For Sale

Hangman's Creek Ranch

$11,000,000 Big Timber, MT 14,236± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

The Hangman’s Creek Ranch is located 16 miles east of Big Timber in the foothills north of the Yellowstone River. It is an expansive grass ranch offering a variety of scenic terrain and big views of the Crazy and Beartooth Mountains to the west and south respectively. Operating on over 16,200 acres (14,200± deeded), the ranch boasts good livestock working improvements, including a set of corrals, cross and perimeter fencing, and an extensive road system. Stock water is adequate, but with some development and additional fencing, one could increase the amount of animal unit month grazing capacity by 20 to 25 percent. Exceptional big game hunting for elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope together with upland bird hunting complete a very appealing package. The icing on the cake, however, a 14 tower wind farm under a lease agreement with an income stream currently in place. The annual lease income is estimated to range from $175,000 to $225,000 over the life of the 25-year lease. The offering price of $11,000,000 includes the surface, the owner’s mineral rights, and the wind lease. The property can also be purchased subject to the lease but without the income for $8,500,000 for surface and minerals only.

Just the Facts

  • Location - Sixteen miles to Big Timber and eighty miles to Billings and Bozeman via Interstate 90.
  • Acreage - 14,236± deeded, 1,040± BLM and 960± State of Montana acres.
  • Terrain - Open native range with scattered pines on the hillsides and in draws.
  • Improvements - Extensive road system, livestock working facilities, and perimeter and cross fencing.
  • Capacity – Currently 350-400 pairs grazing through the grazing season.
  • Potential - 20-25% more capacity with some fencing and water development.
  • Wind Lease Income - $175,000K to $225,000K over 25-year lease.
  • Recreational Attributes - Excellent elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and upland bird hunting.
  • Unique Features - Expansive mountain views on the northern, southern and western horizons. Very secluded and private location. 
  • Summary – This ranch offers diverse income potential and exceptional hunting in the perfect Montana location.

General Description

The Hangman’s Creek Ranch is a productive piece of summer grazing land comprised of open meadows and timbered draws. Easy access to many of Montana’s finest communities but tucked into the foothills, in its own world north of the Yellowstone River, this ranch enjoys spectacular views, a viable summer grazing operation, and great recreation. The views, as mentioned earlier, are spectacular and ever-changing throughout the course of the day. From morning’s first light all the way through sundown, the mountains and cliffs surrounding the property change with the light and the angle of the sun during the seasons, providing a different view and feel each time one looks.  

Broker's Comments

The Hangman’s Creek Ranch is a unique large deeded offering that is attractively priced from a per acre basis. Hall and Hall is pleased to bring this investment quality property to the market with the potential for a return that one seldom sees in western ranch properties, if the potential wind lease income is taken into consideration. Easy access, privacy, terrific recreational opportunities, possible alternative-energy income, and tremendous views complete the package for this large grass ranch.

Learn about the locale

Location

Hangman’s Creek Ranch is located 16 miles east of Big Timber and is accessed off Interstate 90 by exiting at Greycliff. Access to the property is superb. From the Interstate exit, one travels approximately four miles north on the Lower Sweet Grass Road, a paved county road that crosses the Yellowstone River, and then about four miles east on Deadman’s Canyon Road. As one tops out of the canyon, the entrance into the ranch is on the left, which is serviced by a high-speed private gravel road into a set of corrals. A set of two track-roads service the remaining ranch along with high-speed gravel roads connecting 14 wind towers.

Big Timber is the county seat for Sweet Grass County and provides most of the services for the area, including a paved and lighted jet strip. Daily commercial air service is available in Bozeman and in Billings. These two cities offer the most extensive air service in Montana. Greycliff is equidistance from Bozeman and Billings, both about 73 miles.  

Locale

One of the most appealing aspects of the ranch is the location which affords easy access in all directions…however, with total privacy. The locale itself is also a very desirable part of the Big Sky Country. Big Timber is a unique community situated on the Yellowstone River. Its character has been formed in part by Easterners who were early guests of dude ranches in the area and then came back to live and ranch there. In more recent years the popularity of fly fishing and people looking for a place to which to escape, in or near the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, has brought a new wave of non-resident landowners who swell the population during the summer and fall months and have certainly contributed in many ways to forming the character of the community. Naturally, its early history as a center for cattle and sheep ranching is an important part of its heritage. The tradition of ranching and making good use of the land is deeply ingrained in the local community and carries over to newcomers as well. By Montana standards, Big Timber is a relatively sophisticated community with good schools, a hospital, churches, bars, excellent cafes and restaurants, galleries, specialty shops, banks, lawyers, car dealers - basically everything one would want in a small, comfortable package. Billings and Bozeman provide a broader range of social, cultural, and service options.

