san luis valley

Category Archives for // san luis valley
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    Zapata Tent Camps

    “We’ve got an hour before the sun sets, should we ride out and find some bison?”

    And so kicked off our camp out on the Medano among the wild bison. A combination of laid-back spontaneity and the freedom of having 55,000 acres to yourself set the tone for the evening. With the tents set up and fire ring built, Kate, Jessie and I had our chores done and could go have some fun. We set off north in search of some

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    by Emily Paxson

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    Christmas in Spring

    Photographer Matt DeLorme reflects on his first branding experience at the Chico.

    by Ranchlands Review

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  • Chasing the Green

    This spring feels like it’s pregnant. As if it is about to burst out unchecked as a living being.

    by Duke Phillips

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November 28, 2016

Bison Works 2016

“Magnificent, bizarre and iconic”: read about our encounters with bison and see photos from an action-packed week.

June 6, 2016

Troop 400

“I have no words to say that could express the gratitude we have for your generosity. I was amazed when you answered so quickly and opened your land to us. Not long after our arrival the boys realized how unique this opportunity was to stay on the ranch. We were able to see the buffalo herd in the distance as we arrived late Friday evening. The view and perspective of the dunes was second to none.

We appreciate your hospitality to

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May 9, 2016

Spring

Spring is here in the valley and there are signs of it everywhere. The cottonwoods are greening up, hearty wildflowers are bursting through the ground and wildlife and their young can be spotted all around. Pronghorn, bison, and elk calves pepper the valley and mule deer fawns, jackrabbits, and a variety of birds can be seen around the lodge. I’ve even seen gray foxes just down the road from the ranch, which was very exciting. Spring is truly a special

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May 3, 2016

The Bison Posse

How many adult riders does it take to move a herd of kiddie bison? Fourteen. Obviously.

That was the size of our posse this past week when we pushed the remaining managed bison herd into the corrals on the Medano side of the Zapata Ranch. The wee woolies were getting prepped for their long road trip to the Land of Tatonka aka South Dakota aka the location of our newest ranch management project aka their new prairie home.

I always jump at

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April 14, 2016

Sprung

Spring snuck up on me this year.  I took some time off to head back to Kansas for a week in late March.  There was no mistaking that spring was in full force there, given the golf course-like pastures.  Here in the high desert, it’s a bit more subtle.

Before I left we’d been around a few fences and hadn’t really noticed any green yet.  There was a green hue, but perhaps I thought it was wishful thinking or my mind

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March 12, 2016

Stoked on Stoats

I’ve lived on the ranch for three years now and it seems I have one or two really pivotal wildlife sightings each year. I’ve seen bears, bobcats, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, beaver… An endless list really of varied and exciting species… but today I saw my first Stoat! I had seen Long-Tailed Weasels aka “big stoats” in my mammal books on the area, but never come across one in real life, so I was practically giddy when I saw one pop

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February 22, 2016

A Bison Move

During bison works, we wean some calves and bring them down to the lodge corrals.  Here, we train them to electric fence and acclimate them to seeing a person afoot and horseback so that they are gentle and easy to manage.  Once they’re ready, we turn them out to a small pasture where they can graze and learn to follow a feed truck. We keep them in this small pasture as long as we can so we can keep a close eye

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January 22, 2016

Office Coyote

I spend the majority of my day in the office, but that is not to say I don’t see a lot of incredible things from my window. Lately a lone coyote has been loitering around the lodge grounds, behind the office in particular. The dogs let me know with a low growl every time it’s around and we watch through the large office window until it leaves. Usually it’s just passing through, but today I watched it do a few

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January 19, 2016

A Bison Gather

Yesterday we moved the Zapata bison herd to the Medano side of the ranch.  There are no facilities to process, e.g. pregnancy check, vaccinate, the bison on the Zapata.  Several folks from our sister ranches came to help.  Most of us saddled up and rode out to gather except for Duke Jr. who drove the cake truck.

Tom, from the Chico, and I rode south to bring up 6 heifers from the Elk pasture that Duke Jr. spotted from the mountain

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