For Sale

Billingsley Creek Ranch

$21,000,000 Hagerman, ID 703± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Combining unparalleled duck hunting with the best in spring creek trout fishing, the 703± acre Billingsley Creek Ranch is arguably the premier sporting property available for purchase anywhere in the country. Set in the fabled Hagerman Valley, epicenter of waterfowl hunting in the western US, the ranch is located just outside of the small town of Hagerman and a half-hour from Twin Falls and its commercial airport. The capital city of Boise is an hour and a half drive west of the ranch, while the resort community of Ketchum/Sun Valley is 90 miles to the north. Spring-fed Billingsley Creek is the centerpiece of the ranch and flows for over a mile through a wildlife-rich basalt canyon and riparian corridor. Working with well-known hydrologist and stream specialist, Gary Decker, the current owners undertook a complete restoration of Billingsley Creek in 2007. The result was the creation of an ideal trout habit to complement the property’s unsurpassed duck hunting. Ample spring water is available to the ranch and used to sustain several year-round lakes, as well as numerous seasonal waterfowl ponds. Although waterfowl hunting and trout fishing are the highlights at Billingsley Creek, there is terrific hunting for pheasants and quail throughout the property as well as for large mule deer up to 30 inches. In addition to its recreational attributes, the ranch features an active farming operation that utilizes approximately 350 acres of irrigated cropland leased to a longtime local farmer to raise grain corn. Improvements complement the ranch and are highlighted by a 5,000± square foot owners’ home overlooking Billingsley Creek. Other improvements include a two-bedroom guest house, manager’s residence, guides’ house, additional employee housing, equipment storage, and a hay barn. Along the creek is an outdoor venue with a fire pit and covered barbeque area ideal for streamside dining and entertaining. The ranch is not covered by a conservation easement at the present time. However, because of the property’s size, location, and extensive frontage on Billingsley Creek, it is a prime candidate for one. The ranch is being offered with furnishings and ranch equipment.

Just the Facts

  • Landmark duck hunting ranch with 703± deeded, contiguous acres in the heart of the most prolific waterfowl area in the western US 
  • Over a mile of Billingsley Creek restored by the owners to create an exceptional spring creek trout fishery
  • A combination of year-round spring water, abundant habitat, and a strong forage base provides optimal conditions for unsurpassed waterfowl hunting
  • Excellent year-round water rights for a variety of purposes, including extensive irrigated cropland and habitat areas
  • Other wildlife includes wild pheasants, quail, chukars, Hungarian partridge, doves, and large mule deer up to 30 inches
  • Residential improvements include a six-bedroom owners’ home and two-bedroom guest cabin overlooking the creek
  • Excellent on-site ranch management that could transition to new ownership
  • No conservation easement, although an excellent candidate for one
  • 30 minutes from the airport in Twin Falls and 90 miles from the resort community of Ketchum/Sun Valley

General Description

Billingsley Creek Ranch lies on an elevated plateau above the town of Hagerman and is bisected by Billingsley Creek, a large spring creek that meanders through the property for over a mile before joining the Snake River seven miles downstream. Along its course, the stream winds its way north through stands of willow, river birch, and Russian olive. The thick riparian vegetation shields the stream corridor from neighboring lands and creates a private park-like setting along the creek. Already a premier duck hunting property, the owners collaborated with hydrologist and stream specialist, Gary Decker, in 2007 to undertake a complete restoration of the Billingsley Creek stream channel. The project’s focus was to create the finest trout habitat possible while preserving the quality of the hunting, and the outcome was an overwhelming success. The project resulted in the creation of a robust and remarkably diverse stream system, that is a haven for both trout and waterfowl. 

