Pryor Mountains Ranch

Wyoming USA: (WRWY02)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/wy_pryor.aspx

Introduction
Wyoming USA
This ranch in the Pryor Mountains is an authentic working cattle and horse ranch South of Billings, Montana. It is not a dude ranch! Hard working cowboys have taken care of this ranch since 1889 and they will ride with you on 40,000 acres of their open grassland country while taking care of the 1,200 mother cows and their calves. Montana's "Big Sky Country" takes you away from swimming pools and golf courses to a remote, quiet setting where you can hear the babbling creek at night and see breathtaking scenery no matter what direction we decide to ride in that day. The ranch also raises their own herd of trusty quarter horses. Being a cowboy has always been a secret dream of many men and women. To a cowboy, the horse is not a pet but a companion and partner with whom he works and depends on to accomplish great tasks. That is what we offer at this ranch - a beautiful country setting to befriend a great cow horse who will help you turn your first  errant cow back into the herd and help you to feel what it is like to be a real cowboy in Wyoming. The ranch is located in very picturesque, peaceful, and calm countryside at the border of Montana and Wyoming. It is rolling, native grasslands with areas of pines and canyons, laying along the Eastern slope of the majestic Pryor Mountains which run East and West. Very few people have ever invaded its serene and spacious lands. As you  leave the paved highway and start up the canyon along the rutted road toward the mountain, you actually feel as if you are traveling back in time.

Ranch weeks are all about a cowboys life - caring for the land (25,000 acres) is a loving stewardship. Caring for the 800 head of cows and calves after a long winter and a well earned change of focus at the ranch.  Each day will include riding, working cattle and returning strays to their pastures and gathering cattle. We have branding in the spring and gathering and weaning in the fall. Some weeks include a Mini Horse Drive as well.
Come ride with our cowboys, it will change your life perspective forever! The sun rises at 4:30 right along with our cook and each morning the bell rings at 7:00 for breakfast (coffee is always on at 5:30). Do you want to share in the first best experience? The best place to experience this thrill is on the canyon rims at 6:30 each morning with your camera.
Our wranglers will take you with them (if you want to go) to bring in the horse rumuda on one of these peaceful mornings. If you want to ride, then ask Mike to put your name on the list early. This is one of the first most memorable experiences we share with our guest during their stay at the ranch.

Any ranch week may include: branding, vaccinating, roping, mini-veterinary needs, wrangling the cavvy, holding herd, salting, fencing, rotating pastures, bull gathering, weaning calves, pregnancy testing cows, weaning colts, working mare bands, occasional horse drives and rounding up strays. Each activity depends on the time of year you decide to join us. Generally, ranch weeks include several of the activities listed above. You can be sure that you will be able to push a lot of cattle! Roping instruction and riding hints are part of our Cowboy School on Monday mornings. We want everyone to try their hand at roping and improve their riding skills.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a stationary ride, so all nights will be spent at the ranch, except the last night, which is spent at a hotel in Billings (usually the Dude Rancher Lodge).

Description
The ranch comprises about 37,000 acres, which include a canyon, the original Indian buffalo jump, and different elevations of mountains all around the canyon. During the time at the ranch you will stay in the bunkhouse or in one of the cabins. Towels are provided for the trip. The Lodge is a big meeting room where we give out the pommel bags and accessories and sign the Rider Releases. There is also a small store in the lodge with basic ranch needs, gloves, vests, Tee shirts, cowboy hats, scarves, etc. There is a cookhouse building which is the main gathering place for social things and for meals.
Limited WIFI is available at the ranch.

Bunkhouse 
The bunkhouse is a remodeled old milk barn built back in the late 1800 and early 1900.  It has been divided into 4 single rooms on the ground floor and 4 different size rooms upstairs, which was originally the hay loft.  We have built 2 bathrooms at the end of the porch, and 2 more bathrooms at the end of the porch of the Lodge, just across the road. We have blended old and new in a western way by leaving the old log look and mixing it with hot water, heat, and electricity. The bunkhouse has an inviting front porch to sit on and enjoy a quiet moment to yourself or share cowboy stories with other guests.

Cabins
Down the canyon from the bunkhouse we have 3 cabins. The cabins are decorated with old ranch pictures decorate the walls from Montana cattle drives gone by. The cabins do have private bathrooms. If they are available, they can be reserved by paying the cabin upgrade cost.


Meals
All meals are included except for the last dinner in Billings.

