebloan Period (500-1350 A.D.), though archaeologists have found projectile points from the PaleoIndian Period (9500 to 6000 B.C.) and the Archaic Period (5500 B.C. to 400 A.D.) in Catron County. The people living in the area of the Great Western Ranch were primarily the Anasazi, known by the Hopi as the Ancestral Puebloans. South of the Great Western, archeologists have found evidence that the Mogollon, who primarily lived below the Mogollon Rim, also migrated up into Catron County.
Archeologists have excavated and documented numerous sites on the Great Western over the years. In 2004, state archaeologists commissioned to survey a proposed well site found two Anasazi home sites dating from 1000 to 1150 A.D. On one magnificently large site elsewhere on the ranch, there are the ruins of a very large, multi-storied, many-roomed structure, possibly a ceremonial center. Homesteaders, arriving six centuries after the Ancestral Puebloans abandoned the region, found a bonanza of building materials in the ancient ruins, which they dismantled for the stones to build their own rock houses.
The petroglyphs, fortunately, have survived far better—and in some cases astoundingly well. Carved into sandstone cliffs and on boulders coated with a black desert patina are geometric forms, big-toed feet, deer tracks, hunters, lizards and snakes and mystical creatures. While most of the rock art is believed to be Anasazi, dating from between 1000 A.D. to 1250 A.D. there are later additions, including initials, crosses, dates and even a deftly drawn horse with a bridle.
Spanish conquistadors and explorers traversed West-Central New Mexico for more than two centuries. Several expeditions, including famous ones, traveled near the lands that are today the Great Western, and at least three 17th and 18th Century expedition groups traveled directly across the ranchlands. Francisco Vazquez de Coronado traveled some miles to the west and north of the Great Western from Compostela to Zuni in 1542 in his quest for the Seven Golden Cities of Cibola. Explorer Don Juan de Oñate, who slaughtered the Acoma and became the first Spanish colonial governor of New Mexico, spent years crisscrossing the region, stopping in 1605 to carve his initials into the rock at El Morro, not far north of the ranch. The De Vargas expedition between El Morro and Socorro in 1692 crossed the lands of the Great Western, as did military expeditions from Zuni to the Gila River in the 1740s.
Control of Nuevo Mexico passed first from Spain to Mexico in 1821 and then to the United States in 1848. The region remained largely unsettled until the late 1880s, as Apache raids (a bane of the Zuni, too) and battles between the Navajo and U.S. troops, discouraged Anglo and Hispanic homesteading. It wasn't until Apache Chief Geronimo surrendered in 1885, effectively ending the Apache raids, that homesteading truly began. Hispanic sheepherders were among the first to settle along the Nations Draw—and some of them, too, carved their initials upon the rocks.
The Era of the Open Range
The modern story of the Great Western begins in 1902 when Frank A. Hubbell, Sr., bought the Cerro Prieto Ranch and gained control of large tracts of leased government land. Hubbell had been buying land in Catron County for sheep ranching since 1886-including the Y-Ranch and land around the Zuni Salt Lake. The deeded acreage and leases of the Cerro Prieto were important for grazing but even more so for the water beneath the land. Hubbell drilled wells and lots of them. Unlike some major landowners, Hubbell shared his water with homesteaders, gaining their respect and trust in the process, according to historic accounts.
Cattle and sheep ranching boomed during World War I with the demand for beef to feed the troops, and ranchers borrowed heavily from the War Finance Office to build their stock. After the war, when the bottom fell out of the livestock market, large and small ranchers were left with obligations they couldn’t repay. When the area’s two largest landholders—the Nations Land and Cattle Corp. and sheep rancher David O. Garcia—were forced to sell out, Hubbell was ready. He bought the Nations land at auction in 1926 and the Garcia property the next year. Hubbell’s holdings expanded enormously almost overnight. By 1929 when Frank Hubbell Sr. died, the Hubbell Ranch was one of the largest in New Mexico.
