CHEYENNE – Each year, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department recognizes as Landowners of the Year those who have made exemplary efforts related to wildlife management and habitat improvement on private land. These landowners, through their conservation efforts and by allowing access, have contributed to the effective management of wildlife on public and private land. Recipients demonstrate ethical use and stewardship of Wyoming’s natural resources.
The 2012 Landowners of the Year were honored at a July 9 dinner at Silver Spur Ranch (Elk Hollow Lodge) near Saratoga. Scott Talbott, director of Game and Fish, welcomed landowners and guests, and Michael Healy, president of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, addressed attendees before the awards presentation.
Ryan and Teresa Fieldgrove (landowners), Fieldgrove Ranch
Ryan and Teresa Fieldgrove and their children, Anna, Tommy and Elisa, run a cow/calf operation on 10,000 acres of private, state and Bureau of Land Management land 20 miles northeast of Buffalo. The Fieldgrove children are the fifth generation to live and work on the ranch.
Ryan took over a share of the ranch in 1999 when his parents retired. As he considered conservation efforts on the ranch, he realized the most successful ranches seemed to be those with grass left over each year. He realized that adopting innovative conservation practices would save the ranch time, labor and money. These concepts have guided the Fieldgroves’ management decisions for the past 14 years.
The Fieldgrove Ranch has excellent mule deer, pronghorn, sage grouse, gray partridge, sharp-tailed grouse and waterfowl habitat. Nine sage grouse leks occur on the ranch. The Fieldgroves participation in the Lake DeSmet Conservation District sage grouse habitat enhancement program benefited the ranch operation and wildlife habitat, especially for species that depend on sagebrush. The Fieldgroves invited Game and Fish to conduct resource mapping and wildlife habitat inventories to develop a grazing management plan. The grazing management plan incorporates management best practices such as wildlife-friendly fences and water troughs with wildlife escape ramps.
To see a gallery of images of ALL the Landowners of the Year and their ranches, visit wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/wildlife-1000451.aspx.