Tongue River Ranch
The purchase of the Tongue River Ranch by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation was made possible by the donation of $200,000 by Pheasants Forever. This property includes 18,544 +/- deeded acres, 1100 +/- acres BLM lease, and 640 +/- acres state lease. This ranch contains an incredible diversity of wildlife and about five miles of the Tongue River. Whitetail, mule deer, antelope, Canadian geese, turkey, ducks, and upland birds; including sharp tails, Hungarian partridges, and pheasants frequent the area. The Montana PF chapters, will be working with the state and other non-profit organizations to maintain and enhance the wildlife habitat of this unique property.
The Coffee Creek property is located six miles north of Denton, Montana and is enrolled in the Block Management Program, and like all PF properties is open to public hunting and recreation. Miles of shrub row, nesting, and brooding rearing plantings, and intensive habitat management provides excellent conditions for upland birds, deer, and non-game species of wildlife. This property has been featured in an October 2007 National Geographic Magazine article on the role that hunters play in creating and protecting wildlife habitat and restoring wildlife populations.
The Gallatin Chapter co-purchased 935 acres on the Masters Tract of the Beaver Creek Waterfowl Production Area south of Malta with a $20,000 cash contribution. To date, $16,000 has been invested in shrubs and watering equipment and $30,000 invested in a Gator Pump for use in flooding wetland habitat for winter cover on the property and at the adjacent Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge. The Copple Tract was a co-purchase of an adjacent 600 acres through a $30,000 cash contribution made possible by a Gibson Guitar donation from Ren Ferguson of the Gallatin Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter. This project is a part of a $250,000 upland and wetland habitat improvement project, including $52,000 from the Gallatin Valley Chapter. Habitat improvement projects on public lands in southwestern Montana have included shelter belt and food plot development that enhance pheasant habitat available for public hunting opportunities. Most of these projects have involved Federal and State wildlife agencies and several habitat organizations as funding partners.
The purchase of the Moylan/Wolf Creek Property was finalized in May of 2008 by a consortium of Montana Chapters and several other habitat organizations. The property is located about ten miles east of Denton and is enrolled in the Block Management Program. It contains about 1,000 deeded acres and 640 acres of state lease. Some four miles of Wolf Creek flow the property. This key property is contiguous to another 1,600 acres of DNRC state land and the Beckman Wildlife Management Area owned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks creating a package of over 10,000 acres of land open to hunting and outdoor recreation.
Updated March 2021:
Our Wolf Creek property will be pheasant country now and for future pheasant hunters, by Al Eiden
Pheasants Forever and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks has collaborated on through their conservation easement program to ensure our Wolf Creek property will be managed for pheasant habitat now and forever. In late 2020 Pheasants Forever completed a 1,200 acre conservation easement project with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks on our Wolf Creek property. This project took 4 years to complete and would not have been completed without the dedication of several Pheasants Forever staff and more importantly several Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks professionals keeping this project moving forward over all those years. In addition to protecting these 1,200 acres of prime pheasant habitat this conservation easement helped cement the legacy of all our Montana chapters’ vision to purchase and manage property as high quality pheasant habitat for future pheasant hunters. The financial resources provided to Pheasant Forever by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks allowed us to pay off a land loan on another Pheasants Forever property in Montana, the Teton property, which will allow us to pursue other key acquisitions, and equally critical for our conservation efforts in Montana we also used funding from this project to establish foundational funding for the Forever Stewardship program in Montana. The Forever Stewardship program will be crucial for Pheasant Forever to meet the second part of our vision for our properties in Montana, which is to ensure we manage our properties to provide the highest quality habitat for pheasants in Montana and provide a place where future generations of hunters can enjoy the beauty of Montana’s pheasant county. All this is possible through the incredible efforts of our chapters and our partners like Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
Richardson Property - Mission Valley
80 acres of prime wildlife habitat acquired in 2017 between and adjacent to state, federal, and tribal public lands within the Ninepipes public wetlands and uplands complex near Charlo, MT. Purchased with funds raised by our chapters across Montana, this previously private parcel connects adjacent public lands, and is open to the public for recreation and hunting.
Excellent wildlife habitat consisting of a number of ponds, seasonal wetlands, winter cover, food plots, brood rearing, and nesting ground is found throughout. This parcel is located half a mile north and west of the intersection of Ninepipes road and Lean road.
