The Pryor Times

Agriculture

July 18, 2011

Bluestem Ranch saluted

PRYOR — The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recently awarded its Landowner of the Year Award to Bluestem Ranch in Osage County.

Bluestem Ranch comprises about 43,000 acres of cross timbers and tall grass prairie and is owned by media mogul and widely known conservationist Ted Turner. Ranch manager John Hurd and his staff oversee management and day-to-day operations.

Bluestem Ranch is a working ranch that concentrates primarily on bison production, but it has adopted certain non-traditional ranching practices that benefit wildlife such as patch burn graze efforts, eliminating fencing and increasing pasture size.

The ranch uses limited amounts of herbicides and in doing so has restored brushy native prairie beneficial to quail and has maintained a high diversity of wildlife food sources.

The ranch also has established waterfowl habitat by building a wetland area and seeding shorelines for waterfowl food production. Four ponds on the ranch have been constructed and stocked with fish and two previously existing ponds have been reclaimed and stocked with fish as well.

Additionally, the ranch has established food plots, participated in the Wildlife Department’s Deer Management Assistance Program and has held youth deer hunts and supported youth trapping activity on the property.

More than 100 youth participate in the two-and-a-half-day deer hunts held on the area,

Hurd said one of Turner’s missions is to “restore and bring as much natural habitat back to his properties” as possible.

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