Guests eat 3 meals a day with the family and cowboys in the cookhouse. Ranch home-style meals are served with hot homemade breads. Each week we serve tender angus beef steaks, top sirloin roast, healthy vegetables, fresh salads, homemade desserts and lots of chocolate chip cookies for the kid in all of us. We promote beef on our ranch from pasture to plate.  One of the meals we are famous for is our Indian Tacos.

Since we are located on the Crow Indian Reservation, Government Regulations does not allow alcohol be on the land.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to dietary restrictions if given prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

No riding on ranch departure day - Saturday. Riding is instead increased during the week (5 riding days).

Staff
We are a family owned and operated working guest ranch. We have a normal staff of eight people who live at the ranch throughout the season. We have two full-time cowboys and two seasonal working cowboys or cowgirls. The other family members help out when needed. On occasion, we have neighboring cowboys who come to ride colts, or fill in at peak work times.

Horses
The Ranch has been raising registered American Quarter Horses for over 40 years. We gather our mares only a few times a year, and we are proud to say that our foals hit the ground in big, rough country, without human intervention. Before we ever lay hands on them, they already know how to handle themselves in rough terrain, cross water, and navigate the elements of nature.
We have cavvy horses, mares with foals, studs, yearlings, 2 year-olds we begin training, and then the riding horses the cowboys have personally or take in to ride for other people. We normally have around 150 horses on the ranch during the season.
We pick horses that will complement each guests riding ability and our cowboy crew shows each guest how to brush and prepare their horse to ride.  You will saddle and bridle your own horse each day, which increases the bond of rider and horse. 
During your stay, you will usually ride two or three horses per week. We usually do not ride the same horse every day. It is easier on the horses if they are given days off from being ridden. This also increases your riding ability as you learn the habits of each horse and test your ability to adapt to each horses personality.

Daily Schedule
Each day is different, and the schedule depends on the work that we need to accomplish. We have at least two days a week that are all-day rides of about 5-6 hours. The other three days are days we come back to the ranch for lunch, but we ride three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. Before and after our rides we take care of chores and other ranch-related activities that need to be done.

Bringing your own tack
You are more than welcome to bring your own western saddle if you should choose. You can bring it on the plane with you, but we recommend shipping it ahead of time. Just let us know if you plan to bring a saddle and we can plan accordingly.

Bringing your own horse
The ranch is at an altitude of 4800-5600ft with a rocky, mountainous terrain. Most horses cannot travel and work in those conditions without an adjustment period. In addition, we cannot risk the health problems that an outside horse could bring to our herd of horses who are not normally exposed to outside diseases.

Itinerary

Each morning begins as the cook heads for the cookhouse and our wranglers head with their horses out to gather in the cavvy. There will be several horses that each guest will ride during the week. Horses are picked by our head cowboy according to the riding abilities of each guest. They are carefully chosen to give you a challenging experience as well as a safe one. Your horse will be your favorite memory by Friday.
Every week we have a campfire, and you will prepare your tinfoil dinner to cook on the fire. We love the conversation and friendships that happen around the fire, as we eat marshmallows and brand your chinks or clothing with our brand. 
We always have something going on and whatever time of year you choose to come and ride with us we always have a real ranch atmosphere for you to experience. 

Spring
Spring is branding time, when the calves are small enough to be handled by a crew of guests and cowboys on foot. After our Montana cattle drives are finished, and our cattle are all at the ranch the branding begins. This is usually in May and early June. With 800 head of calves to brand this takes several weeks. Montana and Wyoming are branding states and it is federal law that each calf, as well as each cow, carries our )S( brand. We rope each calf from a well trained cow horse and drag them to the branding fire where we have calf holders (guests and cowboys) hold the calves and one of the cowboys brands the calf. Vaccinations and ear marks are given (by guests) and we start over with another calf. We brand about 100 calves each day.
Branding is a social occasion on ranches all over the west. Neighboring cowboys and friends come to offer their help, be it roping, wrestling, branding, giving shots, hauling water to the crew, or fixing lunch. After a long winter, it provides a chance to catch up on local news and get reacquainted with good friends.
As a guest during branding you will be involved in one of the oldest of cowboy traditions, as it was done in the 19th century. You are welcome to participate in all of the get down and dirty work you would like to experience. The week also offers many hours of riding as you gather the herd to brand and return them to spring pastures.

In May, we begin trailing the cattle north to the ranch. It takes four days to trail cows to the ranch which is located on the East slope of the Pryor Mountains in Montana. The trail follows the historic old Sioux Trail as we begin with bentonite hills, go single file through Horse Thief Canyon, trail by Lockhart Ranch and into the Dryhead country.