Currently and actively managed through volunteer work provided by the Mission Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter and dedicated Habitat Specialist employed through the Pheasants Forever Mission Valley Prairie Renovation Project between Pheasants Forever, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Will require continued support to fund renovation for yearly active management including invasive weed control, food plots, water management, brood rearing habitat, and enhanced nesting cover.
Build A Wildlife Area: Teton River
Acquired in February 2018, the Pheasants Forever Teton River Wildlife Area is located approximately 45 minutes North of Great Falls, MT along the Teton River watershed. Currently the property makes up approximately 279 acres of mixed riparian/wetland, grass prairie, and dryland crops. Purchased through a combination of local chapter and partner funding, these previously private acres are now open to the general public for recreational access; including hunting and fishing. Continued support from our chapters and conservation partners aim to improve habitat and land management for the benefit of upland birds and other wildlife. Future acquisitions look to connect contagious piece of key habitat along the river corridor and increase the size of the complex.
Initial Size: 278.84 acres
Location: Property is immediately west of I-15, 40 miles north of Great Falls. It is adjacent on its eastern side to the southbound rest area on I-15, exit 320.
Landscape context: The property is situated in the Teton River watershed, on the north side of the river approximately 1.5 miles downstream of the confluence with Muddy Creek.
Land use and habitat availability: Property is comprised of a variety of land uses and habitat types, designated as follows.
Dryland crops (currently in spring wheat/fallow rotation) – 70 acres
Water/riparian/wetland habitat – 109 acres
Mixed-grass prairie – 99 acres
Wildlife use: The Teton River property supports a diversity of wildlife, corresponding to the various core habitat elements that are present on site. Grasslands songbirds, upland game birds, migratory waterfowl, predatory raptors, deer and moose have all been observed in the last year using the property.
Land management objectives: Pheasants Forever intends to manage this property for multiple uses, primarily wildlife habitat and recreation. Some land will also be in agricultural use, with the ultimate goal of sustaining a mosaic of habitat elements for multiple wildlife species.
The Teton River wildlife area is open to the public for year-round walk-in recreation. This property is enrolled in the Montana FWP block management program, which requires on-site sign in during hunting season. For more info about the property, block management program, and detailed maps refer the Montana Block Management guide.
Precision Agriculture is to identify areas of farming production with low or negative net return on investment, then evaluating and implementing alternative practices which beneficial for both operational sustainability and wildlife conservation.
South-Central Montana Habitat Specialist
The South-Central Montana Habitat Specialist position is based in Billings and performs habitat improvement work on public lands in this region. This position is part of the Montana Habitat Partnership, a coalition of government and non-government organizations including: Pheasants Forever, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks, Yellowstone Valley Pheasants Forever, Billings Rod & Gun Club, and Montana Chapter of Safari Club International. Activities focus mainly on farming methods to enhance pheasant habitat as well as providing benefits for many other wildlife species. The three main properties where work is performed are; Pompeys Pillar Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Yellowstone Wildlife Management Area, and Grant Marsh Wildlife Management Area.
Flaxville, MT WPA Addition
Pheasants Forever and partners recently purchased 40 acres in northeast Montana as an addition to the Flaxville Waterfowl Production Area (WPA). The acquisition, spearheaded by Pheasants Forever chapters in Montana, expands Flaxville WPA to 148 acres and provides improved upland habitat for pheasants, prairie grouse, waterfowl, and a myriad of grassland songbirds. The property is now owned and managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service out of the Northeast Montana Wetland Management District.
Pheasants Forever, the Montana Fish & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Ducks Unlimited-Montana partnered to protect upland pasture and marginal cropland for the benefit of wildlife and public hunting. The acquisition expands the existing WPA by 37 percent and adds permanent nesting cover adjacent to 436 acres enrolled in Montana’s Open Fields Program, resulting in an improved complex of wildlife habitat. The cropland is being restored to native grasslands and will provide public hunting opportunities in the fall of 2021.
"We are pleased to have been a partner in this project to conserve habitat and provide more public access in northeast Montana," said Trent Kleppen, president for the Northeast Montana Chapter of Pheasants Forever. “This project really illustrates how vital partnerships are when it comes to conservation projects and enlarging the public access footprint in Montana, which is what makes our state so special in the first place.