Throughout the 1930s, farmers, uprooted by the Dust Bowl in Texas and Oklahoma, homesteaded in and around the Nations Draw on 160-acre plots. They aimed to raise corn and pinto beans but could not grow enough of the crops on the small plots to succeed. When the tiny farms failed, the Hubbell family bought the homesteaded land near its ranch. By the beginning of World War II, most of the homesteaders had abandoned their modest stone dwellings, much as the Anasazi did almost 700 years earlier.
The Frank A. Hubbell Company continued to buy and lease land through the 1940s and 1950s to raise sheep, even as most of the area ranchers converted their stock to cattle. Ranch headquarters, with a commissary and taco stand, provided necessities, including saddles and tack, for area families and their hired hands. In the 1960s, the Hubbell Ranch finally made the full switch to a cattle operation and continued to produce beef until 1986 when they sold the ranch to the Salt River Project of Arizona. The Salt River Project, which had acquired the Fence Lake Coal Lease north of Quemado in the 1970s with plans to mine and transport coal to its power plants in Arizona, plotted a transportation corridor through the Hubbell Ranch along the Nations Draw. Between 1984 and 2003, state archeologists surveyed the Salt River Project area to locate and identify historically significant sites, dating from the PaleoIndian Period through the 20th Century. A number of these sites were on the Hubbell Ranch. Ultimately, presented with more attractive sources of coal and faced with opposition from the Zuni Nation, which feared damage to its sacred Zuni Salt Lake, the Salt River Project abandoned the effort.
The current owner bought the Hubbell Ranch from the Salt River Project in 2006. Since then, ownership has focused on stewardship of the land, improvement of the native grasses and management of the wildlife. Significant investments in the water infrastructure and improvements to the habitat have been made over the last few years.
New Mexico real estate taxes are very reasonable. Real estate taxes for 2013 are estimated to be $16,140.
All of the owners’ mineral rights related to the ranch will be conveyed to the extent that the owner has claim through ownership or lease.
The ranch is located south of the San Juan Basin, which is known for large deposits of natural gas, coal and uranium. On the ranch itself, there are deposits of coal and uranium. There is also a potentially sizeable underground reservoir of carbon dioxide gas that extends from the western end of the ranch beyond Springerville, AZ.
West-Central New Mexico offers a wealth of opportunities to explore ancient Native American cultures and awe-inspiring natural formations.
El Morro National Monument
For centuries, the great sandstone promontory of El Morro National Monument was a waypoint for travelers along an ancient east-west trail across the Southwest. Passers-by who stopped to drink and refresh their animals in the pool at its base carved upon the rock walls—ancient rock artists, Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate in 1605, Francisco Manuel de Silva Nieto in 1629, among them. The Spaniards called the place El Morro or The Headland. To the Zunis, it is A’ts’ina or the “place of writings on the rock”—a name not so different from the English Inscription Rock. There are also ruins of a massive 850-room pueblo occupied by perhaps as many as 1,500 people between 1275 and 1350 A.D.
El Malpais National Monument & El Malpais National Conservation Area
To the Spaniards, the barren and dramatic lava fields with their razor-sharp rocks were a place to avoid, and they called it El Malpais or the badlands. Today, El Malpais National Monument is considered one of the most significant volcanic areas in the United States with its lava flows, cinder cones and tube caves. Free permits are available to visit designated caves. The entrance to the national park is located on NM Highway 117, nine miles south of Exit 89 on Interstate I-40. The federal Bureau of Land Management oversees El Malpais National Conservation Area, which is adjacent to the national park.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
One of the finer examples of Ancestral Puebloan architecture, the massive pueblos at Chaco Canyon were built and occupied between 850 and 1250 A.D. By the middle of the 11th Century, Chaco had become the center of cultural life for the early inhabitants of the San Juan Basin. Dozens of roads connected the great houses of Chaco Canyon to more than 150 other pueblos throughout the region.
Petroglyph National Monument
One of the largest petroglyphs sites in North America, this national park protects and conserves rock art produced by Native Americans and Spanish settlers between 400 and 700 years ago. Petroglyph viewing trails lead visitors through the canyons of the park.
