Ranch Montana Real Estate, Inc.
PO Box 585 Livingston MT 59047 Bill Steele, Broker-Owner
email@example.com Fax 406.222.3398
The Sage Creek Ranch
Approximately 9,685 deeded acres in a contiguous block. Plus 820 +/- acres of BLM (Federal)
lease. A unique and special property just south of the 245,000 acre Fort Peck Lake.
Comprising the bulk of the private ground on Haxby Point. Flanked on both the east and west
by the 1,100,000 acre Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Controlling access to vast
reaches of public lands and multiple miles of Fort Peck shoreline.
The Sage Creek Ranch is an unmatched recreational opportunity in one of the most
picturesque areas of eastern Montana. Offering a comfortable home, various outbuildings,
horse corrals and a bladed grass airstrip. With an appealing mix of tilled farmland and scenic
native pasture. Abundant live water. And large expanses of rugged backcountry.
Very scenic. Very private. With gently rolling hills. Tremendous open valleys. High bluffs
and ridgelines. Deep canyons. Springy drainages. Massive wetlands. Private streams and
multiple reservoirs. Plus dramatic breaks and badlands country. Productive summer pasture.
With untouched wild lands in every direction.
This is some of the finest wildlife habitat in the state. With trophy-class hunting for 30-inch
mule deer. Whitetail deer, elk and antelope. An abundance of game birds and waterfowl.
And access to unparalleled fishing and boating opportunities on Fort Peck Lake.
Located about 45 miles northeast of Jordan. At the remote end of a county road. In the heart
of Montana’s “other” wild lands, the legendary Missouri Breaks. Boasting a spectacular
viewshed. And absolute seclusion. With year-round access, telephone and electrical power.
Structural improvements include a four bedroom ranch home, recently renovated and ready
for use. Shaded by cottonwoods. The old Haxby store, now utilized as a shop building. A new
set of horse corrals. And a steel Quonset building ideal for equipment storage. Sage Creek
also features the remnants of several historic homesteads.
General Property Description
First, describing the central portion of the property. On the southern boundary of the ranch,
beside Haxby Road, is a modular home originally used as a schoolhouse. Now converted to
a sort of “caretaker’s residence”. Then, as you reach an intersection and turn to enter the
Sage Creek Ranch from the south, you will be on the North Fork of Haxby Road.
Initially you cross the South Fork of Box Elder Creek. Leading to a nice patch of trees. Next
is a high, flat bench to the east. The site of the private grass airstrip. And then the main Box
Elder drainage, with some smaller ponds and a creek running east toward the main building
complex. Shaded by a large stand of cottonwoods. And overlooking the bottoms of lower Box
Elder Creek; a broad valley with substantial wetlands, beside and downstream from the house.
Further north is the bulk of the tilled farmground. Then the Dawson Creek drainage, leading
east toward the remnants of an historic homestead. And into a huge valley with abundant live
water. While west of the road is the premier fenced pasture. About 640 acres, ideal for
holding horses. With a windmill and well feeding a stockwater tank; and a small pond.
Further north, a mile west of the road, is the steel Quonset and some improved pasture. Then,
at the north center of the ranch, a large prairie dog town. And finally, to the north and east,
the Norville Creek drainage. A deep and rugged valley with ponds and an old homestead.
Lands along the east side of the Sage Creek Ranch are perhaps the most appealing. With a
large reservoir, enormous drainages, deep basins, a scattering of high and scenic buttes and
gently rolling hills with additional dog towns. Plus several long ridgelines and open plateaus;
each presenting a spectacular outlook over the waters of Box Elder Creek Bay and Fort Peck
Lake. Separated by wide open valleys offering easy access to the lakeshore.
Lands along the west side of the Sage Creek Ranch are unique in their own right. Heading up
Box Elder Creek, you pass through a series of rugged hills. And go by a couple of large
reservoirs; one nicely shaded by cottonwoods. Then you enter a very scenic area of highly
eroded badlands country. With untapped potential as a fossil hunting ground. Overlooking
thousands of acres of the CM Russell and Fort Peck Lake. With easy and virtually exclusive
access to that vast block of public lands. While further north is another large reservoir,
currently in disrepair. Several steep canyons. And some of the highest and most rugged
ridgelines found on the property. Part of the eastern rim of Sage Creek Bay.
