The Circle Ranch blog, which prompted the creation of this site, was started in an effort to protect elk, aoudad, and burros from the war on invasive species. Over time, the blog evolved into a far greater, far more important discussion about healing our land and water by working with nature instead of against her.
My name is Chris Gill. My wife Laura and I own Pitchstone Waters.
I am a pragmatic businessman and a common sense rancher with an ecological bent. I believe in the power of private property rights, the necessity of ethical hunting, and the active conservation and restoration of wild animals and their habitat.
I cannot sit silently in the shadow of the status quo. Ecological ethics demand each of us speak up for the wild animals that can’t speak for themselves, and against practices—however popular—that harm the land.
My decision-making framework of choice is holistic management. It requires that practitioners look at the proverbial big picture and recognize that every choice we make reverberates throughout the entire ecosystem. Nature doesn’t operate in a vacuum, so neither can land stewards.
For the past 20 years, we’ve worked on understanding, improving and diversifying land in the high desert mountains of far West Texas. The best tools for achieving change at the landscape level are wildlife—elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, aoudad, mountain lions, black bear and many more wild species including so-called “exotics”—managed in conjunction with livestock.
In the desert, more water means more wildlife and more diverse plant life. Using planned grazing, water harvesting and innovative subsoiling techniques, we increased water availability in a dry land. Techniques pioneered in the high deserts apply to forests as well.
In April 2019, we sold Circle Ranch, our 32,000-acre Texas ranch and headed west to Idaho eager to apply what we’ve learned about resource management in a new setting, the Rocky Mountain West. Pitchstone Waters is our newest living laboratory, where the only dumb question is the one that isn’t asked.
Have a look at Pitchstone Waters
Have a look at our 603-acre ranch located near Ashton, Idaho, in the wild and scenic Fall River-Henry’s Fork outflow of Yellowstone’s Pitchstone Plateau