Zuni Salt Lake
Catron County, NM
Located less than a mile from the southern boundary of the Great Western Ranch, the Zuni Salt Lake is a sacred place to the Zuni people as the home of the Salt Mother. For centuries, Ancestral Puebloans and modern Zuni, Acoma and Hopi have made pilgrimages to the lake to harvest salt for cooking and religious ceremonies. A rare high desert lake, the Zuni Salt Lake is extremely shallow in the wet season and evaporates almost completely during the dry season to form salt flats.
Sunrise Park Resort
Located in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, the Sunrise Park Resort ski area has three mountains with 65 runs, as well as cross-country ski trails, sledding and tubing areas. Summer activities include hiking, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding and camping.
Coyote Del Malpais Golf Course
Designed by William Howard Neff, the Coyote Del Malpais Golf Course has an 18-hole course with narrow fairways and 16 lanes. The public golf course sits at the base of the beautiful Horace Mesa.
Lyman Lake State Park
St. Johns, AZ
A 1,500-acre reservoir created by damming the Colorado River, Lyman Lake offers boating, fishing, water skiing and endless recreational opportunities. The state park encompasses the shoreline and includes hiking trails, petroglyphs and the ruins of an Ancestral Puebloan village occupied between 1325 and 1390 A.D.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park
Elephant Butte, NM
The largest and most popular lake in New Mexico provides a setting for every imaginable water sport, with sandy beaches, quiet coves, full-service marinas, and open water for houseboats and cabin cruisers. Camping, fishing, and hiking make Elephant Butte Lake State Park a year-round destination.
Elephant Butte, NM
Spaceport America is the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport, designed to enable affordable, efficient and effective space access and unlock the potential of space for everyone.
Additional Online Resources: Click on link below for additional information.
Grants Chamber of Commerce
Grants- Milan Municipal Airport
City of Albuquerque
Santa Fe, NM
Ski in New Mexico
New Mexico Wildlife
El Malpais National Park
El Malpais National Conservation Area
New Mexico Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Springerville Municipal Airport
Grants-Milan Municipal Airpot
Albuquerque International Sunport
St. Johns Industrial Air Park
Elephant Butte Lake State Park
In the legacy ranch market, it is extremely rare to present a ranch of the size, caliber and magnitude of the Great Western. Within its 457 square miles, the ranch is multi-dimensional in every sense, offering a wide variety of wildlife, exceptional habitat, diverse topography, a favorable ecosystem for cattle and a large resident herd of prized bull elk. Characterized by a long-standing livestock and ranching operation, plentiful nutrient-rich grasses, water resources, and functional improvements, the property is well suited for a profitable agricultural operation. An abundance of petroglyphs, Ancestral Puebloan and historic ruins and artifacts tell of the land's rich and engaging history.
Great Western Ranch offers a complete sensory experience - from the distinctive sounds of bugling bulls in the rut, howling coyotes or overwhelming silence the property fills one's senses in every way. Complimented by an exquisite night sky and the chance to see stars in their truest form, pure and unpolluted, this ranch is Wild. Untamed. Soulful. Timeless....A true American Original.
- Some of the outstanding photography herein was provided by Kenton Rowe Photography. (Contact information is available upon request.)
- Text produced by Debbie M. Price of Price and Price Creative, L.L.C.
- Archeological Survey of 89.7 acres on the Hubbell Ranch, near Quemado, Catron County, New Mexico. Dorothy A. Zamora. Museum of New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies, 2004.
- Eighty-two Miles from Nowhere: Historical Overview Study for the Fence Lake Coal Mine Project. Peggy A. Gerow. Office of Contract Archeology, University of New Mexico. 2003.
- Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in West-Central New Mexico: The Fence Lake Coal Lease Surveys. Patrick Hogan, et. al. Prepared for the Salt River Project. 1984
Here there are orange sandstone bluffs carved by the wind and water, twisted rock fingers pointing skyward, flat-topped mesas and deep red arroyos rushing with monsoon rains. Here there are the tall, rounded mounds of the ancient volcanoes, Cerro Prieto, Cerro Montoso, and Cerro Pomo, parks of thick prairie grass, and hillsides dotted with juniper, piñon and ponderosa pine.
