$6,000,000 • 2,826 acres
Reynolds Creek Land Company is a 450± head, year-round cattle operation located in the foothills of the Owyhee Mountains 12 miles southwest of Murphy, the county seat for Owyhee County, and 50 miles southwest of the state capitol of Boise. Family owned and operated for nearly three decades, the ranch consists of 2,826± deeded acres in five individual tracts and covers 50,308 acres of adjoining Bureau of Land Management (BLM) grazing allotments and 1,975 acres of State of Idaho leased land. The BLM allotments and state land support a combined total of 2,893 animal unit months (AUMs). The footprint of the ranch spans approximately 25 miles of varied terrain from low elevation winter pasture along the Snake River at the north end of the ranch to mountainous summer range to the south near the historic mining town of Silver City.
Situated at the upper end of the Reynolds Creek Valley, the 663± acre headquarters tract lies at the heart of the ranch. Reynolds Creek flows through the headquarters for about a mile providing water for approximately 300 acres of flood irrigated hay fields and pastures as well as habitat for resident mule deer, pheasants, and quail. A large irrigated terrace perched above the creek is used for seasonal pasture and provides wonderful views across the valley. The headquarters features a practical and efficient set of building improvements. These include a restored 19th century log barn, a heated shop building with concrete floor, working corrals with cattle scales and covered hydraulic squeeze chute, feed bunks, livestock pens, and utility buildings. There are also two comfortable homes at the headquarters: the original, restored home with two bedrooms/one bathroom located near the ranch entrance and the other with three bedrooms/two bathrooms situated in the ranch compound. Access to the headquarters from Murphy and State Highway 78 is year-round over maintained county roads.
The largest of the ranch’s deeded tracts is referred to as the upper field and located four miles south of the ranch at the head of the valley. Bordered by BLM lands under permit to the ranch, the upper field is undeveloped and encompasses 1,717± acres of diverse highlands that feature two miles of Reynolds Creek, numerous springs and small creeks, beaver ponds, and stands of fir, aspen, and juniper that provide excellent habitat for elk and deer. Access to the upper field is over a private road that is available only to the ranch and several adjacent landowners. As the periods of use on the adjoining allotments wind down, a portion of the ranch’s cattle will move onto the upper place in early August, with the balance transitioning there in mid-September. In October, calves are weaned and brought back to the headquarters, while cows remain at the upper place into November.
The ranch also includes three smaller, undeveloped deeded parcels. Located midway between the headquarters and the upper field is the 120± acre horse pasture tract. The ranch utilizes this fenced parcel during the summer as pasture for younger pairs and saddle horses. The 160± acre Kane Springs tract lies about three miles east of the headquarters along Rabbit Creek Road (one of the two routes to Murphy) and is the site of a year-round spring that serves as a water source for the adjoining grazing allotment. Lying just east of the community of Murphy is the 165± acre Murphy tract. This fenced parcel adjoins the ranch’s winter unit and serves as both a stock water resource from an on-site well and a feed yard for those cattle coming off BLM winter pastures at the end of February.
From an operational perspective, the ranch flows effectively and efficiently. The entire herd is turned out onto spring BLM pastures around May 1st and moves south and up-gradient following green grass to higher elevation summer pastures. Beginning in early August, a portion of the herd leaves BLM and moves onto the upper field, with the remainder of the cattle moving off of BLM and onto the upper field in mid-September. Approximately 200 head spend the winter at the headquarters, while in early November, 250 head trail to BLM winter pastures at the north end of the ranch. These cattle remain on BLM until the end of February, at which point they move to the Murphy tract and are fed hay for two months before turning onto spring pasture with the rest of the cattle in early May. Stock water is available throughout the ranch from springs, creeks, and wells.
Owyhee County, the state’s second largest county in area, occupies nearly 7,700 square miles of broad sagebrush plateaus, basalt-lined canyons, and juniper-covered mountains and foothills and offers an array of outdoor recreational opportunities. There is excellent boating, fishing, and waterfowl hunting on the Snake River, with boat ramps just a short drive from the headquarters. Elk, mule deer, and antelope are found in good number across the area, while upland game birds, including pheasants, partridge, and quail, thrive in the county’s diverse habitat and mild climate. Reynolds Creek Land Company lies within hunt unit 40, and the owner is eligible to apply for landowner appreciation permits in the unit. Off-highway vehicle recreation is also popular in the area, and the BLM has established an extensive trail network for motorcycles and ATVs served by three main trailheads that feature staging areas and loading ramps.