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Swan Land Properties
Hunting and Fishing on Well-Balanced Cattle Ranch
Powell County

WINDY MOUNTAIN RANCH

Sold
  • Deer Lodge, Montana

  • 2,751 Deeded

  • $4,500,000

Windy Mountain Ranch offers a quality commercial cattle operation with productive irrigation, big game hunting and immediate access to fishing on the Clark Fork River.  The Ranch, located in the Deer Lodge Valley – the heart of Montana’s historic cattle country, encompasses 2,751± deeded acres in one contiguous block.  The 361± irrigated acres, of which 340± are under pivot, are irrigated with excellent senior water rights out of the Clark Fork River and Peterson Creek with a combination of center pivot and about 20 acres of hand line.  The Ranch also has a State of Montana lease on an adjoining 1,903± -acre parcel making a very well-blocked 4,654± total acre Ranch.

The current ownership and management have worked diligently for years to improve the pivot irrigation, pasture fencing, stock-water network and functional appropriate improvements in order to optimize the efficiency of the ranch operation.  This diligent effort has created an efficient and well-run cow-calf cattle operation that comfortably runs over 200 AUs on the solid hard-grass pastures during the spring, summer and early fall months, and on the lush riparian and irrigated hay fields during the late fall and winter months.  The well-designed pasture network is used on a rotational basis to provide flexibility to utilize and optimize the primary ranch resource – grass.  The productive irrigated hay base, planted in alfalfa hay and grass, historically have generated between 4.5 and 5 tons per acre providing all of the annual feed necessary for the Ranch plus a typical surplus of over 1,000 tons of hay that generates solid annual ranch revenue.

The working corrals are primarily steel-pipe construction and handle the demands of the commercial cattle operation effectively.  There is a covered facility that houses a hydraulic Silencer chute, and a well-designed and efficient network of sorting pens and corrals.  This well-built set of working improvements will comfortably handle large numbers of cattle.  With excellent access to all-season county roads and a certified 50,000-pound scale on site, cows are shipped directly from the Ranch.

Well-balanced ranch operations that are well blocked up are becoming difficult to find and are a premium in today’s market.  Windy Mountain Ranch will check all the boxes for buyers looking for a very productive and blocked-up agricultural operation that is supplemented by recreation attributes, solid working facilities and appropriate improvements.

Windy Mountain Ranch is easily accessible year-round on well-maintained county roads, coming from both the north and south.  Deer Lodge is located about 5 miles north of the Ranch and the Racetrack Exit off Interstate 90 is about 5 miles south.  This proximity to services, with convenient and consistent road access adds to the functionality of the operation.The city of Deer Lodge – the county seat of Powell County, with a population of just over 3,000, provides all of the basic services and is home to many churches, museums, and a progressive business community. The recent downtown-beautification project enhances the balanced and healthy lifestyle of Deer Lodge. An excellent elementary- and high-school system, the Pre-K through 12th grade public schools offers a 14-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio with quality teachers and good parent involvement.  The high school is categorized as a Class B school and provides a great learning environment and competitive interscholastic athletic programs that compete in a variety of boys’ and girls’ sports.


AIRPORTS

The Ranch is within an hour and a half from three commercial airports with private FBOs:

Helena Regional Airport Authority – Alaska Airlines, Delta, and United 
Bert Mooney Airport, Butte – Alpine Air Express and Delta
Missoula International Airport – Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, and United

For private aircraft, fuel service is available at the Deer Lodge–Powell County Airport located four miles west of Deer Lodge City Center.  At an elevation of 4,688 feet, the 5,800-foot asphalt runway is in good condition and can be contacted on CTAF frequency 122.9.  Anaconda’s Bowman Field Airport (3U3) provides two asphalt runways that are in fair to good condition.  The airport sits at an elevation of 5,030′ above sea level and can be contacted on CTAF frequency 122.80.  The airport is suitable for private aircraft and is easily accessible.  Additional information is available on their website: http://www.airnav.com/airport/3U3.