This is a place of rainbow hues, of delicate pinks and purples, of mighty oranges and reds and yellows, of dusty browns and blues and greens, a place that looks different in every kind of light and at every time of day, shifting, changing, blindingly brilliant one moment, cloaked in shadows the next. Struck by the rays of the sun, the sandstone buttes glow as if lit from within.
Fortunate are the ones privileged to walk upon this land and hunt its game and graze their cattle upon its grasses. They will drink in its beauty and feel small against its vastness. If they are silent and still, they will become one with this place and they will be richer for it in ways that cannot be counted in coin.
Geologically speaking, this is a young land. The sedimentary mesas and buttes of sandstone and shale of the Moreno Hill Formation established themselves during the Late Cretaceous Period, which ended with the mass extinction and demise of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.
New Mexico lands are changeable lands. Because the Great Western is so large, it has almost every type of terrain found in the west-central part of the state—buttes, mesas, ridges and bluffs, open parks of high grass, dormant volcanic cones and forested hillsides. From its eastern most boundary to its western edge, the ranch is 53 miles long; the distance from north to south is 26 miles. The Great Western encompasses 457 square miles or an area more than one-third the size of Rhode Island. Its boundaries extend across the continental divide and into two counties—Catron and Cibola.
Vast parks of grassland
Sedimentary mesas and buttes
Sandstone and shale ridges
The ranch encompasses 176,805± deeded acres and 115,974± acres of leased state and federal lands, giving the owner of the Great Western grazing over 292,779± total acres.
The Ramah Navajo Indian Reservation and El Malpais National Conservation Area border the Great Western on the north and northeast. Privately owned ranches and state and federal lands abut the other boundaries of the ranch—to create what is, in effect, an enormous natural game preserve with the Great Western Ranch at the center.
At the northern edge of the ranch, Penasco Bluff rises to 7,379 feet above sea level. Tejana Mesa defines the southern boundary. The Nations Draw runs east to west through the long rectangular section of the ranch that reaches almost to the Arizona state line.
Lying along the continental divide, ranch elevation climbs gradually from a low of about 6,560 feet above sea level in the west to more than 7,000 feet in the north. The summit of Cerro Prieto, at 7,422 feet above sea level, marks the highest point on the ranch. The ranch headquarters and hunting lodge sit 6,614 feet above sea level.
Blue grama grass grows well in the northern parts of the ranch while dropseed, Indian ricegrass, little bluestem, western wheatgrass, sacaton and needle grass thrive throughout. On the western winter range, chamisa, also known as four-wing saltbrush, are plentiful and provide protein-rich browsing for the cattle. Native rabbitbrush has been aggressively managed to prevent overgrowth. Oak brush, piñon and ponderosa grow in the higher elevations with juniper trees throughout the ranch.
The types of soil found on the Great Western vary with the topography. On much of the ranch, the soil is a finely textured mix of calcium-rich, alluvial sediments that create topsoil six to 10 inches deep. Beneath the topsoil, which ranges in color from a light brownish gray to a rich reddish brown, are layers of clays and clay loam.
As a cow outfit, I like it because it is so darned easy on the cattle. The country’s not steep, the winter isn’t long, and you don’t get that extreme heat that other parts of New Mexico have. You don’t have to put down hay—there’s grass all year round—and you’ve got good natural corridors to move the cattle from one place to the other.
– Jack Gaby, manager of Broe Group Ranches
The Great Western is a rancher’s ranch, improved by modern ranching management and methods. A true, four-season, grass ranch, the Great Western currently runs a cow-calf operation. The varied topography and elevations create different pastures suited to each time of year: summer pastures at higher elevations north of Highway 117 where blue grama grass grows, southeastern spring and early summer pastures with stout grasses; fall and winter pastures at the lower, warmer elevations along Nations Draw in the south and west. Wide swaths of grassy rangeland running through the ranch from north to south and east to west create natural corridors for driving the cattle between pastures.