Summer
Summer days are anything but lazy at the Ranch. Running a ranch is a full-time business and our cowboys and crew are devoted to the upkeep and management of the land and livestock. During the summer months on every horseback ride we find and check cattle. Stray cows and calves are sought out on neighboring ranches, sick or injured animals are roped and doctored, fences are checked and fixed after cattle are returned to our pastures, water holes and springs are looked at to make sure they are flowing.
Our cowboys devote a great deal of time to working with young horses during the summer months. Two and three year olds are becoming mature enough to begin making small rides to move cattle or just become acquainted with the outside world with a rider accompanying them. The cowboys will take several weeks teaching the young horses to be caught, led, wear a saddle, carry a rider on a cattle drive, and begin responding to “a feel”. This is a remarkable process and a wonderful opportunity to watch horsemen at work.

June also begins the choosing of mare bands and adding stallions for the breeding season. These babies give the cowboys the opportunity to break and train the horses. The mini horse drives give you the opportunity to gather and rotate the mare bands on the best grazing areas. Guests love moving these horses and the smaller band of mares make it easier to teach beginners how to trail and handle horses.

July and August gets us into our ranch rodeo activities. We bring in several animals to be able to practice sorting and working cattle out of a herd. At times the excitement level is keen but teamwork is the key.


Fall
The fall weeks mean longer days and lots of riding. All our cowboys share in the gathering of 15,000 acre pastures and bringing each cows and calves to the ranch to give pre-weaning shots and again two weeks later to wean the calves. After the calves are weaned and hauled to Wyoming, we pregnancy test our cows and hope for a 100% pregnancy rate for the next year. These large gathers are a thrill few get to experience. 
This is an opportunity to ride in big country somewhat alone gathering 800 or better head of cattle and moving them 6 - 8 miles back to the ranch to be worked in a large set of corrals.
97% of the USA's cow herds are in groups of less than 50 cows.
97% of the people who own cattle have a job in town and have the cow herd as a second income or a hobby.
Ranches who have 800 head of cows are rare and even more rare is the privilege to ride a cow horse with real cowboys and gather cows on thousands of acres of open, beautiful, grassland country that is untouched by human influence.
This is also the time when we start gathering mares to do the registration papers on the weanling colts and trailing the cows back to Wyoming. 
The guest season ends in early November. 


Winter
During the winter the head wrangler stays at the ranch and cares for our mare band in the spring creek pasture and our guest horse cavvy and older colts in the south pasture. The creek has been frozen so he has had to pump water everyday as well as keep the ice out of the tanks. Riding in below zero temperatures creates special challenges for keeping horses on their feet and our riders safe also.
Winter also brings time to research stud and mare bloodlines so that we can put together our mare bands in the spring and create the kind of horses bloodlines that are most popular for ranch raised horses. 
 

2020 RANCH WEEKS - WORKING CATTLE AND HORSE ACTIVITIES ON RANCH 
May 24th -30th - Branding, doctoring calves, gathering into the trap to brand.
June 7th -13th - Branding week. Gathering to trap to brand.
June 14th -20th - Branding calves returning pairs to mountain pastures.
June 16th -22nd - Finish up branding and take cows to distant pastures.
June 21st -27th - Checking horses and doctoring calves and fixing fence of our ranch.
June 28t -July 4th - Moving cows to summer pasture.
July 5th -11th - Closed over the 4th of July.
July 12th -18th - Working with young horses. Moving cows to summer pasture.
July 19th -25th - Rotating summer grazing pastures. Working with young horses.
July 26th -Aug. 1st - Checking cows, calves and horses. Removing stud horses out of mare bands.
Aug. 2nd -8th - Pushing cows and calves back up on mountain pastures.  Halter breaking colts.
Aug. 9th -15th - Checking pastures. Doctoring heifers. Outside riding.
Aug. 16th - 22nd - Riding southern pastures check heifers and mare bands.
Aug. 23rd -29th -  Pushing cows and calves back up on higher mountain pastures for grazing.

2021 RANCH WEEKS - WORKING CATTLE AND HORSE ACTIVITIES ON RANCH 
May 23rd -30th - Branding, doctoring calves, gathering into the trap to brand.
June 6th -13th - Branding week. Gathering to trap to brand.
June 13th -20th - Branding calves returning pairs to mountain pastures.
June 20th -27th - Finish up branding and take cows to distant pastures.
June 27th -July 4th - Checking horses and doctoring calves and fixing fence of our ranch.
July 11th -18th - Moving cows to summer pasture.
July 18th -25th - Photography week
July 25th -Aug. 1st - Checking cows, training young horses.
Aug. 1st -8th - Pushing cows and calves back up on mountain pastures. Halter breaking colts.
Aug. 8th -15th - Training young horses.
Aug. 15th - 22nd - Riding southern pastures check heifers and mare bands.
Aug. 22nd -29th -  Checking cows on higher mountain pastures. Training colts.


