The Teigen Ranch was started in 1884 when Mons Teigen (an immigrant from Norway) along with two cousins Knute & Ole Opheim formed a partnership and purchased 3200 head of sheep in the Gallatin Valley. The sheep were trailed up the Shields Valley and down the Musselshell and then crossed over into the McDonald Creek area. Knute sold out in 1890 and Ole drowned in the creek seven years later. Mons bought out their interest and it has been the Teigen Ranch ever since. Mons married in 1897 and built the present ranch home where their two sons Peter and Bard were born. As the story goes the Railroad came through between 1914 and 1917 and a small community of Teigen was built with a general store, a hotel, a lumber and grain company, a community hall, and then Mons built a school that was used from 1914 until 1936. The real estate offered includes the Teigen, Montana postal mail stop with an exclusive postal zip code. The train ran from Winnett to Lewistown and then finally it stopped and the tracks were pulled up in 1972. The Teigen Family has endured the years and expanded the ranch to what it is today. After about 90 years of sheep they switched over to cattle and since then have been running about a 1000 head on the ranch. The Teigen’s have been active in the community and in the livestock industry, always highly respected and trustworthy citizens.
The ranch is located in Central Montana in both Fergus and Petroleum Counties. More specifically, the ranch is located along Highway 200 twelve miles east of Grass Range and 12 west of Winnett. From the ranch Lewistown (6,000 population) is 36 miles to the west and Billings (Montana’s largest city) is 104 miles to the south. Billings is a hub for commercial airlines, major shopping, and medical services.
This ranch is all in one block and contains 34,665 +/- total acres. The approximate breakdown is 18,760 +/- deeded acres, 4,025 acres State Leases, 11,240 acres BLM permit acres, and 600 other land acres. There are some exchange of uses with neighbors. The ranch has access roads throughout either by highway, county roads, or ranch dirt trails.
In the past the ranch was enrolled in the Farm Service Agency farm programs. Old field maps indicate about 1,974.5 acres of cropland which is a mix of alfalfa, small grains, forage crops, and tame grasses. The ranch is not enrolled anymore and since then additional lands have been tilled. These lands which are about 200 acres are on the west end of the ranch and on the south side of McDonald Creek mainly in Sections 21 and 22. Crops suitable in the area include alfalfa, alfalfa grass mixes, beardless winter wheat for forage, barley, and other small grains. Tame grasses that do well for hay mixes are crested wheatgrass, pubescent wheatgrass, intermediate wheatgrass, smooth brome, and orchard grass. The ranch is located in a 14-16 plus inch annual precipitation zone with the west and southwest areas of the ranch receive more precipitation. The growing season is about 125 days. Soils are mainly a mix of clay & silty loams.
The ranch improvements are functional and are properly maintained for a Central Montana Cattle Operation. Livestock sheds, equipment storage, corrals, housing and other livestock facilities are on the ranch. Recent improvements include new roofing on sheds and homes, concrete pads, and new exterior paint. They are serviced with telephone, electricity, wells, septics, and good access roads. The main ranch improvements are located along Highway 200 in a very convenient location half way between Winnett and Grass Range. On the south side of the highway are two homes, a horse barn built in 1910, a bunkhouse, a machine shed, and 40 x 60 Quonset storage building. The Main Home has 2,400 sq ft of living space and has been remodeled over the past few years and includes a new roof and new kitchen cabinets, Just across the highway are a set of corrals with new boards, a live-stock scale, and a 1910 sheep shed with a new roof and new exterior paint. Another set of buildings are on the northeastern part of the ranch and include a home, a single car garage, a two car garage, and a 40×60 machine shed. On the western end of the ranch near the hayfields is a 50 x 145 sheep shed with electricity currently used for calving. This shed has a new roof.
WILDLIFE AND HABITAT
Central Montana is known for its quality bird hunting and the Teigen Ranch is at the top of the list. Pheasants, Sharptail Grouse, Sage Hens, and Huns have a good population from the basic natural resources available and with some fine tuning the populations would be more predominant. The natural ranch resources are already in place that include chokecherry, willows, buck brush, scattered Pines, brushy meadows, and well cared for pastures with sage. The ranch has over thirteen miles of McDonald Creek which meander next to croplands and haylands providing an excellent source of water. The ranch has ample natural resources with protection that allows the game birds to hide from predators but some nesting varieties of quick growing grasses and additional tree and shrub planting would also help.
Other wildlife on the ranch are occasional Elk in the southwestern areas of the ranch, Mule Deer are on all parts of the ranch, Whitetails along the McDonald Creek drainage, and Antelope scattered throughout the ranch. The ranch borders the War Horse Wildlife Refuge on the north end which is a refuge for migrating waterfowl and also nearby is the Wild Horse Refuge.
Agriculturally, the ranch has been managed as an efficient low cost cow/calf operation. Presently, there are about 800 black angus cows, 200 two year old cows, and 57 bulls on the ranch. In the fall the steer calves are sold and the heifer calves are weaned. The heifers are kept through the winter and then in the early spring they sell off half and then the other half as replacements (for the future cow herd).
The cattle are wintered along the McDonald Creek bottoms near the hayfields with most of the calving done in March and April. Then in May cattle are moved to summer pastures until weaning time. Cattle then are moved to nearby pastures and then as winter arrives cattle are moved back into the bottom lands. Range condition on the ranch shows a well cared for habitat. There is a good sod cover and the grass species such as western wheat grass, green needle, needle and thread, and blue bunch wheat grass that indicate proper range management. The ranch has 32 separate pastures.
Winter feeding begins around the first of the year depending on the weather. It takes about 1.0 to 1.5 tons of hay to winter a cow in normal years. Calving usually starts the first week of March. There is plenty of room for the cows to go hide and have their calves. The area for wintering and calving is perfect as there is live water and an abundance of natural protection. They usually winter early on the east end and then towards March the cattle are brought to the west end. The ranch has a highway permit that allows haying along the roadways producing about 100 round bales per year.
McDonald Creek meanders west to east through the ranch for over 13 miles. Other sources of water include Briggs Coulee, numerous wells with pipelines and tanks, seasonal creeks, and reservoirs.
The ranch has extensive water rights filed with the DNRC for irrigation and stock water. All water rights, ditch rights and ditch easements appurtenant to the subject property are to be transferred to the Buyer at closing. These rights are in the water right adjudication process. Buyer agrees to take all water rights currently listed on the DNRC Water Rights Index “as is”.
There are 14 water wells with tanks and waterlines scattered throughout the ranch as shown on the maps. Water from McDonald Creek is diverted for irrigating the hay grounds. These areas mainly are on the very west end, middle, and very east end of the ranch.
This Ranch contains 34,665 +/- acres all in one block in one of the more reputed areas of Montana for cattle ranches. The ranch has unlimited natural protection with brushy coulees skirted with Chokecherry, Hawthorne, Pines, Cottonwoods, and Buffaloberry. McDonald Creek runs through the ranch for over 13 miles providing some of the finest bird hunting in Montana. The natural resources already in place provide the habitat for excellent bird hunting. A little fine tuning and the bird populations would be off the charts. Also not to be understated is the Big Game Hunting for Elk, Muleys, Whitetails, and Antelope. This is a well balanced and efficient cattle ranch with good water resources, well cared for pastures in good to excellent range condition, functional improvements, and good protection. The Ranch has over 10 miles of convenient highway with a beautiful back drop of McDonald Creek meadows and timbered ridges. This would make a superb Registered Cattle Ranch and is truly a rare opportunity to ac-quire one of the finer cattle ranches in Montana with over a hundred years of history.