For practical purposes, Billingsley Creek divides the ranch into two sections. The west side of Billingsley Creek features approximately 130 acres of irrigated farmland with the balance of the acreage encompassing the property’s residential and agricultural improvements, numerous irrigated wildlife food plots, riparian bottomland areas, and several year-round lakes. Also on the west side of the creek is a manicured, streamside barbecue and picnic area. The main home and guest house sit on knolls overlooking Billingsley Creek and the beautiful riparian area abutting the stream. The east side of Billingsley Creek consists of approximately 220 acres of irrigated farmland and 140 acres of stream frontage and riparian habitat, with deciduous trees and native vegetation extending from the stream to the base of vertical basalt cliffs. There are no structural improvements on this section of the property. Views from the ranch are of the bucolic Hagerman Valley and extend north from the snowcapped Soldier Mountains near Sun Valley south to the Owyhee Mountains in southwest Idaho. 

The ranch is bordered by agricultural holdings and serviced by paved county roads that link to Hagerman and Highway 30. An internal road and trail network offers access to all parts of the property and to numerous hunting and fishing spots. A vehicle bridge over Billingsley Creek enables convenient internal access to either side of the ranch.

Broker's Comments

There are few properties anywhere that combine world class duck hunting with the best in private trout fishing, and Billingsley Creek Ranch is one of them. A property that features both of these pursuits at the very highest level, in the way that Billingsley Creek does, comes along maybe once in a generation. The ranch is truly a “unicorn” in the market today and in a class by itself.

Learn about the locale

Location

Billingsley Creek Ranch is located in south central Idaho’s Hagerman Valley, one mile east of the farming community of Hagerman and 30 miles northwest of the city of Twin Falls. Access to the property is via US Highway 30 and paved county roads. With a population of 45,000 residents, Twin Falls is the commercial center for the region and offers a full range of services and amenities. Magic Valley Regional Airport, just south of Twin Falls, offers daily air service to and from Salt Lake City on Delta/SkyWest and is the home to a fixed-base operation, Reeder Flying Service, which can manage private aircraft of any size. The state capital of Boise is a 90-minute drive northwest on Interstate 84 and features Idaho’s largest airport with an array of commercial flight opportunities. The well-known resort community of Ketchum/Sun Valley and its commercial airport are located an hour and a half north of the ranch. 


Locale

Hagerman, population 900, is a quiet agricultural community that serves as the local service and social center for the surrounding Hagerman Valley. With easy access to the Snake River, the Hagerman area is experiencing increased interest as a recreation destination and market for second homes. Consequently, the community’s service base is responding to the need for greater variety and quality. Hagerman is named for Stanley Hagerman, who established a post office for the area in 1892. The town grew out of a village site along the Snake where, for millennia, Shoshone, Bannock, and Paiute Indians harvested migrating salmon and steelhead. 

One of the defining features of the Hagerman Valley is Thousand Springs, a series of springs that can be seen gushing from verdant basalt bluffs that rim the Snake River Canyon southeast of Hagerman. Discharged from the Snake River Plain Aquifer, the springs are the end point of one of the nation’s largest groundwater systems and include 11 of the 65 springs in the US that generate more than 100 cubic feet per second. In 1984, the Idaho Nature Conservancy purchased the 400-acre Minnie Milner Farm on Ritter Island five miles south of Billingsley Creek Ranch to help preserve the Thousand Springs ecosystem. This site is now part of Thousand Springs State Park, one of Idaho’s premier park complexes. 

In addition to Ritter Island, Thousand Springs State Park includes five other unique units that are available to the public – Billingsley Creek Preserve, located a mile north of the ranch adjacent to Idaho Fish and Game’s Billingsley Creek Wildlife Management Area; Box Canyon Preserve, a remarkable canyon complex with one of the largest springs in North America; Malad Gorge Preserve, where the Malad River cuts a beautiful 250-foot deep gorge on its way to the Snake River; Niagra Springs Preserve, a diverse spring complex along the Snake upriver of Hagerman; and Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, the world’s richest known fossil deposits from the late Pliocene era when the region was home to mastodons, saber-toothed cats, and the famous “Hagerman Horse.” A new visitor center jointly managed by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and National Park Service opened in spring 2022 outside of Hagerman. This effort represents a 25-year state and federal partnership to enhance recreational and educational opportunities in the Hagerman Valley.

