The Dry Lot. The tree carcasses are the result of brush management years ago, which after being cut were then burned, which Kit attests allows prairie dogs to move in quicker than had we just left the carcasses on the ground, un-burned.
First Stop: Dry Lot
At the Dry Lot, Kit explained the impacts of the extensive prairie dog towns on this pasture, and how this pasture compares to the surrounding ones in terms of forage availability, water management, antelope habitat projects, brush management, and - of course - prairie dogs.
The Whole Group
The whole crowd gathered under nearly-all-blue skies. It was a gorgeous day to be exploring the ranch, without too much wind and not a heavy cloud in sight.
Kit and the crowd
The holding pen at the Dry Lot
Some girls came to say hi!
We always try to move forward on issues like prairie dogs, which play a significant role in all levels of open rangeland management.
Second Stop: Roosevelt Flat
At our second stop, at Roosevelt Flat, we could see a clear distiction between 'prairie dog' territory and where their 'range' stopped, which was right about when the slope started uphill, indicating a change in soil type but also a change in forage availability. — with Kit Metzger.
At the Road
We were right by the newly-graded road, but sometimes the prairie dogs will even burrow up through the road surface, making driving on it not only very tricky, but also potentially dangerous.
It's a big country
Of the Flying M's 36,000 winter country acres, Kit estimates 7,000 acres are currently inhabited and affected by prairie dogs. While they don't always entirely denude the landscape, they do cause many problems for both livestock and wildlife, as well as the continuity of many plant populations.
Mamas and babies
At the calving cell on our way back to headquarters. Look closely and you can see a calf or two with their mamas!