Hardware Ranch sleigh rides canceled for second straight year 

Nov 22, 2021, 6:45 PM | Updated: 9:37 pm

HYRUM, Utah – The drought has brought at least one Utah winter tradition to a halt. Managers at Hardware Ranch in Cache Valley, have canceled sleigh rides. 

Last year it was due to the pandemic. This year it’s because of the drought and a dismal hay harvest. 

This year the ranch grew only a fifth of the typical hay harvest. 

Farmers took priority this past season which ultimately left the folks out at Hardware Ranch with no water rights for the year, and not a lot of rain. 

The sleigh rides are a tradition that started in the 1950s. 

“Myself, I grew up in the Cache Valley,” said Brand Hunt from the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources. He knows what a big deal these elk rides can be. “Hardware Ranch was, it’s a fun thing to do every year.” 

The ranch usually has plenty of hay out at this Wildlife Management Area, roughly 250 tons each year to draw elk into the meadow for feeding. 

“We just didn’t get the water we needed and every, everybody across the state is impacted by the less amount of water that was available this year,” Hunt said. 

That means the Division of Wildlife Resources will have to focus on the essentials for now using what hay they have to check herds for brucellosis, a bacterial disease that can cause elk to abort their young. 

“We do that by trapping elk in our holding facility and when we have our sample size which is between 40 and 50 female,” Hunt added. 

While the disease has not been detected in Utah, it is in neighboring states and wildlife biologists want to keep a close watch in case it spreads to local herds. 

“We can put GPS collars on elk and we can see how far do they go? How far do they migrate? Do they mingle with known herds in neighboring states that have Brucellosis?” 

That means no room for sleigh rides this year.  

Hunt said they’ll save what hay they can for next year and hope for much more snow this winter. 

There will still be some elk down in the meadow. You just won’t be able to get up close.  

Hunt saID they’re also putting up some additional displays and educational programs to give people something more to look at up the canyon.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Utah Drought 2021

The East Bench of Salt Lake City receives a dusting of snow the morning of May 9, 2022. (Jed Boal/K...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Drought coordinator: Hold off on watering; consult the weekly lawn watering guide

The cool, wet spring Utah is having is exactly what the state needs in the midst of this historic drought. The wet weather won’t really make a dent in the drought, but it can help everyone save water, if we take advantage of it.
13 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Ogden mayor declares severe water shortage

Effective immediately, Mike Caldwell, Ogden City Mayor, has signed a declaration of severe water shortage. 
18 days ago
Weber State University has replaced grass and plants with xeriscaping at several areas of campus. (...
Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Weber State University saves 50 million gallons of water a year, more savings planned

Weber State University has cut water usage by about 30% thanks to an ambitious water conservation plan.
1 month ago
Chopper 5 shows just how much of the Great Salt Lake has evaporated. (KSL TV)...
Amy Joi O'Donoghue, Deseret News and Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Could Utah children help shape the destiny of the ailing Great Salt Lake?

To save the Great Salt Lake is to know its worth. To know its worth is to be educated about why it matters.
1 month ago
Satellite imagery of Sand Hallow taken June 2021. (Nearmap)...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Aerial imagery reveals the grim reality of ongoing drought in Utah

Aerial images provided by Nearmap, an aerial imagery company, show before and after photos of local reservoirs with receding shorelines: more evidence of the dire drought conditions that plague the state of Utah.
1 month ago
Sprinklers water a lawn in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 7, 2021. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issues his ...
Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

Salt Lake City, County focus on water conservation as peak-demand season starts

Both Salt Lake City and County are focusing on water conservation as peak-demand season begins after a less-than-average winter snowpack and as drought conditions persist.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
Hardware Ranch sleigh rides canceled for second straight year