This brief description and a few photos can not do the Sage Creek Ranch justice. Or give you
the feeling of absolute solitude and wide open spaces experienced while on the property.
Where you can look to the far horizons with no sign of man. This ranch must be seen to be
appreciated. Why they call Montana “The Last Best Place”.
Sage Creek has historically been utilized as a working cattle ranch. However, for the past
several years, it has been primarily managed as summer pasture. And for wildlife habitat.
With lush grasses growing to waist deep in many areas. And where rolling hills and valleys
reach a brilliant shade of green after spring and summer rains.
It should also be noted that the Sage Creek Ranch has experienced virtually no problems with
noxious weeds. Due to the limited number of vehicles allowed on the property.
Ranch management can choose from a variety of revenue sources; depending on the intent of
the landowner. General comments follow. Overall, the Sage Creek Ranch is readily capable
of producing an annual income stream somewhere in the range of $ 100,000.00.
Grazing rights are currently leased on a year-to-year basis to the McDonald Ranch.
Convenient; as they own adjacent land. Taking into account acreage unavailable for livestock
as it remains under CRP protection. In general, however, the ranch as it sits today can easily
carry about 1,800 animal unit months (one AUM is pasture for one cow-calf pair for thirty
days). With area grazing leases averaging about $ 20.00 per AUM. So a pasture lease on the
Sage Creek Ranch can bring in about $ 36,000.00 per year, leaving plenty of feed for wildlife.
Additional fencing and cross-fencing would greatly increase this capacity.
Sage Creek also includes roughly 2,700 acres of tilled farmground, once used for dryland hay
and for graincrop production. About 2,100 acres of this is in CRP; with the balance in
improved pasture. All CRP contracts are phasing out in 2010 unless renewed by a new owner.
CRP (the Conservation Reserve Program) is where farmland is re-seeded to native grasses,
with livestock grazing and crop production voluntarily suspended in return for government
payments. Past CRP contracts on Sage Creek have generated up to $ 60,000.00 annually.
While creating some incredible deer, antelope and game bird habitat.
Notice that after expiration of the CRP contracts, this entire 2,700 acres can be seeded to
improved pasture, substantially increasing the carrying capacity of the ranch. Or it can be
leased out for graincrop production. Assuming the average dryland farmground lease rate
in this area of about $ 20.00 per acre, for an estimated $ 54,000.00 per year.
A knowledgeable area wheat grower says that if the 2,700 acres were farmed, he would
recommend winter wheat. This would first take about two years of land preparation, possible
through a long-term lease agreement. Then, common practice would dictate seeding and
harvesting only half the farmed ground each year, leaving the balance in summer fallow.
Alternating year to year. The 2,700 acres has deep sandy loam soil, and once in production
this ground should comfortably support a harvest (on a ten year average) of about 30 bushels
per acre. With wheat selling at $ 5.00 to $ 6.00 per bushel as an average price, the annual crop
should easily sell for well over $ 200,000.00. But when equipment, production and shipping
costs are taken into account, a farming lease remains (likely) the best option.
There are also counter-cyclical government programs (to stabilize farm incomes when
commodity prices vary), which have paid as much as $ 8,000.00 per year to the Sage Creek
Ranch. And the State of Montana will help pay costs involved in new reservoir construction;
as well as for riparian lands preservation (fencing livestock away from wetlands). And,
although the outside leasing of hunting rights has been suspended on Sage Creek for many
years, such rights are readily capable of bringing in $ 10,000.00 or more annually.
Another amenity which makes this property special is its diverse and abundant water
resources. With perhaps 15 linear miles of springy drainages plus several reservoirs. One
nicely shaded by cottonwoods. Two with potential as warm water fisheries. With additional
sites for possible reservoir construction in the future. There are also several wells, including
two set up with windmills to feed stockwater tanks. It is especially notable in this area that
drilled water can generally be located on the ranch at a depth of about 100 feet.
