Quarter Circle C Ranch

Tbd Big Sheep Creek Road, Lima, MT


Property Description

This 1,385 acre cattle ranch is located west of Dell at the base of Dixon Mountain that has been owned and operated by the same family for about 35 years. Owners have been running approximately 325 cow/calf pairs on the ranch in conjunction with a BLM Lease, Forest Service permits and private range lease. Ample hay is raised on the approximate 590 acres of irrigated land including three pivots. The ranch is home part of the year to a large elk herd and other wildlife. There are two homes and numerous out buildings.

Broker Information


Property Facts


Quarter Circle C Ranch is located in Beaverhead County approximately 45 miles south of Dillon and 3 miles west of the small town of Dell. The ranch is situated at the base of Dixon Mountain and adjoins BLM property on its west boundary. The ranch unit includes grazing permits on the BLM and Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest, which makes seasonal cattle movement convenient. Irrigation water is provided from Big Sheep Creek through the Flynn-Nelson irrigation ditch. Commercial airline service is available via Interstate 15 approximately 110 miles north in Butte, Montana, and approximately 105 miles south in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Nearby Dillon also has an airstrip that can accommodate private aircraft. Beaverhead County is the largest county in Montana, the top cattle producing county in the state, and the second largest hay producer.


The nearest towns of Dell and Lima (approximately 9 miles south of Dell) are small but both provide fuel, restaurants, and overnight lodging. Dillon, the nearest larger town with a population of approximately 4,000 people, boasts state-of-the-art medical services, restaurants, banks, grocery stores, YMCA, and a movie theatre. In addition, Dillon is home to the University of Montana Western, Patagonia outlet store, Great Harvest Bread franchising headquarters, and Barrett Minerals, a subsidiary of Pfizer Chemical. Historic sites in the area include Beaverhead Rock, Camp Fortunate, and Clark’s Lookout State Park, important landmarks in the Lewis & Clark Expedition in the early 1800s; Bannack, the first territorial capital, and Virginia City and Nevada City, 1860s gold mining communities; and the Big Hole Battlefield, where the US Army engaged Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Tribe in 1877 as they attempted to escape into Canada. Also within 2½ hours driving distance is Yellowstone National Park. Fishing and hunting opportunities abound in all of southwestern Montana.


The facilities on the ranch include pipe corrals and pens designed for ease of working the cattle. Other improvements include a barn, shop, equipment buildings, granaries, feeding pens with windbreaks, and numerous storage buildings. There are 2 homes on the property, including a 3 bedroom, 2 bath brick home built in 1952, and a 1994 modular home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.


The ranch consists of 1,384 ± deeded acres. The upper acreage is sloping foothill rangeland and the lower acreage is irrigated hay fields. Currently, approximately 590 acres are being irrigated with about 465 of the acres being serviced by 3 Zimmatic center pivots. The newest pivot is about 4 years old and the oldest is about 18 years old. The pivots are approximately 240, 130, and 95 acres in size and each has a separate Cornell pump, ranging in size from 25 to 50 horsepower. There are also approximately 45 acres under wheel line and approximately 80 acres of flood irrigation. The owners estimate that they can produce about 2 tons of hay per irrigated acre. The ranch is a cow/calf operation and is currently running about 325 cow/calf pairs. However, the cattle are being ran in conjunction with BLM, Forest and private lease. If private grazing leases are not available, the ranch will support approximately 225-250 cow /calf pairs by grazing part of the irrigated pasture during the summer months which will affect the hay production. Calving occurs at the ranch headquarters in February and March and in late spring the cattle are moved to the deeded rangeland and the adjacent BLM and Forest Service permit pastures where several springs feed water tanks through buried pipelines. The cattle are returned to the deeded acreage in the fall to graze the irrigated pastures before winter feeding begins. The calves are generally weaned and sold in November/December. Winter feed requirements are estimated at 2 tons per animal unit. Current leases and permits for the ranching operation include: BLM Allotment (North Dixon) for 5 cattle from June 15 to November 30. BLM Allotment (Dixon Mountain) for 190 cattle from May 5 to June 5 and November 1 to December 31. Forest Service Grazing Permit (Graphite Mountain Allotment) for 200 cow/calf pairs from July 1 to September 12. Forest Service Grazing Permit (Dry Canyon Allotment) for 50 head (variable) of dry cows from December 5 to January 5. The owners have also leased private rangeland from a neighbor to supplement their summer grazing needs.

