In part two of our three part series on “Why Land Conservation is so Important,” I asked Rick to discuss the Create & Conserve habitat events and the conservation projects he has done with us the past two years.
Me: What is the goal of the Create & Conserve projects?
Rick: When we look at a conservation project, we challenge ourselves to take on something that can make a huge positive impact on the environment and still be beneficial to the landowner. We look at things that they can’t easily do themselves. With a team of people and Bobcat equipment, we can perform jobs that may take forever for them to do alone, or are simply out of their budget.
Me: That leads us to the event we did in Montana. Tell us about it.
Rick: Create & Conserve projects are very specific to the area and each is unique. Last year in Montana, it was hugely important to identify a water source. After the wildfires that went through there in 2012, there were areas subject to erosion that can devastate the low-lying areas. Luckily, the property had some undeveloped springs, so we looked into what we could do to create a consistent, stable water source for ponds and also provide irrigation for the food plot.
With the machines, we built food sources for birds and wild game. We used native grasses and things that were natural to that part of the country. We took what was there and “put it on steroids” for a little bit in hopes that it would flourish so that the game could take advantage of it. We incorporated legumes and wild grasses and other natural vegetation to once again grow and minimize erosion.
Me: Rick, tell us about the 2013 Create & Conserve event in Iowa.
Rick: In the Iowa project, we went in and cleaned out overgrowth of woody and invasive species to provide cleaner bedding areas for birds and deer — south-facing slopes that deer use in the winter, so they’re getting the sunlight and also natural grasses that grow up tall around them and provide the cover they need. Then we cleared an area and used the compact excavator to build a pond that would provide water for the wildlife and irrigate the food plot.
Me: Describe the experience the week of the Create & Conserve event.
Rick: When we go into these projects, there are 10 to 15 men and women running around. Everybody has the same mindset that the project is not about our personal desires, but the owner’s. We put the landowner in the Toolcat™ utility work machine driver’s seat and then sit alongside of them and teach them. It’s a great bonding time, talking about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. The owners are just so grateful for what’s going on; they are on cloud nine. It’s always a positive thing when you’re working together.
Me: What happens after the event?
Rick: We’ve stayed in contact with the previous contest winners, getting biologist reports and landowner updates on the trees and grasses they planted.
Me: Tell us why you are so enthusiastic about the Bobcat Create & Conserve events.
Rick: The Bobcat Create & Conserve project is one of a kind. Nobody in our industry is giving away a conservation makeover. It’s your brainchild, Rob. We’ve always wanted to be involved in conservation projects, but this one is really extreme makeover for the outdoorsman or the landowner.
Watch Rick & Julie talk about their use of Bobcat equipment for conservation projects.
Rick Kreuter Biography
Rick Kreuter grew up hunting and fishing in the Black Hills of northeast Wyoming. He won a college athletic scholarship and later earned a degree in physical therapy from Chadron State College (Nebraska). While working as a physical therapist, Rick pursued his passion for the outdoors and became licensed as a professional hunting guide in his home state. As the outfitting business grew, Rick stepped away from the physical therapy clinic — where he had met and later married his wife, Julie — and devoted full-time to the outfitting business. Life in the outdoors was just what Rick was looking for, until he had an opportunity in 2007 to host and produce a nationally televised hunting show. “Beyond the Hunt” with Rick and Julie Kreuter has been on the Outdoor Channel for five years.