Wildlife and Recreation
This is a ranch ideal for the outdoorsman. With plenty of room to roam; and private access
to vast reaches of pristine public lands. These are the wide open spaces. For uncounted miles
of backcountry hiking, horseback riding and ATV travel. With an abundance of wildlife,
diverse terrain and breathtaking scenery.
Sage Creek hosts a substantial number of mule deer, many of trophy class. A friend of the
owner, who is an avid and experienced bowhunter, recently spotted “four of the largest mule
deer bucks he had ever seen; two with antler spreads of well over thirty inches”. Such bucks
can be seen with some regularity.
There are also large numbers of quality whitetail deer. Plus sizable herds of antelope. And
an occasional big bull elk; which can be sighted on the property at any time, but which
generally remain concentrated on the more timbered CM Russell lands to the west and south.
Sage Creek also holds an abundance of game birds and waterfowl. And don’t forget the
unparalleled fishing and boating opportunities on Fort Peck Lake.
Paleontology and Archaeology
The Hell Creek Geological Formation, a vast prehistoric graveyard, is located in the badlands
of the CM Russell. Consisting of highly eroded breaks country where numerous (complete and
partial) fossilized dinosaur remains have been unearthed. Where such remains, as well as
imprints of prehistoric plant and sea life, are relatively common. As are artifacts from the
American Indian and homestead era occupations.
The Hell Creek formation extends into the property. A paleontologist affiliated with a
nationally known museum recently spent a day on the Sage Creek Ranch and documented a
wide array of fossil finds. Including claws and other evidence of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Although further excavation will be necessary to substantiate such a find. Plus fossilized
remains of a champtosaur, a duck bill dinosaur, prehistoric crocodiles and turtles; and various
dinosaur “droppings”. He also noted evidence of extensive use by early Native Americans.
Some comments on the Tyrannosaurus Rex. A dinosaur dating to the late Cretaceous Period,
about 67 million years ago. With a mature specimen estimated at well over 40 feet in length;
and a live weight exceeding 7 tons. The first Tyrannosaurus Rex ever located was in the Hell
Creek, as were at least six of the world’s most complete and best preserved T-Rex finds. One
set of Hell Creek remains was recently proven to contain soft tissue; extraordinary. This out
of about 20 good specimens ever found worldwide, plus perhaps another dozen incomplete
finds. A quality T-Rex specimen, mostly complete, sold in October of 1997 for roughly $ 8.4
Adjacent Private Lands
Sage Creek is very secluded, bordering public lands for over twelve miles along its outer
perimeter. It also borders three large ranch holdings for a total of about nine miles. It is
notable that nearby ranching families are very sociable and are always willing to lend a hand.
While most have been operating in the area for generations, they remain welcoming to
newcomers who show a respect for the land.
In addition to the Sage Creek Ranch, only two other private holdings are situated on Haxby
Point. Adjacent to the north is the King Edwards property, roughly 3,300 acres deeded,
owned by the McDonald Ranch. Just a portion of the approximate 170,000 acres currently
owned or leased in the area by the McDonalds, who run 2,300 mother cows and are based
about 15 miles to the south. Further north and west is the old Hoolie Edwards property.
Roughly 2,370 acres deeded. Also held by a much larger ranch headquartered to the south.
Both of these ranches are in native pasture, are primarily used for summer grazing, and have
older sets of ranch buildings.
There is no other private land on Haxby Point. These three ranches combined border public
lands for over 25 miles along their outer perimeters; and control access to the bulk of that
State, BLM and CM Russell acreage. Comprising perhaps 40 square miles (roughly 25,000
acres) of rugged backcountry; which fronts on over 50 miles of Fort Peck lakeshore. With
additional private access to vast reaches of the CM Russell to the south and west.
Sage Creek is also bordered by the 19,000 acre (6,000 deeded acre) Woods T Bar 6 Ranch
along part of its southern boundary; and by a large block of unimproved pasture, held by the
Isaacs Spear J Ranch, at its extreme southeast corner. There are no small land holdings in this
area. This is big ranch country.
Location and Access
The Sage Creek Ranch is located in Montana’s least populated area. At the remote northeast
corner of Garfield County. Which encompasses nearly 3.17 million acres (4,953 square miles)
and has just 1,230 inhabitants (2002 census).
