The 53,238-acre Antelope Springs Ranch is a profitable cattle ranch located in the heart of eastern Montana’s grazing country. Using holistic ranch management techniques, the ranch currently supports more than 800 year-round cow units, as well as 700+ sheep during the summer months. Thanks to its abundant water rights, pipelines, and recently improved water infrastructure, the ranch has remained profitable even during recent drought years. The ranch is fully equipped with all necessary agricultural improvements, including managers’ homes, large equipment sheds, shops, loafing sheds, calving barns, scales, and corrals.
Listed in cooperation with Wildlife Resources LLC & exclusively marketed by Mirr Ranch Group LLC.
Antelope Springs Ranch is part of Grasslands, LLC, a renowned ranch management company with operations throughout the United States and New Zealand. Grasslands is a global leader in Holistic Planned Grazing (HPG) and has implemented HPG principals on the Antelope Springs property, restoring the ranch’s grasses, increasing profitability, and strengthening the landscape’s overall ecological diversity. Under Grasslands’ almost six years of management, Antelope Springs’ operations have proven to be a case study in effective, efficient, and financially viable ranch management in eastern Montana’s expansive prairie country.
The Antelope Springs owners do not own livestock, rather they run cows on a full-care, custom-grazing basis for area cattlemen. They typically harvest approximately half the ranch’s annual forage production with a year-round herd of cow/calf pairs and half with stocker yearlings grazed seasonally. The cattle are systematically rotated throughout the ranch’s 31 large, permanently fenced pastures, and extensive water rights and infrastructure allow for efficient use of all areas of the property. In 2017—a record-breaking dry year in eastern Montana—the ranch’s annual capacity was still more than 800 cows. Additionally, since 2014, an area sheep herder has grazed approximately 700 ewes on the ranch from May through September.
The ranch’s 53,238 total acres consist of 43,278 deeded acres, a 3,200-acre state lease, a 2,920-acre BLM lease, and a 3,840-acre private lease. All lease documentation and payment information can be provided to qualified buyers upon request. For investment-minded buyers, Grasslands is willing to remain engaged as the ranch manager on a contract basis, with the goal of continued profitability and a positive trajectory of the ranch’s overall ecological health. (For more information, please see the Investment Value tab)
Antelope Springs is located in the heart of eastern Montana’s grazing country, an area world famous for its vast grasslands and wide-open spaces. The ranch is located 50 miles north of the town of Forsyth, a bustling Montana town and county seat located on the banks of the Yellowstone River. Historic Miles City (population 8,500) is approximately 70 miles to the southeast, offering all the amenities of a larger town. Billings, the state capital of Montana, is approximately 150 miles southwest and offers the closest commercial air service.
The ranch is fully equipped with a variety of well-maintained, highly functional agricultural structures and homes. Ranch improvements include:
- Two Ranch Manager Homes – 26’ x 70’ each
- Calving Shed – 26’x55’
- Quonset Shop – 48’x90’
- Large Quonset – 60’x150’
- Equipment Quonset – 45’x65’
- Shop – 25’x45’
- Chute House – 12’x10’
- Livestock Scale House – 7’x8’
- Loafing Shed – 30’x190’
- Calving Barn – 55’x100’
- Two Additional Homes – 3,000 SF each
- Full set of corrals, chutes, and certified scale
- Average Annual Precipitation: 12 inches
- Average Annual Snowfall: 28 inches
- Average July High: 86° F
- Average January Low: 8° F
- Sunny Days: 197
Hunting & Wildlife
Thanks in part to Grasslands’ holistic management of the property, the ranch supports a wide variety of big game, upland birds, and other wildlife. Mule deer and antelope inhabit the property year round, and sage grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, and Russian partridges are regularly found throughout the ranch. While there has been limited hunting on the ranch under its current ownership, there is potential for additional ranch revenue through leasing the hunting rights to area sportsmen.
As for other wildlife, it is common to observe burrowing owls, as well as long-eared and short-eared owls. Falcons, hawks and golden eagles are seen on a daily basis, with bald eagles making their homes around the largest reservoirs. Raccoon, coyote, badger, porcupine, and skunk live throughout the ranch, and beavers move through the property on a seasonal basis. Rounding out the wildlife, plains spadefoot toads, leopard frogs, short-horned lizard, tiger salamanders, blue racer, painted turtles, and rattle, gopher, and bull snakes make Antelope Springs a true naturalist’s paradise.
Water Resources & Infrastructure
Antelope Springs’ water resources are one of its most valuable attributes, and all water rights are well-documented and have been meticulously kept up-to-date with the state of Montana. The ranch includes 87 stock water rights, five domestic water rights, one irrigation water right, and one fish and wildlife recreation water right. Copies of general abstracts for all water rights can be provided to qualified buyers upon request.
Most notable is the ranch’s extensive network of water pipelines, which consists of over 45 miles of 1.5 to 3-inch piping stretching throughout the property. There are also 17 solar, windmill and traditional wells and more than 40 stock tanks, which allow for grazing in all regions of the ranch, even in the driest of years. 80 reservoirs, ponds, and dugouts are spread throughout the ranch, nine of which are large, with high-quality water, and are proven to persist even in the most extreme drought conditions.
The owners’ commitment to maintaining and improving the ranch’s water infrastructure has paid impressive dividends. Even during the extreme drought conditions of 2017, the ranch has continued to operate efficiently and profitably. Please see our interactive ranch map above for full visual details on all pipelines, tanks, and wells.
For producers looking to expand their operations in eastern Montana’s Great Plains, Antelope Springs Ranch is the a rare opportunity to own a large-scale, fairly priced, fully operational cattle ranch. Grasslands’ investments in water infrastructure and ranch improvements, combined with thoughtful management and resulting forage productivity, have resulted in an easy-to-manage, predictably profitable operation.
Should a buyer choose to retain Grasslands as the ranch manager, an investor could enjoy an annual return from the ranching operations, while also expecting to capitalize on the potential long-term appreciation of the land itself. A yield-seeking investor with little-to-no ranching experience could delegate all management duties to Grasslands. Given Grasslands’ well-documented, consistent track record on Antelope Springs and other ranches, buyers could maintain a high level of confidence that the landscape—and their investment— would continue to thrive in the coming years.
As mentioned above, Grasslands’ business model does not involve owning livestock—they exclusively run the cows of area cattlemen. However, Grasslands has retroactively modeled what its annual returns would have been had they owned the cattle, and the profits would have been even greater. Financial statements and retroactive modeling can be provided to qualified buyers upon request.
There are no conservation easements encumbering the ranch, yet Antelope Springs is a textbook example of the conservation benefits that result from ecologically sound ranch management. Grasslands’ use of Holistic Planned Grazing has allowed the ranch’s grasslands to thrive, creating a healthier ranch ecosystem and increased carbon sequestration, all while simultaneously bolstering the ranch’s operational capacity and financial viability.