Wildlife and wide open spaces are two of my favorite things…
Welcome back. When I’m traveling I get the chance to get caught up on my reading material so with the new Land Report just out, this week I thought I’d give you this year’s report on the largest landowners in America.
Taking the number one spot again this year with two million two hundred thousand acres is John Malone. A man who loves his land, Malone bought several new tracts of property in the past year including Homewood Castle just outside of Dublin, Ireland. According to the Irish Times, he paid 9.5 million for the 38,000 s.f. structure which was built in 1867 and sits on 427 acres. In the U.S. Malone also purchased a 7.8 million dollar home in California along with a 123 acre horse farm just a stones throw away for 12.5 million.
Ted Turner is number two again with 2 million acres. Although Turner didn’t buy any big new parcels of land during the past year, he did buy the Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
Here in Oklahoma two families made the list again. According to the Land Report the Drummond family in Osage county is 17th with four hundred and thirty-three thousand acres and out of Yukon, Bob Funk is 59th with one hundred and seventy-five thousand acres. As many know, the Drummond empire began over a century ago when Cecil Gentner and A.A. Drummond partnered up and of course nowadays the family has added Bartlesville native Ree Drummond (aka “The Pioneer Woman”} to the clan.
As for Bob Funk, his success is more recent. A man who started out milking cows with his dad on a small piece of rented land has become one of the most successful businessmen in the world. I’ve visited several of Funk’s ranches as well as the Drummonds’ and we as Oklahomans can be proud of the accomplishments of both families. To learn more about the 100 largest landowners check out www.landreport.com
Now from large ranches to large elk. Here in Oklahoma there are several herds of these beautiful animals including one just outside Bartlesville at Woolaroc. This group is often seen close to the road and with thirty-five cows and fourteen bulls, each weighing around six hundred pounds, their presence is nothing less than majestic. It is worth the trip to hear high pitched bugle of the bulls and with the Christmas lights up and going for just one more weekend, now is the perfect time to visit.
Here is some info about what to look and listen for when you’re around elk:
Calves are typically born in late May or June with camouflage coloring to protect them from predators.
Bulls shed and grow a new pair of antlers each year and the antlers can weigh up to 40 pounds.
Cows and calves live in groups but the bulls live in bachelor groups or alone.
Elks’ noises and physical posture can tell you what the animals are thinking. When their heads are held high with wide open eyes and rotating ears, the elk are alarmed. Laid back ears with flared nostrils, while stomping the ground with front feet, usually signals agitation.
Elk breed in the fall and guard their harems from other bulls, often leading to violent battles which occasionally result in death. This is one reason why you are warned to remain in your car when you are observing elk up close.
Another herd in Oklahoma lives on the J.T. Nickel Preserve outside of Tahlequah. Although this herd has been as large as 72 animals, they are free roaming so it can be hard to spot them but it is a beautiful preserve and well worth the drive.
If you are traveling in New Mexico you may get the opportunity to see Rocky Mountain elk which tend to be a bit larger. These are called “Roosevelt’s Elk” and the bulls which can be as large as 900 pounds are sought after by hunters who pay upwards to twelve thousand dollars for these trophies. I’ve seen them on Bob Funk’s UUBar Ranch in a place like no other called “Valley of the Giants” and my friend if you ever see one they look more like some kind of dinosaur.
Albino bear also live on the UUBar and sitings of Sasquatch or Big Foot as they’re commonly called have also been reported.
Can’t get to New Mexico you say? Well this Christmas when the family gathers take’em to Woolaroc which Frank Phillips called home. Till next week I’ll see ya down the road…