Wells, Nevada - The Clover Valley Ranch is a historic family-run cattle ranch in the heart of Nevada’s reputation ranch country south of Wells. With the dramatic Humboldt Range as its backdrop and consisting of 2,518± deeded acres running on over 8,500 acres of range, the ranch supports approximately 400 animal units in a balanced operation. The ranch is abundantly watered from a variety of spring-fed mountain streams and has around 900 of its deeded acres under irrigation producing upwards of 1,000 ton of hay annually, enough to comfortably winter the ranch’s resident herd. With a contiguous 6,000± acre United States Forest Service permit, this is a true mountain to valley ranch in one of the most sought-after parts of Nevada. Trophy mule deer hunting, the occasional elk and healthy sage grouse populations make this a wildlife treasure in Nevada and the ranch enjoys two to three landowner mule deer tags each year.
Just the Facts
- Located 20 minutes from Wells, Nevada
- Consists of 2,518± deeded contiguous acres
- Well-watered and very productive with 900± irrigated acres
- Supports 400± animal units
- Contiguous USFS grazing allotment of 6,000± acres
- Landowner mule deer licenses
- Dramatic scenery
- Balanced operation
The Clover Valley Ranch contains approximately 2,518 deeded acres and an additional 6,000± of national forest lease. While one may not routinely think of Nevada as lush, the headquarters is located amidst multiple year-round creeks that flow from the crest of the Humboldt range towering nearly 4,500 feet above the corrals. Surrounded by mature cottonwoods and willows, the impression upon entering the ranch’s gates is of a mature and well-established homestead that was selected from the surrounding public lands for its abundant water, rich pastures and spectacular beauty.
Across County Road 232, to the east, is the majority of the ranch’s approximately 900 irrigated acres. Used as a combination of hay ground and irrigated pasture, the deeded acres to the east also hold the ranch’s livestock working facilities, including scales, sorting pens and loading chutes. To the west, the ground slopes steadily upward. The lower reaches of the western portion of the ranch offer a variety of irrigated pastures and this is where the four year-round creeks (Winchell, Renshaw, Shady and Leach) drain from the adjacent national forest, in addition to a variety of ephemeral spring-fed waterways. This area also has some food plots watered with wheel lines to attract and hold mule deer populations. As you venture higher to the west, you cross the national forest boundary and venture directly onto the operation’s federal grazing lease. As the ground gains additional elevation, the lower elevation scrub and native brush give way to extensive stands of quaking aspen, providing shelter from the sun in summer and vibrant color and wildlife cover in the fall.
The Clover Valley Ranch offers a self-contained and sustainable livestock operation in the heart of Nevada’s reputation ranch country. Together with a population of Boone and Crockett mule deer, for which the ranch routinely receives landowner hunting licenses, Clover Valley Ranch offers significant recreational opportunities along with the potential to operate a highly efficient and profitable livestock operation.
The Clover Valley is located just south of Wells, Nevada against the stunning backdrop of the Humboldt Range, the crest of which rises to over 10,000 feet from the valley floor 4,500 feet below. The ranch headquarters itself is just 16 miles from the goods and services located in Wells directly off a well-maintained county road. To get to the ranch from Wells, head south on Highway 93 for five miles and turn west on County Road 232, which quickly bends to the south. The headquarters is located directly off the county road.
From the ranch, major urban centers can be reached by a variety of high-speed roads. Twin Falls, Idaho is an easy 115 miles away, Winnemucca to the west and Salt Lake City to the east are each around 180 miles from Wells, while Reno and Las Vegas require longer drives of 355 and 365 miles respectively from the ranch. Commercial air service is available to Elko through Salt Lake City on Delta Airlines.
Northern Nevada is dramatic country. In the heart of basin and range country, majestic snow-capped peaks undulate between broad sage covered valleys. From elevation, views can encompass 100 miles or more on the best days. This extraordinary topography means that high elevations catch an abundance of snow which in turn waters the basin pastures and makes for rich habitat for wild animals and livestock. Game is abundant for those with the means and stamina to locate large elk, bighorn sheep, and some of the finest mule deer anywhere. It is also reputation ranch country and many of the large operating ranches have been in the same family since homestead days.
Nevada is also a state dominated by public lands. The nearly 80% of Nevada that is owned and managed by the federal government means that most agricultural operations rely to some degree on public land leases, and this is the case with the Clover Valley Ranch. Other major industries in Nevada include mining and tourism, although the tourism centers of Reno/Sparks and Las Vegas are nothing but a distant rumor in the high basins and ranges of the Clover Valley.
The ranch is located in Elko County outside of Wells. Wells itself is fairly small (pop. 1,300) but the substantial town of Elko is located just 50 miles further west along high-speed Interstate 80 and offers a complete set of goods and services.