Approximate driving distances from Windy Mountain Ranch to other Montana cities are:
Deer Lodge
Anaconda
Butte
Helena
Missoula
Bozeman
    5 miles
22 miles
35 miles
71 miles
85 miles
119 miles

 

Windy Mountain Ranch contains 2,751± deeded acres of which about 361± acres are under irrigation.  The State of Montana lease is comprised of about 1,903± total acres.

The total 2,751± deeded acreage of Windy Mountain Ranch is classified generally as follows:
340 Acres
21 Acres
2,516 Acres
194 Acres
20 Acres
Pivot Irrigation
Hand-Line Irrigation
Native Range and Pasture
Sub-Irrigated Pasture / River Bottom
Under Improvements

Windy Mountain Ranch has been part of a larger commercial cow-calf operation and the current ranch is estimated by the Sellers to carry about 200 Animal Units on a year-round basis with the annual sale of excess hay.  Future management will have several operational options, including expanding the irrigation network and seeding more hay ground, which would increase hay yields to carry more cattle through the winter months or provide an annual revenue stream with additional hay sales.  Typically, ranchers in this area feed between two to two-and-a-half tons of hay per cow from late December to mid-May – contingent on the severity of the winter and operational timing, with weaning done in October or November.  Calving season on the Ranch typically begins in late February and winds up in late March.  The cows graze the irrigated ground during the late fall and are then moved to the sub-irrigated pastures around the improvements and along the Clark Fork River during feeding and through the calving season.

With a consistent soil profile, the irrigated ground has historically yielded around four to four-and-half tons of alfalfa hay per acre on two cuttings.  The regrowth is typically utilized as high-protein irrigated-pasture grazing in the late fall when the cows are rotated from summer pasture, weaned, and shipped.

Irrigation water for the Ranch is provided from several sources including the Clark Fork River and Peterson Creek.  Windy Mountain Ranch has well-established water rights dating back to 1866.  Clark Fork River water is diverted through the Valiton Ditch from a point just upstream of the Ranch.  The Valiton Ditch is shared with one other downstream user.

 

The elevation gain on Windy Mountain Ranch is approximately 900 feet with the highest point just over 5,500 feet above sea level on the east portion of the Ranch and the lowest point of 4,600 feet on the west side along the Clark Fork River.
Average maximum temperatures in June, July and August range from 71° to 80° Fahrenheit.  In December, January and February average maximum temperatures are between 32° and 38° Fahrenheit.  Summer nights average about 43° Fahrenheit.  Winter average minimum is between 9° and 17° Fahrenheit.
This is an area that receives a good amount of sunshine throughout the year with an average of 186 sunny days.  The average annual precipitation in the valley is 11 inches.
 

 

The current and former owners of Windy Mountain Ranch recognize the importance of protecting and preserving natural habitat, agricultural productivity and scenic value.  A portion of the Ranch has been placed in a conservation easement held by Five Valleys Land Trust based in Missoula, Montana.  Copies of the easement, maps and addition details are available to qualified buyers by contacting the Swan Land Company Bozeman Office at 406.522.7342.
 

All improvements on the Ranch, including interior and perimeter fencing, irrigation network, cattle handling facilities and houses appear to be in good condition and very functional.  An ongoing and active program is in place for maintenance and upkeep of the improvements.  Unlike some cattle ranches in today’s market, Windy Mountain Ranch has appropriate and functional improvements that support the operation.  The next owners will not be burdened by paying for excessive improvements that do not return capital.

There are three comfortable houses on the Ranch that are utilized by family and management on a full-time basis and one additional home that is utilized seasonally by friends and guests.  All of the houses are situated along a bluff that overlooks the vibrant Clark Fork River corridor and offer expansive views of the Flint Creek and Pintler Mountain Ranges to the west.


