V Ranch Selected as 2009 Landowner of the Year

CODY- Jim and Terry Wilson of the V Ranch have been selected to receive the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Cody region Landowner of the Year award. The Wilson’s reside on the V Ranch, northeast of Thermopolis along Kirby Creek.

Jim and Terry Wilson (left to right)

“Their land stewardship efforts, passion for wildlife, willingness to accommodate hunters and their conservation accomplishments make them a worthy selection for the award,” said Brian Nesvik, wildlife supervisor in Cody. “The Wilson’s philosophy on ranching is to manage for sustainability, not just for cattle but for the resource as a whole.”

The V Ranch has nearly 200 acres of riparian area along Kirby Creek enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program and the Wilson’s have planted over 500 willow cuttings to help stabilize bank erosion and reduce silt run-off. They are very active with weed management control and have worked closely with Hot Springs County Weed and Pest to control and remove all Russian olive and salt cedar along Kirby Creek and its side drainages.

Two reservoirs were constructed to capture runoff to help heal head-cutting and have installed nearly 40,000 feet of livestock water pipeline, along with 10 watering tanks to facilitate improved distribution of cattle on their ranch. Their livestock grazing strategies are designed with wildlife in mind, which reflects on the diversity of wildlife species that inhabit the ranch.

The Wilson’s are very active in the Kirby Creek Coordinated Resource Management (CRM) and they, along with their neighbors, have been major catalysts in maintaining the momentum of the various Kirby Creek CRM habitat improvement projects that include stream restoration, beaver reintroduction, reservoir construction, water pipelines, prescribed burning, sagebrush management, and grazing improvements.

Kirby Creek Diversion project; one of many water conservation projects undertaken on the V Ranch to benefit both livestock and wildlife

In 2009, the V Ranch enrolled 6,000 deeded acres in Kirby Creek Hunter Management Area (HMA) as part of the Department’s Access Yes program. They also enrolled 5,375 deeded acres in the Copper Mountain HMA, which totals over 45,000 acres. The Wilson’s strongly support the use of hunting as a wildlife management tool.

Jim Wilson has served as past president of the Wyoming Livestock Board, President of the American Salers’ Association, serves as the Area 5 Vice-president for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and is a sought-after livestock judge. Both Jim and Terry have each served on the Hot Springs County School Board, and Terry currently serves as a supervisor for the Hot Springs County Conservation District.

Each year, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department presents its Landowners of the Year awards, recognizing Wyoming landowners in each region who have demonstrated a commitment to wildlife management, habitat improvement and conservation practices. The landowners were honored at a banquet on Sept. 9 in Casper as part of the 2010 Wyoming Hunting & Fishing Heritage Expo