General Operations

Depending on the year, the precipitation and the availability of private leases, the Quarter Circle C Ranch can support 325 ± cow/calf pairs. The ranch can also raise 1100± tons of hay crop annually. The Quarter Circle C Ranch enjoys water rights from Big Sheep Creek, tributaries of Big Sheep Creek and tributaries of Teepee Creek.


The annual average of rainfall is 10.95 inches. This is predominately from winter snowpack which allows for lush spring and summer pasture along with ample irrigation reserves. The area on average receives 51.7 inches of snowfall annually. The cool climate allows for nice summer days and cool evenings. The average high temperature in July is 81 degrees. The average low in January is 6 degrees. The property is located at an elevation of 6270 feet. The ranch sees an average of 177 sunny days annually.

Wildlife & Recreation

Quarter Circle C Ranch is a favored year round location for mule deer, whitetail deer, and antelope. A substantial elk herd moves onto the ranch from the Dixon Mountain area to feed in the irrigated hay fields from late summer through the hunting season and into the winter. Their presence on the ranch and adjoining public land provides optimal hunting opportunities. Bighorn sheep are seen in the canyons and hills along nearby Big Sheep Creek and periodically on the ranch. Flowing out of the Centennial Valley, the Red Rock River turns north before it empties into Clark Canyon Reservoir. Certain stretches of the Red Rock River provide quality trout fishing. Although the river is relatively small, it is home to many large rainbow and brown trout, which freely move into and out of the Clark Canyon Reservoir. Clark Canyon Reservoir, located about 25 miles north of the ranch, provides trophy rainbow and brown trout that have weighed as much as 15 pounds. The Beaverhead River flows out of Clark Canyon Reservoir and is a renowned tail water fishery with plentiful aquatic life and correspondingly high densities of large rainbow and brown trout. The Beaverhead River is popular with both bank fishermen and boat fishermen. There are several licensed fishing guides and fishing equipment businesses in the area. Clark Canyon Reservoir provides recreation for water skiers, fishermen, and campers, including winter ice fishing. It is also a favorite destination for many species of waterfowl. The reservoir when full has a surface area of over 5,000 acres. Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 50 miles south of the ranch. The refuge provides habitat for trumpeter swans, ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, falcons, eagles, hawks, and native fish. Also populating the area are elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, moose, antelope, and wolves. There are numerous skiing opportunities for both the downhill and cross country enthusiast within 3 hours driving distance from the ranch. The ranch is surrounded by thousands of acres of BLM and Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest. These public lands offer a multitude of recreational opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, biking, hunting, fishing, and camping.


Annual property taxes are estimated to be $4958.

Mineral Rights

All mineral rights owned by the seller will transfer to a new buyer. However, no guarantee is made by seller or agents in regard to the ownership of mineral rights.

Water Rights

All valid water rights at the time of purchase will convey to the buyer. However, Montana is currently conducting a statewide adjudication of all water rights according to priority dates. The statewide adjudication is a court process that prioritizes and quantifies all existing water rights in each Montana drainage basin. Until the adjudication process is complete, the status of any particular water right claim cannot be guaranteed. Beaverhead Home & Ranch Real Estate, its brokers and salespersons do not warrant or make any representations concerning the quantity, quality, expert inspection, or analysis of any water rights for this property.

Conservation Easements

The Quarter Circle C Ranch is currently unencumbered and may lend itself to a conservation easement.

Broker's Comments

Quarter Circle C Ranch is a productive cattle operation that has been in the same family for 35 years. Located in a majestic setting in the mountains of southwestern Montana, with its adequate hay base and public grazing permits, and the added benefit of excellent elk hunting, this is a sound investment property.

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