Wildlife On The Ranch
More than 300 elk live on and pass through the Ranch all year long. They have few predators in this area; there are no grizzly bears, very few wolves, and the few black bears that are nearby are very shy and seldom seen. Nevertheless, elk have excellent sight – especially for movement – an outstanding sense of smell and the ability to disappear quietly if they sense danger. The best viewing is just after dawn and during sunset when the elk are on the move from their beds to nearby grass fields. With a little patience and quiet stalking, most of our elk sighting expeditions have great success – so bring your camera, good hiking shoes and quiet clothes.
Many mule deer and antelope live in our irrigated alfalfa fields and on the mountain adjoining our upper ranch. Daily sightings are common: unlike the elk, seeing up to a hundred deer or antelope is a function more of the amount of time spent looking than good fortune or stealth. Red Reflet Ranch is also home to lots of small critters – foxes, marmots, prairie dogs, coyotes, raccoons and even an occasional skunk. Many raptors also frequent the area.
The Ranch has a large pheasant population living on Spring Creek. The population is supplemented annually, but the pheasants also breed naturally. Hungarian partridge and chukkas are mostly seen at the lower ranch, and grouse and prairie chickens live on the upper ranch.
The wildflowers start early in the Big Horn Mountains and the varied elevations, from 4500′ to 8300′, ensure a long flower season: from May through July around the Ranch, and longer in the nearby Cloud Peak Wilderness area (up to 13,000′). Some of the more beautiful species you will encounter are Spring Beauty, Lupines, Buckwheat, Yellow Bell, Columbines, Alpine Wallflowers, Balsam Roots, Black-eyed Susans, Larkspur, Showy Fleabane and Blanket Flower, to name but a few. We also have books and posters to help you identify many more of our local wildflowers.
We are also lucky to have as our neighbor the Nature Conservancy Preserve of Ten Sleep, an 8,500-acre sanctuary for protected wildlife. Their literature and self-guided tours provide a unique experience for guests who wish to better appreciate the wildlife and flowers in our neighborhood.