Parrot Creek Ranch, just 35 miles north of Billings, includes nearly 14,000 acres in a contiguous almost entirely deeded block of top quality timbered grazing land that offers exceptional habitat for trophy quality elk, deer and other wildlife. It hosts around 1,000 yearlings seasonally. They are carefully rotated through the ranch’s 14 fenced and well-watered pastures. Boasting 11 wells, 12 miles of pipeline and 12 live springs, it offers excellent water resources. Improvements include a 5-bedroom log lodge, a manager’s home and a full complement of outbuildings. The 220± acres of dryland and irrigated cropland offers a potential winter feed base for a year-round operation. Terrain is rolling to mountainous occupying some of the highest elevations in the Bull Mountains.
Just the Facts
- Location – 35 miles north of Billings Montana’s largest city.
- Acreage – Just shy of 14,000 acres including 640± acres of State land and 480± acres of BLM
- Improvements – 5 Bedroom log lodge, nice manager’s home and complete operating improvements.
- Wildlife – Outstanding habitat for trophy quality elk and deer plus bear and turkey.
- Operation – Summers 1,000 yearlings plus 220± acres of irrigated and dryland crop.
- Description – Timbered rangeland with open valleys, deep draws and sandstone formations.
- Summary – Terrific elk hunting ranch with great operating component.
The Parrot Creek Ranch lies in the Bull Mountains south of the Musselshell River and north of the Yellowstone River. These are low elevation mountains in the range of 3,400’-4,700' made up of rolling Ponderosa Pine covered hills, giving the ranch the look and feel of a high mountain property. It is fair to say that it actually has the look and feel of “The Ponderosa” of old time TV fame. Parrot Creek looks exactly how a classic ranch should look. The terrain consists of grassy valleys, timbered ridges, deep rugged draws and unique sandstone rock outcroppings. Although both the East Fork and the West Fork of Parrott Creek run through the property with occasional water coming to the surface, most of the water is established throughout the ranch with springs and wells that run year-round. The improvements are well located and there is pride of ownership displayed throughout the ranch from fencing to corrals and operating facilities.
A classic looking Montana elk and deer hunting ranch with good operational considerations along with well-kept and entirely appropriate improvements all located a short drive from Billings, Montana’s largest and most cosmopolitan city.
Learn about the locale
The ranch is located 35 miles north of Montana’s largest city Billings and just 17 miles southeast of the small ranching town of Roundup. Billings has a large commercial airport with multiple daily commercial flights from most major carriers. Roundup boasts a smaller airport with both a paved and lighted runway of 5,099’ X 75’.
Parrott Creek Ranch is situated in the highest elevations of the Bull Mountains. This is a serious ranching area that now demands a premium because of the growing populations of trophy quality elk that seem to prosper in this area. It is a well-regarded ranching area where most of the neighbors are going to be similar sized or larger family ranches. As the elk populations have increased ranches have been bought up by nonresident hunters who often lease their ranches to local ranchers. The Bull Mountains have seen some limited rural subdivision in areas convenient to highways. The proximity to Billings makes this a particularly appealing ranch as Billings is Montana’s largest and most cosmopolitan city offering an array of social and cultural amenities including a large event center, a symphony orchestra, a theater that offers Broadway level productions and an exceptional art museum. In addition, it offers shopping from Costco to exclusive galleries to health food stores and auto and equipment dealerships, 2 major hospitals – one of which is affiliated with the Mayo Clinic - and services at every level one could imagine.
The ranch headquarters lies at an altitude of 3,200 feet. The annual rainfall historically is about 14 inches although the ranch has some of the highest elevations in the Bull Mountains with much of the land lying in the 3,800 to 4,500 feet range. Normally higher elevations mean more precipitation and cooler temperatures. Winters in the Bull Mountains are comparatively mild with good long growing seasons. Summers are pleasant on the whole with cool evenings but temperatures can get up into the nineties in the heat of the summer for short periods of time. This is offset by glorious shoulder seasons when the weather can be idyllic. Comfortably warm days and cool nights.