Climate

Big Timber and Sweet Grass counties enjoy the diversity of each season with a variety of weather phenomenon. The average annual precipitation is approximately 15 inches and comes in any form, from winter snowstorms to spring cloudbursts, and summer and fall rain showers. The April through September precipitation amounts average 10.5 inches and the maximum temperature average is 75°F. Average minimum temperature for April through September is 44°F. July and August are the warmest months with temperatures averaging in the high 80s and 90s. The yearly average maximum temperature is 61 degrees and the average minimum temperature is 34. The coldest recorded temperature was -47 in February 1936, and the hottest recorded temperature was 107 in July 2002. Big Timber boasts an average of 286 days of sunshine each year.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

The Hangman’s Creek Ranch is comprised of 14,236± deeded acres that stretch from Deadman’s Canyon Road on the south to Lone Indian Butte on the north, almost to Lower Sweet Grass Road on the west and almost to the Reedpoint/Rapleje Road on the east. The landscape is a balance of partially timbered foothill range plus open native range pastures. In addition, there are 1,040± acres of BLM and 960± acres of State of Montana leased land used for grazing.

Deeded Acres: 14,236±
State Leased Acres: 960±
BLM Leased Acres: 1,040±
Total Leased Acres: 2,000±
Total Acres: 16,236±

Additional Information

The seller reserves the right to offer the property in a configuration that includes the 14 wind towers with the commensurate underlying land and another offering that contains the remaining native rangeland, at seller’s sole discretion.  

Improvements

The only improvements of note on the property are a set of livestock working corrals, stock water developments, and perimeter and pasture cross-fencing.  

There are private areas throughout the ranch where one could build a residence and have exceptional views of the Absaroka and Crazy Mountains. Utilities to service the buildings would be brought in from the nearest source on Deadman’s, Lower Sweet Grass Creek, or Reedpoint/Rapelje Roads. 

Mineral Rights

All mineral rights currently owned by the seller will transfer to a buyer. The extent of the mineral ownership of the current owner is not known. Therefore, Hall and Hall suggests that a buyer prospect might wish to conduct a mineral search.

The ranch has a 25-year land lease for a 25-megawatt wind farm, owned by Consolidated Edison, located across the western part of the property. The wind farm, consisting of 14 turbines, has begun to generate power with revenues expected to be in the range of $175,000 to $225,000 per year. In 2019, after a full year of production, the lease revenue was approximately $180,000. Potential to add another 25-megawatt farm has been discussed with the wind construction company and is a viable possibility if one wants to increase lease royalties. Additional information is available upon request from the offices of Hall and Hall. 

If one has an interest in purchasing the existing wind lease from the seller, in addition to the surface and mineral rights offered, the owner will sell its’ interest in the lease for $2,500,000. This offering price is based on a net present value of the estimated cash flow during the term of the lease and is validated by a standing offer from an investor to purchase at this level.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Recreational Considerations

The fly fishing on the nearby Yellowstone River is, in a word, excellent! It is no accident that the Yellowstone is internationally known as one of the finest trout fisheries in the United States. Brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout are all found in abundant numbers and the wide variety of habitat provided offers great dry-fly fishing as well as sub-surface fishing with streamers and nymphs. As a testament to the health of the ecosystem, small, medium, large, and enormous fish are caught here. The stretch from Big Timber to Billings is known as the quiet section of the Yellowstone, as many of the guide services focus on the Paradise Valley stretch or the Livingston to Big Timber stretch. Therefore, it is not uncommon to have long periods with almost no boat traffic.  

For the wildlife enthusiast the property, and the region surrounding it, are home to the broad diversity of wildlife that South Central Montana is famous for. Whitetail and mule deer, antelope, black bear, mountain lion, and many other smaller mammals reside on the ranch, with a resident and migratory herd of elk roaming the ranch year-r round. The property is currently being hunted for big game by the owner and guests. Additionally, upland bird hunting for sharptail grouse and Hungarian partridge is exceptional. Photos of hunting successes are available by request from the offices of Hall and Hall.

Hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, and mountain biking can all be enjoyed on the property.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The ranch is leased to a neighbor and is currently running approximately 350 to 400 pairs during the grazing season. In some years, the season may run into early December, depending on snow levels. With some additional stock water development and cross fencing, it is estimated by the owner that the carrying capacity could be increased by 20-25 percent.

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