The ranch has more than 50 larger grazing pastures and numerous smaller pastures or traps. Each of the pastures has a livestock water supply with a well or drinking tank supplied by wells. The wells are supplemented by dirt tanks, ponds and reservoirs in some pastures.
The operating cycle for Great Western ranch begins in early spring with the new calf crop. Fall weaning provides the opportunity to select heifer calf replacements and/or decide whether to sell the remaining calf crop or retain for additional weight gains. Typical weaning weights for the ranch are 475 to 525 lbs. for steers and 450 to 475 lbs. for heifers.
The ranch currently operates with one manager, two foremen, and four full-time cowboys and maintenance personnel. Adequate numbers of day cowboys are available locally when needed. The ranch is an efficient range and cake operation with hay needed only during the occasional severe winter storms or exceptional drought. The property has been lightly stocked for the past two years, enabling rangeland and pastures to regenerate and develop. After a tremendous 2013 rainy season, the ranch currently has very good grazing conditions.
Cattle, ranch equipment, feed and supplies are not included in the ranch price but may be available by separate treaty.
Ranching Support Facilities
The ranch has more than 1,000 miles of perimeter and internal pasture fence. Several shipping pens, including large pens at the headquarters and the Reyes pasture on NM Highway 117, and five state-certified shipping scales facilitate the transfer and sale of cattle from the ranch. There are two metal barns, including one on NM Highway 36 in the western winter pastures for feed and hay storage, and a restored stone barn. Various utility buildings support ranch operations.
FACTS AT A GLANCE:
- Address: Hubbell Draw, Quemado, NM 87829
- Counties: Catron and Cibola
- Main entrance: NM Hwy 117, 57 miles south of Exit 89 on Interstate 40
- Deeded: 176,805± Acres
- BLM Grazing Permits: 12,395± Acres: 2,489 AUMS; $1.38/AUM for 2013
- New Mexico State Leases: 103,579± Acres: $56,916 for 2013
- 2013 Real Estate Taxes: $16,140
- Cattle carrying capacity estimated at 3,400 AU
- 2 pivots irrigate 119 acres of feed crops
- 5 state certified scales
- 5 shipping pens
- 5 artesian wells
- 51 drilled and producing wells, of which all but three are solar or electric
- 80+ drinkers
- Livestock wells are mostly 200 to 400 feet deep
- Seasonal playa lakes, dirt tanks and reservoirs
- New Mexico State GMU 12
- 1,500-2,000 resident and migratory elk
- Mule deer, antelope (pronghorn), bear, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote and turkey habitat
- Good variety of terrain providing opportunity for all levels of hunting expertise
Residences & Facilities
- Historic adobe guest lodge with great room, stone fireplace, 5 bedrooms,2 baths, full kitchen. Sleeps up to 26 in lodge with room for 4 hunting guides in adjoining building.
- Ranch manager’s home with 2,100 s.f., 3 beds, an office, 2.5 baths, stucco exterior. Built in 2012.
- Cattle foreman’s home with 1,638 s.f., 2 beds, 1 bath
- 2-bedroom stucco and frame house for maintenance foreman
- Double-wide modular home
- Single-wide modular home recently refurbished with stucco exterior and metal roof
- Maintenance shop with concrete and adobe construction, refurbished shell and electrical service
- 2 steel barns, 1 restored stone barn, 1 adobe hay barn
- Albuquerque International Sunport, 150 miles
- Grants-Milan Municipal Airport, 80 miles
- Springerville and St. Johns Airports, 66 and 74 miles
- Landing strip for private plane on ranch
- Numerous identified ancient Native American sites
- Anasazi petroglyphs and other rock art
- Early Native American camps and home sites
- Settler homesteads
New Mexico Brokerage Relationship
Every licensed New Mexico real estate Broker is obligated to disclose Broker Duties. Disclosure: The following brokerage relationships are available in the State of New Mexico: (1) transaction broker, (2) exclusive agency, and (3) dual agency (see RANM Form 1401, p. 2).