Data for Wells, Nevada shows an average of 10-12 inches of rain per year. Summer high temperatures average in the high 80s, while winter highs average in the high 30s to low 40s. Winter lows are in the teens in the coldest months from December to February. Year-round average temperature is approximately 44 degrees Fahrenheit with average high temperatures across the entire year a comfortable 60 degrees and average low temperatures around 30.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Deeded Acres: 2,518±
Lease Acres: 6,000±
Total Operating Acres: 8,518±
The property has a single main home, large heated shop and assorted outbuildings. The main home was built in 2016 and features a comfortable open floor plan with multiple modern touches. Upon entering the home, a large stone fireplace occupies the center of large space that unifies the kitchen, dining area and living room. Three downstairs bedrooms are complimented by an upstairs master suite that has good privacy from the balance of the home.
The shop was built in the early 1980s and is a Quonset-style building of around 3,000 square feet, large enough to work on major ranch machinery and have multiple projects going at the same time.
The home/shop compound is just off County Road 232 and surrounded by gravity-fed yard sprinklers that keep the area green throughout the summer. The county provides school pickup for school age children.
Water rights on Clover Valley Ranch date back to early homesteading days and are vested in the ranch. The water rights on the ranch are secure and abundant enough that they have sustained the cattle operation through some of the toughest drought years without the need to reduce stocking numbers. Nevada is in the final stages of its statewide adjudication. Further details are available on request.
Based upon past years, annual taxes are estimated at $3,460.
Located in Game Management Unit 101, the Humboldt Range in northern Nevada regularly produces Boone and Crocket rated mule deer trophies. With an average of two to three landowner mule deer tags each year, the Clover Valley Ranch stands out as a legitimate trophy hunting property for the mule deer enthusiast. Landowner tags are based on a formula that provides one tag for each 50 mule deer counted on the property. The ranch has worked hard over many years to develop food plots and irrigated pasture to attract and hold mule deer, thereby building local populations that help sustain the annual allotment of landowner tags.
The ranch has additional strong wildlife values. Nearly a century of stewardship by the same family has maintained the native habitat on the ranch in excellent condition. Evidence of this is found in the ranch’s early participation in sage grouse research, as well the ranch’s ability to sell sage grouse mitigation credits (to date, the ranch has elected not to do so). Other huntable species on or near the ranch include huns, chukars, pronghorn and, on the adjacent national forest, Himalayan snow cocks and mountain goats.
The eastern flank of the Humboldt Range is an elk-free zone. Per the GMU 101 Hunter Information Sheet, elk hunting objectives for this area are the elimination or drastic reduction of elk populations. The landowner reports that elk are infrequent visitors to the property except to the detached Highway 93 parcel which is protected by an elk fence on its irrigated portion. Elk migrate as far as Highway 93 from the east and occasionally will drift further east, crossing into the ranch in low numbers. Because GMU 101 is an elk depredation unit, it is possible to add cow elk permits to each of the landowner mule deer tags for a nominal fee.
Additional recreational values of the Clover Valley Ranch are an extensive network of ranch roads that provide opportunities for ATV exploration and the adjacent national forest which provides virtually limitless equestrian and pedestrian pursuits. The Humboldt Range contains congressionally designated wilderness, as well as the Ruby Crest Trail, a notable but lightly used backcountry trail system.
Elko County has a “shoot on sight” wolf ordinance, although at the time of writing this brochure, wolf numbers are incipient, at most.
The ranch has been under continuous operation by the same family for around 90 years. During that time, the family has had the opportunity to refine and perfect the operation. Today, the ranch operates at around 400 animal units that includes 330 mother cows with assorted replacements, bulls and associated livestock. This stocking level has withstood the test of time, lasting through the drought years of the past decade without the need to destock.
The annual operation typically begins with calving starting in early April and continuing through the first week of May. Young calves and their mothers start their annual rotation on the ranch’s lower elevation eastern pastures that green up first each year. Calves are branded around Memorial Day each year and by June 20, approximately 90 pair are turned out on the United States Forest Service permit. Those cows remain on the approximately 6,000-acre USFS allotment until the end of September each year. The USFS lease was recently renewed and is good until 2027. The balance of mother cows and the new calf crop move to the ranch’s native pastures above the irrigated ground. All turned out cows are gathered in the fall and return to the base pastures for weening (October) and shipping (November).
Of the 2,518± deeded acres, approximately 900 are irrigated, producing between 1,000 and 1,200 ton of hay annually. The Clover Valley typically requires 2-2.5 ton/cow/year to successfully winter cattle and put them in good shape for spring calving. The total hay production provides enough feed to winter cattle in place on the ranch and in the best years, allows a small margin for hay sales. Approximately 200 acres of the 900 total irrigated acres are actively hayed each year with the balancing irrigated acres utilized as irrigated pasture.
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Bill McDavid was an outstanding and very patient partner in this sale. His expertise in the market and marketing of the property was excellent. I would use him again in a heartbeat to either buy or sell a ranch property.
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