Owner’s Home

The ‘Brick House’, which the current owners utilize as their primary residence, is a very comfortable family home with a beautifully remodeled kitchen that has commanding mountain and river-corridor views. The 2,984± square foot four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is heated with forced-air heat and has air conditioning.  The home has a separate well and septic system.  There is a nicely fenced and landscaped yard with mature trees, an underground sprinkler system, and two concrete RV pads with water and power.


Modular House

The 1,971± square-foot modular house, built in 2005, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a nice screened-in porch.  The house is heated with electric forced air, and has an electric hot-water heater.  The fenced yard is nicely landscaped with mature trees and has an exceptional tree house.  The house is on a separate well and septic system.  Located near the home is a detached oversized two-car garage, and a 60′ x 40′ heated shop with concrete floor that is easily accessed through double doors.  The shop is complete with running water and a bathroom.  Also near the home is a 30′ x 36′ parts shop which is heated and has a concrete floor.  Attached to the shop is a 30′ x 54′ pole barn with dirt floor that contains five parking bays that are utilized for covered equipment storage.


WORKING FACILITIES

The working facilities on the Ranch are a well-thought-out network of barns, sheds, pens, vet rooms, and corrals.  This provides a very functional base for commercial cattle operation and handles the current animal units comfortably.  Typically the cows and heifers will calve out in the surrounding calving pens, which all have reliable year-round stock water, but when necessary, these heavies can be easily brought into either the pole barn or the calving barn.  Both of these facilities are set up with jugs and vet rooms.


Pole Barn

The 105′ x 180′ pole barn has a dirt floor and contains covered feed storage, 16 bays of equipment parking, and a heated vet room.  The covered cattle-working facility is comprised of a network of pens including a sweep-and-alley system that leads to the hydraulic Silencer squeeze chute.  The center section of this pole barn has been used historically as a small roping arena, but is currently utilized as covered storage for small-bale horse hay.


Calving Barn

The 60′ x 30′ calving barn is heated and has five permanent calving jugs, an additional jug with temporary panels and a large vet room with hot water.  This facility, which is well insulated and heated with natural gas, is able to maintain comfortable working conditions in any weather.


Equipment Shed

There is a well-designed equipment shed that is a 36′ x 108′ metal building with 10′ x 18′ roll-up doors on each end providing for convenient drive-through access.  The shed is complete with electrical service and has a dirt floor.

The working facilities are serviced by two electrical lines with 200-amp service running to the pole barn and 100-amp service running to the calving barn that also runs the certified scales and tanks.  There is a 50,000-pound scale that is certified annually in conjunction with the two 10,000-gallon buried fuel tanks.  The buried tanks – one diesel and the other gasoline, also have an active monitoring system.  There are also two 1,000 gallon above-ground fuel tanks and ample space for equipment and material storage.

The Ranch has several historic log buildings that are now utilized for storage.  The largest, a 16′ x 33′ log building with a metal roof, is very functional and has water and electricity.  It has been used as the primary location for additional storage and for family 4-H projects over the years.

 

For a complete list of water rights please contact the Swan Land Company Bozeman Office at 406.522.7342.

All water rights in Montana are subject to eventual re-adjudication by the Montana Water Court and, as a result of that process, may be changed as to the validity, amount, priority date, place of use, and other such changes as the Court determines.  The Sellers have made all of the filings currently required and will transfer the water rights as they currently stand with no warranty of future viability.

The Sellers will convey with the Ranch 100% of whatever mineral, oil, gas, geo-thermal, hydro-carbon and gravel rights they actually own, subject to reservations by previous owners.  The Sellers make no representation as to the quantity or quality of any mineral or other sub-surface rights appurtenant to the Ranch.

The real estate taxes for 2018 were approximately $8,000.
 

