Business Buzz: Private ram hunting business offers exclusive hunts

Northwest Colorado is famous for its elk and deer herds, due to the waves of hunters coming to the region each year. However, for those wanting to pursue different game, Mike Gates, owner of DJ Rams, offers specialized ram hunts on his ranch south of Dinosaur.

Gates grew up on the 1,000 acre ranch where he operates, and said he was raised caring for animals.

“I’ve always had livestock,” he said.

Six years ago, Gates began to stock and raise a variety of ram species. Jacobs, Corsican, Black Belly Barbado, and Painted Desert rams are now available for private hunts.

Hunters have access to up to 500 acres of the ranch. The success rate is nearly 100 percent, and Gates said he has received positive feedback from past clients.

“A lot of people have come back more than once,” he said.

Sasha Nelson, a Craig resident and field organizer with Conservation Colorado, recently hunted on Gates’ ranch. She and five others — a mix of bow and rifle hunters and a spotter — took down five rams. Nelson said she enjoyed having the opportunity to hunt game not typically seen in the United States.

“It was thrilling and really exciting,” she said. “[The rams] were leaping off cliffs hundreds of feet tall.”

Tristin Walls, a member of Nelson’s group, celebrated his 15th birthday on the hunt by taking down his first big game. His ram is currently being measured to determine if it is a record-breaking size.

“It was pretty special for him,” Nelson said.

As a way of growing his client base, Gates has increased advertising in the area; he especially hopes to attract younger hunters.

“It teaches the ethics of hunting at a young age,” Gates explained.

Because the hunt is private, there are no age restrictions or permit requirements.

The rates for a hunt vary depending on the size and type of ram being hunted. Bronze, silver and gold medal hunts are priced at $400, $600 and $800 respectively. For more information or to book a hunt, contact Mike Gates at 970-620-0189.