When the Doggett family decided to sell Camas Creek Cattle and Sheep Company this spring, it was after a considerable amount of thought. After all, the ranch has been tended to by their family for over a century.
Camas Creek Cattle and Sheep Company is almost 30,000 deeded acres located in a classic central Montana setting, featuring an open valley rimmed with the distant mountain peaks of the Big and Little Belt Mountain Ranges. Camas Creek flows through the heart of the ranch for over seven and a half miles, creating a tree-filled riparian corridor of 1,200 acres of native grass rich with wildlife. The ranch also includes over 2,000 irrigated acres, a number of smaller creeks and two reservoirs, Doggett and Ayers, 30 and 20 acres in size, respectively. It was this setting that was memorialized in Montana author Ivan Doig’s famed 1978 book “This House of Sky” which captures his childhood on the ranch, where his father ran sheep.
“We work hard on the ranch, but everybody has to work hard these days,” says owner Jock Doggett. “You aren’t going to make it in ranching if you are lazy, but no group has a monopoly on hard work. We truly are the luckiest guys in the world to get to do what we do every day. There are many seven day work weeks but you don’t mind digging a ditch together, or chasing cows or sitting in a dingy bar when you’re with good people.”
Swan Land Company, a Bozeman real estate agency specializing in complex ranch and farm properties has worked on some of the largest land transactions in the history of the state of Montana, including the Broken O Ranch (2012, 124,000 acres, $132.5 million) and Climbing Arrow Ranch (2021, 80,000 acres, $136.5 million). Now they are guiding the Doggetts through the process of selling one of Montana’s historic properties.
“A ranch of this size, scope, and condition is rarely offered on today’s market,” said Mike Swan, owner and managing broker at Swan Land Company. “The Doggett family has been an incredible steward of this land for multiple generations. At every turn, this property showcases their hard work, grit, commitment, and love for the place. We are honored to represent the Doggett Family in this process and to list this pristine part of Montana’s legacy ranching history. The Doggetts have been a pillar of the Montana ranching community and the community of White Sulphur Springs for decades.”
The ranch currently supports a cattle operation running about 1,800 head and during a normal winter the ranch will feed about two tons of hay per cow. Recreational opportunities on the ranch itself are numerous including hunting, fishing, horseback riding and enjoyment of all the wildlife that passes through the ranch. Wildlife is naturally drawn to the area and the lush corridor created by Camas Creek. Bears, elk, mule deer, antelope, coyotes, and foxes can often be seen. The reservoir and ranch topography attract several species of birds including mountain bluebirds, hawks, ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, and osprey.
The big game hunting on the ranch itself is of extremely high quality and has historically been leased to Avalanche Basin Outfitters based in White Sulphur Springs. Their hunting lease is in place for the 2023 hunting season after which there are no further commitments. The outfitter, who typically brings in about 25 hunters annually, hunts both archery and rifle and is incredibly careful not to stress the herds. Several elk herds ranging in size from 150 to 200 animals traverse the ranch which is a safe haven for them and far away from any public pressure.
“The Community is rapidly changing, but for the most part there is still a Maybery aspect to it, there is still a lot of that here,” said Doggett. “People here still have that old time work ethic and get along with their neighbors and even if they don’t like each other, they are still the ones that will come help you when your house is on fire. It’s a good community. There are a lot of newcomers buying property in the area and all of them that I have met are just wonderful people.”
Doggett owns the ranch with his wife, Jamie Doggett, who was also born in Montana.
“As they said in the movie True Grit, ‘we’ve had us some lively times’ and we sure have. We are just very fortunate people, and have had interesting lives. We understand that a wonderful spouse and a good family are essential, and we’ve had both,” said Jamie.
Blog by Swan Land Co.