The Sellers hereby make known that there may be variations between the deeded property lines and the location of the existing fence boundary lines on Windy Mountain Ranch.  The Sellers make no warranties with regard to the location of the fence lines in relationship to the deeded property lines, nor do the Sellers make any warranties or representations with regard to specific acreage within the fenced property lines.
The Sellers are selling Windy Mountain Ranch in its “as is-where is” condition which includes the location of the fences as they now exist.  Boundaries shown on any accompanying maps are approximate.  The maps are not to scale and are for visual aid only.  The accuracy of the maps and information portrayed thereon is not guaranteed nor warranted.

 

Electricity is provided through Northwestern Energy.  Telephone service is provided via CenturyLink, and internet is available via HughesNet or RF Wave.  Bulk propane is provided by Amerigas.  There is good cell-phone coverage with Verizon available throughout the Ranch.

The hunting and fishing opportunities on the Ranch are truly exceptional.  There is immediate access to the Clark Fork River from the Ranch and offers great fishing on several miles of river and great riparian habitat for white tail deer and waterfowl that dominate the lower portion of the Ranch.  The upper Clark Fork River has been historically challenged by upstream mining, but has rebounded incredibly well in the past several decades to become a great fishery that is ideal for summer wet wading or even floating with a small raft or pontoon boat.  The winding nature of the river lends itself to riffles, deep pools and undercut banks that are filled with brown trout that regularly exceed 20 inches – sometimes by a lot.  There are prolific hatches on the river for fly fishers, and conventional tackle has been used very successfully by the owners over the years.  No matter how good the fishing is on a given ranch, there will come a day when avid anglers will want to explore other options and there are several notable and famous Montana rivers within close proximity to the Windy Mountain Ranch including the Big Hole, Rock Creek, Blackfoot, Little Blackfoot and Missouri Rivers.  All are world-renowned trout fisheries and offer ardent anglers fishing opportunities on a year-round basis.

The big-game and waterfowl hunting on the Ranch is very high quality and the current owners regularly harvest trophy bull elk, white tail and mule deer.  There are also good numbers of antelope on the Ranch, including some great bucks.  The Ranch is part of Montana FWP District 215, (http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting) which allows deer and elk hunting with a general tag, but antelope tags require an annual draw.  Located in the corridor of the Pacific Flyway, the duck and goose hunting on the Ranch can be nothing short of phenomenal, as large flocks of water fowl descend on the productive Deer Lodge Valley on their annual journey to the south for the winter.  Late fall fishing is very good during waterfowl season and the Ranch ‘cast and blast’ is an embraced event.

The surrounding area offers a plethora of fishing and hunting, golfing, boating, skiing as well as other winter-time activities.  Deerlodge National Forest contains more than 1,000 miles of fishing streams, 140 lakes, 629 miles of trails, and 43,629 acres of wilderness. Georgetown Lake is approximately 3,700 acres and offers year-round activities.  This blue ribbon fishery is home to trophy-sized rainbow and brook trout, as well as kokanee salmon.  Ice fishing is also popular in the winter.  Boating, jet skiing and canoeing or kayaking are all options to cool off after an adventurous hike or mountain-bike ride on the countless trails surrounding the lake.
Within two hours of the Ranch there are two downhill snow-sport mountains.  Discovery Ski Area, just west of Anaconda, is a great family ski hill offering diverse terrain for all levels of skiing and snowboarding.  From the 67 runs with 2,100 patrolled acres of skiing you can enjoy the stunning vista overlooking Georgetown Lake.  Great Divide Ski Area offers 140 trails and six terrain parks spread out over three mountain peaks and three distinct valleys on an area covering 1,600 acres and miles of winter entertainment.
There are four golf courses within an hour of Windy Mountain Ranch.  The Deer Park Golf Course, with majestic Mount Powell as a backdrop, is located approximately two miles west of Deer Lodge.  This public course is a 3,200-yard 9-hole layout and offers plenty of challenges along with beautiful scenery.  The private Rock Creek Cattle Company boasts one of Tom Doak’s finest private golf courses as its centerpiece.  The course has won numerous awards including Links Magazine – listed in the 100 Most Prestigious Private Golf Courses In The World – 2013, as well as multiple awards from Golfweek including #1 Best Residential Golf Course.  The 9-hole course at Anaconda Country Club, which opened in 1918, is well maintained and very reasonably priced.  The Old Works Golf Club – A Jack Nicklaus Course, offers 18 holes and has continually been ranked as one of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses by Golf Digest.

