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We usually reach out with what's new at The Ranch. In 2019, we wanted to take a minute (or five) each month to focus on one of the things we don't want to change - our eco-system. Join us for an in-depth look into Rock Creek's fascinating biodiversity and its cultural significance.
Rock Creek Field Guide, Issue 1


The Ermine

The ermine, or short-tailed weasel is often spotted here at The Ranch among rocky forested areas or the wood pile outside the Rod and Gun Club. Its range is wide, from many of our Northwestern states and all the way to northern Canada. Though the species only weighs 6-9oz. depending on sex, it’s a fierce predator that can eat a third of its body weight a day. It can be identified by its long slender body and low profile.

Though you may see it with a mostly brown body, white underparts and a black-tipped tail mid-summer, these days the ermine is white in coloration with a black-tipped tail. Like many creatures, the ermine is physically effected by the length of daylight and temperatures in our Montana seasons. This is called photoperiodism.

Longer, warmer days equals more pigment and darker fur. Shorter, colder days result in less pigment and white fur. In return, this adaptation has allowed ermines and many living organism across Montana to survive the harshness of the seasons. 

Master Naturalist Kelsey Bruns
Ermine Illustration by Katie Helser


Trapping was part of Montana’s early settlement history. Native tribes, like the Kalispel, trapped and used weasels like the ermine for food. The Lewis and Clark Expedition (18-04-1806) was the first group of white explorers to cross Montana, and white fur trappers and traders followed close behind. The fur trade was mostly over around 1840, 49 years before Montana gained statehood.
The Ranch gives a nod to this chapter of our history with our Trapper Cabin. Modeled on the semi-permanent structures built by area trappers, our Trapper Cabin is a one-of-a-kind hybrid stone, wood and canvas structure. Settlers would be in awe of the in-floor hydronic heat and gas stove that make it a year-round glamping accommodation.
Take a Tour


Miners, trappers and ranchers settled into Southwest Montana in hopes of benefitting from Montana's natural treasures. If you've seen The Revenant, you know that centuries ago, the beauty of an untamed wilderness was always tempered by incredible frontier struggles. Today, local culture appreciates modern conveniences but still holds fast to its relationship with the land.
In honor of Philipsburg's 150th anniversary, our Rod & Gun Club wanted to help people form a deeper connection with the land and its history during their stay. They can embrace the contrast of frontier experiences with Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star luxury. Our curated Indulgent Frontiersman itinerary and special allows guests to choose two bespoke adventures inspired by Montana's brave frontiersmen and women. 
See the Itinerary
79 Carriage House Lane | Philipsburg, Montana | 1.877.786.1545 |

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The Ranch at Rock Creek · 79 Carriage House Ln · Philipsburg, MT 59858-9556 · USA