Prior to the time an Associate Broker or Qualifying Broker generates or presents any written document that has the potential to become an express written agreement, the Broker shall disclose in writing to a prospective buyer, seller, landlord or tenant, the following list of Broker Duties that are owed to all Customers and Clients by all Brokers regardless of the brokerage relationship:
(A) Honesty and reasonable care; as set forth in the provisions of this section;
(B) Compliance with local, state, and federal fair housing and anti-discrimination laws, the New Mexico Real Estate License Law and the Real Estate Commission Rules and Regulations, and other applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations;
(C) Performance of any and all oral or written agreements made with the Broker's Customer or Client;
(D) Assistance to the Broker's Customer or Client in completing the Transaction, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the Customer or Client, including (1) Presentation of all offers or counter-offers in a timely manner, and (2) Assistance in complying with the terms and conditions of the contract and with the closing of the Transaction; If the Broker in a Transaction is not providing the service, advice or assistance described in paragraphs D(1) and D(2), the Customer or Client must agree in writing that the Broker is not expected to provide such service, advice or assistance, and the Broker shall disclose such agreement in writing to the other Brokers involved in the Transaction;
(E) Acknowledgment by the Broker that there may be matters related to the Transaction that are outside the Broker's knowledge or expertise and that the Broker will suggest that the Customer or Client seek expert advice on these matters;
(F) Prompt accounting for all monies or property received by the Broker;
(G) Prior to the time the Associate Broker or Qualifying Broker generates or presents any written document that has the potential to become an express written agreement, written disclosure of (1) any written Brokerage Relationship the Broker has with any other Parties to the Transaction; (2) any material interest or relationship of a business, personal, or family nature that the Broker has in the Transaction; and (3) other Brokerage Relationship options available in New Mexico;
(H) Disclosure of any adverse material facts actually known by the Broker about the property or the Transaction, or about the financial ability of the Parties to the Transaction to complete the Transaction. Adverse material facts do not include data from a sex offender registry or the existence of group homes;
(I) Maintenance of any confidential information learned in the course of any prior Agency relationship unless the disclosure is with the former Client's consent or is required by law;
(J) Unless otherwise authorized in writing, a Broker shall not disclose to their Customer or Client during the transaction that their Seller Client or Customer has previously indicated they will accept a sales price less than the asking or listed price of a property; that their Buyer Client or Customer has previously indicated they will pay a sales price greater than the price submitted in a written offer; the motivation of their Client or Customer for selling or buying property; that their Seller Client or Customer or their Buyer Client or Customer will agree to financing terms other than those offered; or any other information requested in writing by the Broker's Customer or Client to remain confidential, unless disclosure is required by law.
Effective January 1, 2007, the New Mexico Real Estate Commission requires the disclosure of the following brokerage relationships (as quoted from 220.127.116.11 NMAC, 1-1-2005):
16.61-19.0 Brokerage Relationships: Brokerages working with consumers either as customers or clients may do so through a variety of brokerage relationships. These relationships include but are not limited to an exclusive agency relationship, a dual agency relationship, or a transaction broker relationship. For all regulated real estate transactions, a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant may enter into an express written agreement to become a client of a brokerage without creating an agency relationship, and no agency duties will be imposed.
A. Exclusive agency: an express written agreement between a person and a brokerage wherein the brokerage agrees to exclusively represent as an agent the interests of the person in a real estate transaction. Such agreements include buyer agency, seller agency, designated agency, and subagency agreements.
B. Dual agency: an express written agreement that modifies existing exclusive agency agreements to provide that the brokerage agrees to act as a facilitator in a real estate transaction rather than as an exclusive agent for either party to the transaction.
C: Transaction broker: a brokerage that provises real estate services without entering into an agency relationship.
NOTICE: Offering is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice, and approval of purchase by owner. Information regarding land classifications, acreages, carrying capacities, potential profits, etc., are intended only as general guidelines and have been provided by sources deemed reliable, but whose accuracy we cannot guarantee. Prospective buyers should verify all information to their satisfaction. Prospective buyers should also be aware that the photographs in this brochure may have been digitally enhanced.