Well-balanced and blocked-up cattle operations in Montana are rare in today’s land market, especially one with the versatility, productivity, hunting and fishing of Windy Mountain Ranch.  The Sellers have worked diligently for many years to improve the irrigation, pasture fencing, stock-water network and improvements in order to optimize the efficiency of the Ranch.  This effort has resulted in one of the finest balanced cattle operations on the market today with a strong irrigated hay base that produces over 1,000 tons of excess hay annually.

Those who have tracked ranch values in Southwest Montana for the past several years will find the Ranch’s offering price to be very competitive in today’s market.  The Ranch is a must-see for producers looking for consistent water and grass in one of Montana’s classic ranching communities.

The Sellers intend to execute an IRC 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange and buyers may be required to accommodate those timelines.

OFFERING PRICE and CONDITIONS OF SALE
Windy Mountain Ranch, as previously described herein, is offered at US $4,500,000.00 Cash or Terms acceptable solely at the discretion of the Sellers.  The conditions of sale are as follows:
  1. All offers to purchase or letters of intent must be in writing and accompanied by a wire transfer of 5.0% of the purchase price to the escrow account at Stewart Title Company in Missoula;
  2. Earnest money deposits will be placed in escrow with Stewart Title Company in Missoula;
  3. All Prospective Buyers must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Sellers absolute financial capability to purchase the Ranch prior to scheduling an inspection of the Ranch;
  4. The Sellers will provide and pay for a standard owner’s title insurance policy.  Any endorsements requested by the Buyer or any lender will be at Buyer’s expense.  Title to the real property will be conveyed by a deed;
  5. All of the water right claims controlled by the Ranch will be transferred to the Buyer at Closing, and all of the mineral rights which the Sellers actually own will be conveyed to the Buyer at Closing;
  6. Buyers’ Brokers are welcomed and invited to contact Tim Anderson in our Bozeman Office for information regarding Cooperation Policies.
The Sellers reserve the right to effect a tax-deferred exchange for other real property in accordance with provisions in Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.  The Buyer will not be required to incur any additional expenses nor to step into the chain of title on any property which the Sellers may acquire.
This entire Offering is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice and approval of purchase by the Sellers.  Information regarding land classifications, acreages, carrying capacities, crop yields, potential profits, etc., are intended only as general guidelines and have been obtained from sources deemed reliable; however, accuracy is not warranted or guaranteed by the Sellers or Swan Land Company.  Prospective Buyers should verify all information to their sole and complete satisfaction.
TERMS OF INSPECTION
Swan Land Company has been authorized by the Seller to act as their Exclusive Real Estate Broker on the sale of Windy Mountain Ranch.  Since 2002, we have focused on the brokerage of significant ranches, farms, and recreational properties throughout Rocky Mountain West.
This Offering is based on information believed to be correct; however, it is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, and change or withdrawal without notice.  Information contained herein has been provided by the Sellers or obtained from other sources deemed reliable.  The Agent does not, however, guarantee accuracy and recommends that any Prospective Buyer conduct an independent investigation.
Timothy Anderson
With over two decades of experience in real estate and a background in science and technology, I’ve been honored to serve and represent some of Montana’s finest farm, ranch, and recreational properties. Before my time with Swan, I co-founded Montana Real Estate Co. with my wife, where we guided the successful sales effort for Moonlight ...
Meet the Broker
Swan Land Broker, Tim Anderson

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