Billionaire Wilks brothers buy ranch in southeastern Montana; take it out of block management

In September of this year, the billionaire Wilks brothers, notorious for buying up hundreds of thousands of acres of ranch land in central and eastern Montana, purchased the 24,500 acre Diamond Ranch in Rosebud County in southeastern Montana. The Diamond Ranch is located west of the Tongue River and Rosebud Creek flows through it. It's quite spectacular country, you can see some pictures of it here. The Billings Gazette reported in October of 2014 that the Wilks brothers own more than 341,845 acres in Montana.* From what I can tell, this is their first ranch purchase in southeastern Montana. After buying the ranch, they promptly removed the property from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks block management program, a program I am quite fond of. As most of you know or have heard, hunting along Rosebud Creek for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn is pretty amazing and Region 7 is the flagship block management region boasting over 2.4 million acres of private land that has been opened for public hunting. It's sad to see good ranch land being bought up by billionaire absentee landowners especially when they take away the ability of the public to access the land for hunting. Although, one can't get too upset about a situation that has a willing buyer and a willing seller unlike in the case of the Tongue River Railroad where billionaires are threatening to condemn private ranch land for private profit so they can ship the public's resources overseas. I digress. If you are interested, this is the 2013 block management map for the Diamond Ranch. If you'd like to see for yourself, you can go to the Montana Cadastral website here and then click on search in the top left corner, pick Rosebud County and search using their last name. *Correction: The original blog reported the 2012 acreage owned by the Wilks brothers. I have updated it to reflect the 2014 acreage as reported in the Billings Gazette by Brett French in October of 2014, which includes the Diamond Ranch. the old block management map from Fish, Wildlife and Parks  

5 Comments on “Billionaire Wilks brothers buy ranch in southeastern Montana; take it out of block management

  1. Block management is a program to benefit the FWP.. which I have no use for whatsoever

    • yea, who needs management?

      why stop at buffalo

      we only brought the wolves back so we had something to shoot right?

      The problem here lies in the ability to have billions of dollars. If I had billions of dollars, I would buy everything I could and lock everyone out as well. There aren’t many of us who would do the opposite had the situation actually come up. They wouldn’t be billionairs if they had given it away.
      On one hand I admire these guys for stepping up and taking their version of “The American Dream” one step closer to reality. On the other hand, I am jealous of their ability to make such a vast purchase.
      As for FWP, without them we wouldn’t have any game to hunt. It is ok if your not in favor of the FWP, maybe you don’t hunt. If you were raised in Montana like I was, you appreciate the ability to wander, explore, or even simply take in the sites to the many landscapes Montana has to offer. The removal of their private lands from the Block Management program is their right as property owners. Although this isn’t really the neighborly Montana attitude I once grew up with, times are changing and more and more people are making use of our public lands. I wouldn’t want anyone telling me who to let on my land.
      Access to State Lands is a sure thing, no questions asked, provided you can get to them from a State or County road. I rarely use these lands, partially because obtaining access requires a certain degree of investigation, reconnaissance, and social interactions through various heirarchial levels of the privcate and goverment sectors in order to obtain permissions. With increasing land sales, large and small, sectioning of lands by developers and property owners, along with out of state owners, access to State Lands is becoming increasingly difficult.
      The real problem lies in the population. There are a lot of us and everyone wants their piece. Just think, if there were only one million people on the planet, would we have half the issues we have today?

    • Mr Gregg, You don’t have a clue! You must not hunt, or you own your own ranch, and if so probably do not allow access for the public. Or do you lease land for hunting? Block Management greatly benifits the public, guys like me. I do most of my hunting on block managemnt and public lands. And I thank FWP for starting and managing the block management program. It benifits hundreds of thousands of hunters.This republican legislature is trying to take away funding for block management and habitat programs.Check out HB 2 and HB 403. This republican legislature has the same slanted perspective as you, they think block management is for the benifit of FWP and don;t have a clue that it;s for the benifit of the public. It appears that they are on the side of the Wilks brothers and other wealthy out of state land owners and outfitters. Ray Gross

  2. I see no mention of the kluver land sold to the Wilks at the same time as the sale of the Diamond Ranch. Perhaps since Kluvers have never allowed public hunting it doesn’t make as good a story line?