Learn more about the property
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Deeded: 12,817± acres
State Lease: 640± acres
BLM Lease: 480± acres
Dry Cropland: 192± acres
Pivot Irrigated: 27± acres
Timbered native ranch and building sites: 13,717± acres
Deeded Acres: 12,832±
State Leased Acres: 640±
BLM Leased Acres: 200±
Total Leased Acres: 840±
Total Acres: 13,672±
The ranch boasts a very nice 3,600 square foot three-story log home/lodge that has five bedrooms and three bathrooms as well as a full built-in bar. The ranch headquarters includes a manager’s house that is six beds and three-and-a-half baths in 3,360 square feet. Both homes have been very well taken care of and again, pride of ownership is evident as the ranch and buildings are exceptionally clean and well kept. Four irrigation pivots were recently installed and a 500,000-gallon cistern tank to service the 27± acres of irrigated land. Other operating improvements include the following:
- 20' X 24' garage
- 30' X 48' pole barn used for equipment storage
- 24' X 36' metal shop building
- 40' X 80' barn
- 16' X 32' horse barn with tack room
- Three steel grain bins
- One set of working corrals
- Fully fenced storage yard
- Outdoor riding arena
Forty-nine claims have been filed in accordance with Montana adjudication and permitting requirements. The claims are located in water basins 40A and 40C. Many of the claims date back to 1900. The water rights are from East Parrot Creek, Halfbreed Creek, Fatig Creek, West Parrot Creek, and tributaries of these sources. There are 25 wells on the property of which 11 are in use – pipelines have made it possible to mothball some of the wells. Water improvement projects have been consistently undertaken over the past decade. For example, in 2017 an additional seven miles of new water line was installed. The concept has been to create water sources that allow livestock always to be within half of a mile of a water source. Natural groundwater springs are found throughout the ranch coming out of the sandstone formations creating dependable year ground water. The irrigated lands receive their water from a 500,000-gallon cistern that is filled from three wells.
Water rights have been filed on all sources, some dating back to 1910 priority date. both the West Parrott Creek and East Parrott Crek drainages originate on the ranch and run intermittently during the year.
All mineral rights owned by Seller are included in the sale.
Learn about the recreational amenities
Located in the coveted Bull Mountains, Parrot Creek Ranch represents one of the finest and most diversified western hunting ranches that Montana has to offer. The scenic central Montana ranch has been professionally managed and monitored for its wildlife over the past 20 years and the wildlife populations have shown it. With an abundant amount of elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, bears, and Merriam turkeys, Parrot Creek Ranch has it all. The current ranch owners have customized their agriculture operations to draw in wildlife. The ranch with its high-quality habitat was home to approximately 500 head of elk and 350 deer over the 2017 hunting season. During that season two bulls over 375 Pope and Young were taken, as were some very nice mule deer in the 165-180 class Boone and Crocket. Four smaller pivots were recently installed and they have been a magnet for the elk and deer seeking the lush alfalfa and sanfoin growing under them.
Learn about the general operations
Stewardship has been the driving principle for ranch operations. Cattle have been used as a tool to enhance and maintain the grass resource. This is done with leased cattle creating both income and plant health and diversity. The ranch manager has done an excellent job of keeping the cattle program integrated with the wildlife program. Around 1,000 head of yearling cattle are run during the grazing season. These cattle are utilized to manage the grass resource and mitigate fire. The cattle come onto the ranch in mid-April and leave by September 1. The cropland is generally seeded to winter wheat, alfalfa or sainfoin. It can be grazed or harvested for hay to be utilized by the ranch or sold as a cash crop. Grain is sold as a cash crop and it also serves to attract upland birds.
Leases and Permits
The ranch holds grazing rights on 640± acres of State of Montana land and 480 acres of BLM land. They are incorporated within the ranch.
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