A couple weekends ago, I ventured back to our Missouri Ranch, for an early summer visit, this time our photographer, Nate, joined me for the trip as well. This trip was a major difference from my last visit with the unexpected snowfall.
The Missouri ranch is located in Southern Missouri and covers nearly 2.5 square miles. There is so much land to explore and wildlife to see. While this trip’s primary purpose was for taking photos, we got to experience quite a weekend trip. Touring the whole ranch took the entire weekend – we could have stayed even longer and seen even more.
We drove in Thursday night and arrived to the ranch well after midnight. We drove up the (STEEP!) hill to the Hunters’ Cabin where we quickly fell asleep as we knew it would be an early morning. (It took my little car, two tries to get up the rocky, hill, but she’s a trooper and she made it. Next time, hopefully I’ll be bringing a 4-wheel drive!)
The cabin is set up for hunters, with bunk beds in the bedroom and a double bed and futon in the loft. The decor is rustic and appeals to hunters with a bison head and deer heads on the wall and other stuffed animals throughout the cabin.
Friday morning, we met Randy, Jane, Andy (the Ranch Manager) and Kristie (Andy’s wife) down at the house to have breakfast and start the day. They took us down to the bison pasture where I watched and recorded video and Nate snapped photos as Randy, Jane, Andy & Kristie moved 300 bison from one pasture to another. It was quite the amazing sight to see. It’s an incredibly humane process – the bison just follow each other one right after another and start moving when they are called.
We hung around the bison for awhile and Nate got some great shots! I always enjoy spending time around the bison, just watching them as they interact with each other and graze. They generally don’t mind us being around. For the most part they ignore us and leave us alone – as long as we don’t bother them.
From there we went and saw some of the other livestock on the ranch – Black Angus cattle and what are called “Tiger Stripes” – a type of Braman Cattle, named so because of their unique coat.
We spent most of our time touring the ranch and seeing the land – from hiking along the creek to exploring one of the caves on the ranch.
The cave is incredibly cool. We had to hunch down to crawl through the opening, but once inside could (almost) stand up straight. The walls and floor were completely made of mud/clay and although it was incredibly hot outside – it was refreshingly cool inside the cave. Andy led Nate and I through the cave – Nate and Andy had head lights while I carried a flashlight. It was incredibly dark – but the flashlights helped. A trickle of water ran through on the bottom, effectively getting our feet soaked. We made it all the way to the back of the cave after 15 or so minutes where there was a small waterfall. We then took another turn to another end of the cave where there was a large spring – perhaps 15 feet in diameter and probably at least 5 feet deep. (The picture above is at the end of the cave looking upwards.)
The ranch is full of hills and grasses and trees and has a fishing pond. It really is a beautiful location and it’s so beautiful to see the bison roaming the huge spaces of land they have here.
We saw all kinds of wildlife on the ranch – from turtles to cave salamanders to deer, turkey, fish and yes, snakes.
Overall, I can’t wait until my next trip back – staying on a bison ranch so remote that it’s hard to get internet or cell reception – seeing such majestic animals free to mind their own business every day and enjoying the natural surroundings, plant life and wildlife was truly a wonderful time. I can’t wait to share more of our photos with you on our website and social media pages!
Visit Miller Bison at Elkhead Ranch you’re interested in more about our Missouri Ranch and vacation or hunting opportunities.