Climate

Operational Improvements: 

The former owner and operator of Billingsley Creek Ranch was a longtime thoroughbred horse breeder, and a sizeable equestrian compound still exists in the northwest portion of the property. This site is in modest condition and consists of paddocks, loafing sheds, barns, pens, feed storage, a modest rental home, and a full-sized horse training track. A second rental home is also located in this area. The ranch headquarters is situated in the southwest portion of the property and includes the manager’s home, additional employee housing, and a shop/storage building. In addition, a series of fish raceways historically used for commercial aquaculture is located at the ranch headquarters. The property features a network of gravel roads, excellent perimeter fencing, buried utilities, cellular and internet service, hay storage facilities, and well-maintained irrigation infrastructure that includes six Zimmatic center pivots.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Billingsley Creek Ranch consists of 703± deeded, contiguous acres, more or less, per the Gooding County Assessor. Approximately half of the ranch encompasses the Billingsley Creek corridor, associated riparian and wetland areas, wildlife habitat, irrigated food plots, and residential and ranch improvements. The balance of the ranch consists of high-quality, sprinkler-irrigated cropland.

Deeded Acres: 703±
Total Acres: 703±

Improvements

Main Residence: The owners’ residence is situated to take advantage of the views up and down Billingsley Creek. This wood-frame, ranch-style home consists of approximately 5,000 square feet and features a heated three-car garage with extra storage and dog kennels, large kitchen with walk-in commercial cooler, two wood burning masonry fireplaces, six bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, a large deck and barbecue area, and extensive landscaping. The residence was constructed in 1971 and extensively remodeled in 2005.  

Guest Cabin: Also built in 1971, this single story, 800± square-foot cabin features stacked log construction, two bedrooms, two baths, shake roof, wood burning fireplace, exposed beam ceiling, utility room, and a single car garage.

Manager’s Home: Built in 1981, this comfortable home consists of 1,492± square feet and features wood frame construction with a shake roof, three bedrooms, two baths, wood burning fireplace, and an attached garage. 

Guides’ House: Remodeled in 1994, the wood-frame house consists of 1,900± square feet, a daylight basement, four bedrooms, three baths, game room, living room, wet bar, and a freestanding two-car garage including two dog kennels. There is also an adjacent freestanding building that has historically been used by the owners and their guests for gamebird processing. 

Operational Improvements: The former owner and operator of Billingsley Creek Ranch was a longtime thoroughbred horse breeder, and a sizeable equestrian compound still exists in the northwest portion of the property. This site is in modest condition and consists of paddocks, loafing sheds, barns, pens, feed storage, a modest rental home, and a full-sized horse training track. A second rental home is also located in this area. The ranch headquarters is situated in the southwest portion of the property and includes the manager’s home, additional employee housing, and a shop/storage building. In addition, a series of fish raceways historically used for commercial aquaculture is located at the ranch headquarters. The property features a network of gravel roads, excellent perimeter fencing, buried utilities, cellular and internet service, hay storage facilities, and well-maintained irrigation infrastructure that includes six Zimmatic center pivots.

Water Resources

Billingsley Creek Ranch holds surface water rights originating from three separate sources that originate off of the ranch – Big Springs, Three Springs, and North Side Canal Company. The portion of the ranch east of Billingsley Creek controls 220 shares of irrigation water from North Side Canal Company (NSCC) that is delivered to the ranch via an open ditch managed by NSCC. The area west of the creek uses spring water rights from Big Springs and Three Springs. The ranch controls 42 shares of water in Big Springs Water Users Association (BSWUA), which is the entity that is also responsible for providing municipal water to Hagerman. Water from Big Springs is delivered to the ranch from an underground pipeline managed by BSWUA. Water from Three Springs is decreed to the ranch by the State of Idaho and originates on the neighboring property to the south and delivered by an underground pipeline dedicated to the ranch. Recognized beneficial uses for all three water sources include irrigation, fish propagation, domestic uses, stock water, and wildlife and recreation.

