The O’Haco Ranch Project
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The O’Haco Ranch Project

August 10, 2019

(quiet string music) (steam boat horn) – My grandfather came
to this country in 1898. Landed at Ellis Island
just out of New York. (train whistle) The trains were just coming to Arizona at the time, so he rode a train from New York, Ellis Island, to Phoenix, Arizona. (sheep bleating) Anyway, he worked as a sheepherder I guess you could say, for five or six years, saved his money, and then bought his own sheep. And then he started acquiring different ranches around the state, and when he passed away, he was probably one of the bigger sheep men in Arizona. And this was one of the ranches he had. (men shouting) My dad went off to war, and when he came back, he was the one who changed over to cattle. And they’ve been cattle ever since 1945. (cow moos) All my life. (laughs) I spent four years at the University of Arizona, and that’s the only time I’ve been away. I always tell myself, “You know, I haven’t
gotten very far in life,” (laughs) (birds calling) – I’d like to thank everybody for coming out today, and volunteering your time. You’re not just out here helping today with just somebody who
needs help fixing a fence. Jim gives back, and he does a lot, – Yeah, and he probably won’t thank me by the end of the day, so (laughs) – We have an Adopt a Ranch program in the state of Arizona, and the Red Mountain chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has adopted this ranch dating back to the 90’s. – What we’re gonna do is
split up in some groups, Jim’s gonna take about four or five people with Kevin, and they’re gonna go over here and actually put in a couple of the water troughs. The majority of us will probably break into some different groups and fix some fence around
the homestead here. – 65,000 acres that may be closed off if this program didn’t exist, and if Jim just wasn’t a good steward of the land. – We’re kind of doing it all to help the relationship, but also keeping it open and everything for all people (guitar music) – When we started this program years ago with the Arizona Game and Fish, started the new Adopt a Ranch program, one of the things that they were doing was trying to build a relationship with land owners and the sportsmen, and how to keep access open for individuals as well as hunters. One of the things that the Game and Fish’s access program does, we not only are doing our part to contribute to keep the ranch open, we also feel like we’re putting them back on the ground and helping keep it
available for everyone. (shovels hitting dirt) – One of the limiting
things in this country is water distribution. The O’Haco Ranch and some of these other partners, we’ve done quite the water distribution on this ranch. We have one well here that has over 40 miles of pipeline, 25, 26 drinkers, which basically cover every square mile of this ranch. (motor whirring) – Okay, good enough, huh? – You’ve got the food out here, water is the main limiting thing, and so when we brought
water into this country the elk definitely followed the water, and now that you have it in a year round perspective, the elk have done very well in this pinyon juniper habitat type. – Now, you’ve got it offset right for the flow protection, right? – [Helper] Well, I think so. – Bottom line is, Jim’s
a cattle rancher first. But Jim’s the type of guy, he very much believes that the land belongs to the people. – That looks pretty good. And then let’s see, maybe we oughta hook up the flow to see where the arm comes out. – You know, Jim is a steward of the land, and he believes that people should have use of the land, and through this program
and the cooperation with volunteers and Game and Fish, there again, he leaves this ranch open. – They’re about a quarter of the ball over the tire? – Yep. – Quarter to a third? That’s usually what we’ve
been doing, I think. Well, let’s give that a whirl, huh? (upbeat guitar music) – By watering the cattle, he’s also allowing the
wildlife to come in here and get the water they need. And our volunteers here in Arizona and every state, every RMEF volunteer out there is just a dedicated employee
that gives their time, they give their money, and we couldn’t do it
without the volunteers. You know, if you’re a hunter, if you’re a fisherman, if you’re an outdoorsman, get out and give back to the land because that’s truly what it’s all about. (hammering metal) – He’s made this a much
better habitat for livestock. In return, the wildlife doesn’t know the boundaries of the fences and that so they definitely move in here. – You see it? (shovel scraping) There should be a yellow-handled bell Let me see. – Coming out here and being good stewards of the land, I think is key, you know. They come out here and do
a one day work project, and they get a lot of work done. (water rushing) (slow guitar music) – A lot of the benefits that we’ve seen on this ranch in particular have come through the funding of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. – You know, he’s the rancher, and he provides a place for the animals to live and eat, but you know, the animals
belong to the people. – It is. You guys did good. Do as good on that other one over there and we’re good. – An organization like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation I can see the passion they have for their wildlife, and I kinda have the same so if I raise them here, they deserve to be hunted here. – You see these volunteers coming out here with their young kids, and I think that is one
of the most key things, that you develop that
relationship with the land. – If you don’t take care of the land, pretty soon you have nothing, you’ll have no wildlife, you have no cattle, you have no water, you have nothing.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Thank you RMEF and O'Haco ranch!
    What a wonderful community of people who actually care and do something. 🙂

  2. Great story of a great landowner and great volunteers. I've hunted that ranch under the AZ G&F access program and it is a remarkable property. Thanks to all.

  3. What a guy! Opening up his ranch to both wildlife and hunters. I can't believe someone gave this unselfish landowner a thumbs down.

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