Cedar Creek Ranch is an unimproved, contiguous block of 8,028± total acres (4,642± deeded) in the Powder River Breaks along Montana’s southern border near Otter. This area is renowned for having some of the strongest grass and best soils in the state. The lush stands of grasses provide shelter, feed, and cover for abundant populations of grouse and partridge. The natural geography of this country, with its sandstone rims, open grasslands and lightly timbered hillsides, offers great cover for wildlife and good populations of mule deer and elk thrive on the ranch. The grazing is currently leased to a local rancher who practices a “take half, leave half” grazing regiment creating harmony between 350 to 400 cows and the indigenous wildlife. There are ten freshwater livestock tanks on a pipeline that make it possible to fully utilize the grazing resource.
Just the Facts
- ACREAGE - 8,028± Total acres (4,642± deeded; 2,000± acres BLM; 1,386± acres Montana State lease).
- WATER - Natural springs in Otter Creek, reservoirs, and a ten-tank pipeline fed by a strong well.
- OPERATION - Estimated to carry 350 cows for a six-month season in six pastures.
- IMPROVEMENTS - No structural improvements.
- LOCATION - Near Otter, MT, 75 miles northeast of Sheridan and 52 miles southwest of Broadus.
- WILDLIFE - Excellent mule deer, elk, antelope and upland birds.
- SUMMARY - Primarily deeded, blocked, contiguous grass ranch with diverse wildlife in some of Montana’s reputation grass country.
The Cedar Creek Ranch is a classic southeastern Montana landscape with sand rock rims and bluffs covered with cedars and ponderosa pine that leak out into draws and tributaries that open out into expanses of quality grass plains, dense with forage and some areas of sagebrush. The south portion of the ranch includes the divide that separates the drainages. The bulk of the ranch drains northeasterly into Otter Creek and eventually the Tongue River. The south end of the ranch drains back to the south and into the Powder River. The ranch is covered with enough conifers and brushy areas to provide cover and shade for wildlife and livestock, and it creates that classic western feeling of rolling grassy hills punctuated by scattered groves of timber. This high divide also attracts precipitation, which makes Cedar Creek the envy of its lower neighbors when it comes to forage production. Water is provided by live springs along Otter Creek, a ten-tank livestock pipeline, and multiple small reservoirs scattered throughout.
Cedar Creek Ranch represents a great opportunity to buy a primarily deeded and well-blocked grass ranch an easy drive from Broadus, Montana, or Sheridan, Wyoming. Loaded with wildlife, both big-game and upland birds, the ranch is a solid operation with benefits. Not to mention the lack of structural improvements leaves an open canvas for a new owner.
The ranch lies off Sayle Road just north of the WY/MT border, about 12 miles south of the Otter Post Office. Sayle Road ties into both Quietus and Otter Creek Roads. The ranch is relatively well connected by quality gravel roads and lies about 52 miles southwest of Broadus and 75 miles northeast of Sheridan, Wyoming. The town of Clearmont, Wyoming, lies about 50 miles to the south, and Ashland, Montana, 40 miles to the north. Many area ranchers use Sheridan as their social and trade center. However, Broadus is another solid option for day-to-day ranch needs.
This area of Montana is “reputation grass country” and most all ranches are of good size and are used primarily for livestock production and seasonal hunting. The Otter Creek, Cedar Creek, and Powder River Breaks areas around the ranch are respected and well known for good populations of both upland birds and big game. This is traditional ranching country because of its semi-remote character, and most of the neighbors are family run, year-round commercial cattle operations where “neighbor” is a verb.
The climate in this area has a very distinct four seasons. Otter, Montana, the closest reporting station, gets an average annual precipitation of over 18 inches. Most of this precipitation comes during the spring and early summer, with near six inches falling during May and June. It should be noted that the rainfall here falls on good, deep soils, which have good water holding capacity. The winter months see less than two inches. The average annual snowfall in the area is 35 inches. During the coldest months of December and January, the average high temperature will reach the high 30s to low 40s, with the lows dipping to around 11 degrees. The warmest months of July and August will have average high temperatures in the 80s and average lows of around 55 degrees.
The ranch and surrounding area are rich with the history of Native Americans and their conflict with the US Calvary, as well as travels through the area each year following the bison migrations. The homestead era passed quickly, and this part of Montana and northern Wyoming became dedicated to cattle ranching. Some of the most historic ranches of Montana and Wyoming are in the immediate area, including the nearby OW Ranch. Its classic restored sandstone and log buildings were the headquarters of the Kendrick Cattle Company that once covered over 300,000 acres and was created by John B. Kendrick, who came up from Texas with the cattle drives of the early 1880s.
The Community of Otter was named for Otter Creek. The town post office (opened in 1895) is located within a mile of the head of the creek. Otter Creek was named by fur traders and trappers in the early days of Montana's history.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
- 4,642± – Deeded
- 2,000± – BLM lease (304 AUMs)
- 1,386± – Montana State lease
- 8,028± Total acres
The majority of the ranch acreage is made up of exceptional native rangeland, with approximately 20 percent being covered with cedars and ponderosa pines. There are ridges and breaks scattered throughout the ranch that roll into grass plains and some areas of sagebrush.
There are no conservation easements on the Cedar Creek Ranch.
The ranch is basically unimproved except for fences and a water pipeline. There is power running nearly the full length of the ranch, and the Seller has an RV hookup near the ranch entrance. The ranch has multiple areas that are ideal for building sites suited for a residence or cabins.
The primary sources of water on the ranch are a ten-tank pipeline system, seasonal reservoirs, and Otter Creek, with intermittent live water that serves as a good source of water for portions of the ranch. The pipeline system operates off a single, good well. There is another well on the property that is not currently being used.
The Seller is not reserving any mineral interests and will convey any rights owned, if any. He believes he does not own any mineral rights.
Real estate taxes are estimated to be approximately $1,750 per year based on past years.
This area along the MT/WY border is known for big trophy mule deer and some outstanding bull elk. The large expanses of open prairie in the area harbor good populations of pronghorn antelope. The Cedar Creek Ranch is no exception. While the deer and elk tend to stay closer to the rims and timber, the ranch abounds with pronghorn on the open range. In addition to the antelope, the plains and creek bottoms provide exceptional habitat for good populations of both sharptail grouse and Hungarian partridge. Additionally, the ranch is frequented by black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and bobcats and holds a variety of raptors, including both hawks and eagles.
Cedar Creek Ranch has been leased and operated by a tenant who uses it primarily for seasonal grazing - May through October. Based upon a conservative estimated carrying capacity of four acres per AUM (Animal Unit Month), the ranch should carry around 350 cows for a six-month grazing season. Since the entire capacity is based upon native rangeland, it is fair to say that it will vary significantly from year to year, depending on that year’s precipitation. The property is fenced into six pastures, so it does lend itself to some level of rotational grazing depending upon water availability.
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