Sage Creek is about 45 miles northeast of Jordan Montana; and 40 miles from a paved
roadway (Montana State Highway 200). It is one of only three private holdings accessed by
the North Fork of Haxby County Road.
The North Fork, which runs up through the ranch, dead-ends less than a mile past the
property at the McDonald buildings. Without touching public lands. While the East Fork of
Haxby Road dead-ends just two miles past the property at the (adjacent) Woods T Bar 6
Ranch headquarters. Also without touching public lands.
There is no public access to the surrounding BLM and CM Russell lands on Haxby Point;
except along a single, barely utilized road into the CM Russell in the southeast portion of the
Sage Creek Ranch. Terrain features, coupled with the absolute prohibition on the use of
motor vehicles off “numbered” roads on the Refuge, makes it virtually impossible for the
public to access any Federal lands on Haxby Point beyond the southern edge of Box Elder Bay.
So the bulk of the CM Russell east of the ranch; all Federal land at the north end of Haxby
Point; and the vast rugged areas west and southwest of the ranch are inaccessible to the
general public unless they come in by boat.
Jordan, a friendly town which welcomes visitors, has a population of about 400. It offers a
couple of cafes, two bars, two motels, a nice grocery store, medical center, drug store,
hardware store, an agricultural supply store and two gas stations. Plus a paved 4,300 foot by
75 foot public airstrip, suitable for small jet aircraft. Jordan is about a 175 mile drive from
Billings, Montana's largest city, which has the nearest large commercial airport.
A bladed grass airstrip, suitable for small propellor planes, is located on a large bench on the
Sage Creek Ranch. To get a true sense of the isolation offered by this property, realize that
it is about 17 air miles north (across Fort Peck Lake), 15 air miles east (again across the Lake),
35 air miles south, and 140 air miles west to the nearest paved roadways.
Price: $ 7,700,000.00 Cash at Closing.
Seller may execute an IRC 1031 tax-deferred exchange at closing.
All mineral rights held by Seller will convey.
2009 Property Taxes: $ 11,335.10.
This property is ideally suited to the application of a Conservation Easement. This can result
in substantial Federal Income Tax advantages for Purchaser.
NOTE: Owner will consider splitting this property.
NOTE: Adjacent private lands (The King Edwards Ranch and the Woods T Bar 6 Ranch) are
also available to expand this purchase. Details are available from RanchMT on request.
Legal Land Description
This property has not been surveyed and is being sold by legal land description. Evidence of
Title will provide the exact description.
Acreages given are approximate, using the best available sources.
The bulk of the Sage Creek Ranch is fenced and cross-fenced to manage livestock. Most
perimeter boundaries and Section corners are known. Each Section is approximately one
square mile or 640 acres. BLM is Bureau of Land Management (Federal) land. BLM lease
costs are minimal.
The Legal Land Description of the Sage Creek Ranch follows.
Sage Creek Ranch - Legal Land Description
T24N R41E PMM
Section 26: E1/2SW1/4, SE1/4.
Section 33: W1/2SE1/4, SE1/2SE1/4.
Section 34: S1/2.
Section 35: All.
T23N R41E PMM
Section 01: All. (BLM Lease)
Section 02: All.
Section 03: All.
Section 04: E1/2NW1/4, NE1/4, S1/2.
Section 04: W1/2NW1/4. (BLM Lease)
Section 05: SE1/4.
Section 05: NE1/4 (portion). (BLM Lease)
Section 08: NE1/4.
Section 09: All.
Section 10: All.
Section 11: All.
Section 12: All.
Section 13: All.
Section 14: All.
Section 15: N1/2, E1/2SW1/4, SE1/4.
Section 22: E1/2NE1/4.
Section 23: N1/2, NE1/4SW1/4, N1/2SE1/4.
Section 24: N1/2, N1/2S1/2.
T23N R42E PMM
Section 06: W1/2.
Section 07: NW1/4, S1/2NE1/4, N1/2S1/2, N1/2S1/2S1/2.
Information is from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed by agent.
Subject to errors, omissions, changes, prior sale and withdrawal by owner.
NOTE: A Listing Agent Must Be Present On All Showings.