The owners and managers of the TE Ranch on the South Fork of the Shoshone River were recently recognized by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as the landowner of the year within the Big Horn …
The owners and managers of the TE Ranch on the South Fork of the Shoshone River were recently recognized by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as the landowner of the year within the Big Horn Basin.
The Duncan family and ranch managers Curt and Karen Bales were among seven landowners or groups of landowners across the state to receive the recognition. Now in their 26th year, the Game and Fish’s Landowner of the Year awards honor outstanding practices in wildlife management, habitat improvement, access for hunters and anglers and conservation techniques by these individuals and families.
Sprawling across 30,000 deeded acres and thousands of acres of leased public lands, the TE Ranch has a “revered history.”
The property got its name from Buffalo Bill Cody, who acquired the ranch in the late 1800s. The Duncan family purchased it in the early 1970s, and the Bales have managed it for more than 20 years.
Located about 35 miles southwest of Cody and bordering the Shoshone National Forest, the working cattle ranch is home to numerous big game species, including deer, elk and bighorn sheep.
The TE Ranch provides prime winter range for wildlife migrating in and out of the backcountry, along with summer transitional range.
“The ranch has kept the landscape from development and fragmentation — a huge contribution in sustaining winter range and wildlife,” says a Game and Fish video on the award. “Without this habitat, mule deer and elk populations in the South Fork Valley would not be what they are today.”
Grizzly bears and wolves also frequent the TE Ranch, and its owners and managers have allowed Game and Fish personnel to access the property to help manage the predators. They have also worked with the department on brucellosis management, have hosted multiple research projects and they make efforts to avoid bear-human conflicts throughout the property.
Further, “the owners and managers of the ranch realize the importance of hunting as a traditional sport and managmaent tool,” the Game and Fish says, including by allowing hunters to travel across the property on the Twin Creek Trail to reach Shoshone Forest lands.
“With a lifetime contribution to ranching and wildlife managmeent, the TE Ranch is worthy of the honor and recognition as the Cody Region landowner of the year,” the Game and Fish video concludes.