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Producing Excellence

Donnie and Carol Ansley

Moriarty, NM

Red Canyon Ranch

Type of Operation: Cow/calf operation and hunting estate

Size of Operation: 220 cows, 500 elk, 18,000 acres

In Business Since: 1992

Farm Credit Partner: Farm Credit of New Mexico

Working with Farm Credit Since: 1992

Of the millions of Americans who hunt each year, a great many dream of the day they’ll come home with a trophy worthy of hanging on their wall. Finding that elusive animal is a challenge that many never overcome, but one privately owned hunting ranch in New Mexico is helping to improve their odds.

Donnie and Carol Ansley own and operate Red Canyon Ranch, a family operation covering more than 18,000 acres and home to a natural herd of antelope and mule deer. The bigger draw is the herd of elk bred and raised since 2002 and the managed herd of mule deer and aoudad. The Ansleys’ experience with their cow/calf operation has served them well. “The elk are handled much like cattle, but they have a very different temperament,” says Carol. “The animals are very unique, majestic and powerful.”

Hunters come from all over the U.S. and the world – as far away as Australia, Spain, Mexico and New Zealand – to hunt at Red Canyon Ranch. Carol points out that, given the size of the hunting area, these hunters are coming to a controlled hunt, and hunters need to actively seek their animal just like in the wild. Each hunt is led by an experienced guide to ensure the quality and satisfaction of the hunt. The Ansleys manage their elk herd to give the hunter the opportunity to hunt a mature trophy bull elk.

“We practice selective breeding, the same as in cattle and horse operations. We’ve worked at developing an elk herd that produces bull elk with 400” antlers,” she says. “We’ve harvested 50+ bulls ranging 380”- 467” in the past four years.”

Hunters enjoy an 8,000 square foot, four-star lodge with home cooked meals and fireside conversation. Only 45 – 50 hunters are hosted as guests each year during the September – December season. Half of these are repeat customers, indicating the quality of the experience Red Canyon Ranch provides. “We have over 500 elk on the ranch and I think we’re successful because we give the hunters what they’re looking for in trophy animals, the way they are treated, the lodging and experienced guides,” says Carol.

Although hunting season is just a few short months, the ranch is a full-time, year-round operation. “This really is a joint venture ranch, and the cow/calf operation and hunting are equally important to us,” she says. Each year the ranch produces calves that are at the top of the market.”

The Ansleys built their ranch and lodge from the ground up, working with Farm Credit of New Mexico for financing. “They’ve been very supportive, and have worked with us whenever we’ve had any needs,” Carol says.

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