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About Hardware Ranch WMA
The mission of the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area is to provide healthy habitats that support sustainable wildlife populations, and to increase public awareness and stewardship of Utah's wildlife. The Ranch also provides facilities and support for long-term wildlife and habitat research as well as increasing public awareness and personal stewardship through community outreach and education programs. The Wildlife Management Area promotes year round public access for watchable wildlife, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.
Research at the Ranch is funded through the Wildlife Restoration Act and administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has also contributed tens of thousands of dollars, aiding in the development of state-of-the-art elk handling facilities.
Each winter, a number of elk receive ear tags and are weighed in the trapping facilities. We use ear tags to identify individual elk and study population characteristics. Each year, a representative sample of elk are trapped in our research pens and tested for brucellosis and occasionally tuberculoses. The sample size is determined by the size of the herd and the DWR is given direction on testing by the Department of Agriculture and our DWR disease specialist.
The elk feeding program starts each winter when elk move on to the feeding area as a result of snow in higher elevations surrounding the ranch. Sportsman license fees and visitor use fees fund the feeding program and ranch operations.
The Ranch grows its own grass hay each summer to feed the elk. It takes about 300 tons of hay to feed the 500 to 600 elk that come to the feeding area for the winter. Adequate natural winter habitat in Cache Valley would be preferable, but due to development, this is not practical.
The visitor center at Hardware Ranch WMA provides the public with an opportunity to learn more about elk and other wildlife through interactive exhibits and programs.
School, special education, seniors and other groups can receive interpretive presentations with reservations.
Hardware Ranch WMA also contains approximately 15 miles of fishable streams and rivers with several types of trout. The waters are open for fishing throughout the year with appropriate Utah fishing licenses.