Rates and Dates for Pryor Mountains Ranch

Rates include:

Accommodations (bunkhouse) with semi-private bathrooms, with the last night at a hotel in Billings, all meals except last night dinner, 5 riding days, taxes

Packages and Options



Minimum Deposit: ~$500.00 per person

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2019 Transfer from Billings airport or hotel at 4 pm, pp, return
- to be paid locally
$100
2019 Upgrade to cabin with private bathroom (dbl), pp $125
2019 Upgrade to cabin with private bathroom (single) $150
2019 Extra night in Billings (single/dbl) $125
2019 Single supplement (last night in Billings) $65

Dates Note: Additional Cattle Drive weeks will be added as the weather and pasture conditions become known.

Rates do not include:

Dinner not included at last night hotel, gratuities, transfer

Other Info
Meeting: Billings airport or Dude Rancher Lodge
Airport: Billings MT
Transfer: Billings MT 4:00PM Sunday

Climate:
                                                Lovell area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

30

37

49

59

68

78

87

85

74

60

44

32

Average Low Temperature (°F)

5

12

22

31

41

50

55

52

42

31

19

8

Average High Temperature (°C)

-1

3

10

15

20

26

31

30

23

16

7

0

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-15

-11

-5

0

5

10

13

11

5

-1

-7

-13

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

1

1

1

3

4

4

2

2

2

2

1

1

Source: NOAA


Seasons
As always weather is unpredictable in the mountains. Be prepared for temperatures anywhere from the low 30's F (nights) to the high 70's F (days) during spring and fall. Temperatures sometimes reach the 90s F in the summer, but the nights are cool, particularly in the mountains. Even in summer months, snow in the higher elevations is common.

What To Bring:
During the summer weather is quite dependable, but in the mountain one needs to be prepared for all conditions, since conditions can change in a very short time. May, parts of June, and parts of September can have cool days. Warm jackets, spare riding pants and riding boots are essential. We also recommend a wind and rain breaker and hat. Rain slickers can be rented for $10 a week. Don't forget your sunscreen. Linens and Towels are provided at the ranch. Bring some cash for gratuities or shopping in the store (they do accept credit cards as well!), but cash is needed if you choose to leave a tip.

We suggest that you bring clothes that will layer easily: long sleeved shirts, vests, jackets, chinks or chaps, sweatshirts, cap or better still a wide brimmed hat, gloves, wildrag or scarf, spurs, and of course your camera. (we do rent a pommel packet with spurs, strap, scarf & water bottle for $5.)
Standard equipment for riding are boots with a heel and perhaps hiking boots when we are not riding. A rain slicker is a good idea or we also rent these. It not only protects from rain but it is great for breaking the wind, if we have some.

The ranch has a small ranch store with all sorts of items and gifts, so it's a good idea to wait and see if you need it. How about sunscreen, chapstick, gloves, slickers (no ponchos), pommel bags, chinks, cowboy hat, wildrags, stampede strings, belts, S belt buckles, and several gift items for your return home. Instead of saddle bags we recommend pommel bags which fit over the saddle horm. The ranch store stocks most items. Because we are so remote it is impossible to return to town to pick up extra items. If you don't have some of the items mentioned above, we have a small ranch store, which carries most of these items. In addition, if you don't want to purchase the items listed above, we have rental items available for your convenience.

Bring your guitar, if you want, and share our campfire. Brush up on your storytelling and jokes --- getting to know each other is a #1 priority.
This list is only a guideline for you
  • Travel documents and Voucher
  • Flight tickets
  • Passport
  • Visa (check with your consulate)
RIDING GEAR

 

  • Two Pairs of Riding Pants
  • Riding Boots
  • Riding helmet (recommended for all trips)- not available to rent, so please bring one if you choose to wear one.
  • Riding gloves
  • Sun Hat or Stetson
  • Rain Coat, Windbreaker- available to rent
PERSONAL CLOTHING
  • Warm Sweater and Jacket
  • Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Pyjama
  • Bag for dirty clothes
  • Sneakers
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING 
  • Personal Toiletries
  • Moisturizing Cream
  • Insect protection
  • Personal medications
  • Sore cream (for an emergency)
  • Sewing kit
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Camera and enough extra film and batteries
  • Belt pack
  • Address book and pen (for postcards!)
  • Sun glasses with strap
  • Sun tan lotion and lip balm
  • Flashlight, extra Batteries
  • Pocket Knife (not essential)