Originally, Brush Mtn. Lodge was built back in the 1930s where it was used as a school house for the families in the valley to attend school from grades one through eight. The teacher had a room in the back of the lodge where she stayed. Eventually it closed and the families left the valley and move to Baggs or further west to try and make a living. The old roof was replaced in the early fifties and it then was acquired by Bill Ditches who was famous for sitting on the porch having a refreshment and guarding the valley. It was acquired by Slater Creek Cattle Co. in the late ’80s to be used for hosting hunters in the fall. Brush Mtn., which initially incorporated 3800 acres, was purchased by its’ present owners, Mike and Judy Henricksen, who also acquired the lodge at that time which needed extensive repair. In 2013 we acquired the Mckee ranch to the west that gives us a total 9300. This is absolutely the best elk and deer hunting ground in Northwest Colorado.
We now have newly remodeled cabins with new baths, and kitchens, if you prefer to cook your own meals, or watch our new TV’s, use the wireless internet, our just site in the sauna or use the hot tub, all are available. We have an old remodeled chicken coop that we use to socialize, and tell lies about the day’s hunt, as well as hold pizza parties, made the old fashion way. When you consider your next hunt take a look at Brush Mtn.
A Story about Brush Mtn.
How we began and what it is now, all began when a couple of good friends in the late 1980s, after a lot of discussion over the years decided that instead of talking about buying hunting land we should just do it. Well, our resident agent living in Craig, heard through a contractor friend, of a Ranch that was located up by Slater that was foreclosed and was up for sale. It came together nicely and the original group of five went ahead and put an offer in and purchased it. It was unique in that it was only 1380 acres but had a well- engineered irrigation system with 7 big irrigation sprinkling guns with a capacity of 500 gallons a minute. The water supply was adequate most of the year to keep the fields well irrigated for grazing cattle. The unique thing about this is that is this whole system was gravity fed…
Well after about 4 years, some of the investors, or should I say the investors wives, got nervous about this investment, which we males used as a hunting retreat, so to keep peace in the family we decided to sell.
In this closing process, my good friend who was living in Craig still called me and told me that the Mountain, called Brush Mtn., across the way from our existing ranch was coming up for sale. This property consisted of around 3800 acres, and I kind of shuttered at the price. This owner was from Georgia and under some pressure to sell since he had 100,000 acres optioned in Mexico and his financer wouldn’t approve that deal until the existing property (Brush Mtn.) was sold. Unbeknown to us he only had like 45 days until his option to purchase the Mexican property ran out. Judy and I had a meeting in Charleston anyhow so we decided to rent a car and we met my friend at a Big Boy half way between Atlanta and Charleston. We were a couple of hours late but he waited and we finally got down to reviewing the maps and talking turkey about the property. We negotiated the price down and some terms on the closure along with the final price should we find no irregularities in the title, contamination, clarification of the water rights etc. This was all put neatly on a napkin signed by both of us and I wrote him check for the down payment which made me hyperventilate. We both had five days to cancel the deal and no harm no foul.
I got back in the car to return to Charleston and 10 miles down the road I told Judy that I was getting into my buyers remorse mode and didn’t think we should go forward with the deal. Her reply was “no, we are not backing out of this deal and are going to move forward with it.” I damn near drove off the road but that is how the Brush Mountain story started.
It is a marvelous property with lots of springs, (6 trout ponds that I have built) large areas of open sage for elk and deer to graze along sizeable patches of aspen and sorbus berry bushes for cover and feed. The top of the mountain is 10,100 feet above sea level but we usually access the hunting and fishing between 8000 to 9000 ft of elevation. The terrain is moderately steep but accessible for hunting and retrieving game. The hunting is done by foot mostly with the kills being retrieved and skinned in our processing shed down by the lodge.
Originally a portion of the lodge was a school house, and when we acquired it, the raccoons, mice, packrats, and squirrels have had free run of the place for many years. The cabins were in shambles, and the water came from a spring up on the hill which ran some times.
We have now remodeled each cabin, plus a newly remodeled old log school house which we have added to the lodging and all have WIFI, TVs, new kitchens and bathrooms with showers, and of course we compete with the mice in the fall yet but pretty well have them under control.
The lodge is up-to-date with a modern well-equipped stainless steel kitchen to prepare all the meals and snacks for hunters or for those taking a time out to watch a foot ball game depending on what you have on your agenda that day. Our ranch manager is there to tend to the details of the meals, and make sure that everyone has an enjoyable stay. The combination of the service and the large hunting area with excellent habitat will truly make your hunt an unforgettable one.
Mike Henricksen Sr.