Mineral Rights

All mineral and subsurface rights owned by the Seller will transfer to the new owner at closing.

Taxes

Annual Gooding County property taxes are approximately $23,600.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Recreational Considerations

Waterfowl Hunting: Billingsley Creek Ranch is located in the heart of the Hagerman Valley, an area widely recognized as the pinnacle for duck hunting in the western US. Beginning in early November, countless numbers of ducks and geese migrate to this relatively obscure part of the country to take advantage of the area’s mild climate and year-round open water. Mallards are the predominant duck species here, and hunters enjoy a seven-bird limit and lengthy four-month season that runs through the end of January. The ranch has a rich hunting tradition and is regarded as a landmark hunting property in the valley. With a large forage base, abundant habitat, thoughtful, wildlife-centered management, and a disciplined hunting program, the ranch consistently attracts and holds tens of thousands of birds through the season. At the center of the ranch is a series of spring-fed lakes referred to as the “Sanctuary,” which the owners choose not to hunt and instead maintain as a rest area. An innumerable number of birds use the Sanctuary through the season, as the temperate spring water remains open all winter. Highly productive hunting spots are spread out along Billingsley Creek and on the many “pocket” ponds upstream and downstream of the Sanctuary. With everything they need, ducks tend to stay home on the ranch. They fly close and decoy superbly, and hunting here is truly a thrilling and magical experience that is second to none. 

Trout Fishing: The owners of Billingsley Creek are dedicated fly anglers, and while they may have “come” for the duck hunting, it’s reasonable to assume they “stayed” for the trout fishing. Through their comprehensive stream restoration efforts, the owners developed a robust, cold water spring creek trout fishery with ideal habitat conditions that rivals other spring creek systems in the region. Trout enjoy countless lies that include shallow gravel bars, heavy undercut banks, and deep drop-offs behind rocky shelfs. Plus, with a firm, gravel bottom, the creek is imminently wadeable except for the deepest holes. The early fall is an especially delightful time on the creek, when duck season has begun and trout feed voraciously on hoppers and other terrestrial patterns ahead of the coming winter. In addition to the creek, the main lake located in the Sanctuary is home to trout that grow to oversized proportions. Walking the shoreline and casting to large, cruising trout is a exciting way to fish the main lake. Although there is no reason to leave the ranch, a mixed-bag awaits should one wish to explore the area. There are unlimited warm water opportunities on the Snake River and the many public fishing ponds in the Hagerman Valley, while some of the best trout fishing in the Northern Rockies is located in the Sun Valley area an hour and half north of the ranch.

Other Wildlife: In addition to ducks and geese, upland bird hunting on the ranch is topnotch with strong populations of quail and pheasants along with occasional coveys of chukars and Hungarian partridge. Walking the canyon rim or the edge of a cornfield searching for a covey of quail or a wild rooster after a morning duck hunt is a great way to spend the afternoon. As a side attraction, the property is loaded with doves when the season begins on Labor Day. The ranch is also home to a large number of resident mule deer that find refuge in the Billingsley Creek canyon. Impressive deer as large as 30 inches have been harvested on the property. 

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The current owners acquired Billingsley Creek Ranch in 2007 and have used the property exclusively as a private hunting and fishing retreat for themselves and for their families and friends. The ranch is overseen by a highly skilled and capable ranch manager who lives on-site and has been employed by the owners since first purchasing the property. The manager is interested in remaining in his position and transitioning with the ranch to new ownership. The irrigated cropland is leased to a local farmer who has been involved with managing the farmed portions of the ranch for nearly 25 years. The tenant raises grain corn utilizing the ranch’s pressurized sprinkler irrigation system.

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