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Wildlife Water Guzzlers

npaden

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Okay I haven't closed on the property I'm buying in Southern Colorado yet, but I'm looking for things to do to improve the habitat on the property and one of those would be a more dependable source of water.

Talking with the realtor he really thinks water guzzlers are the bees knees and work really well. Typically for property owners they are as simple as a stock tank being fed by a catchment that is essentially a metal roof 3 feet off the ground with a gutter and downspout that fill the tank up when it rains.

I've been looking around and there are a lot of options. One that I'm looking at is a specific guzzler designed for wildlife.

Something like this:

Moutain+Guzzler.jpg


Or this:

SP-AZ-DTGuzzler-2.jpg



The 500 gallon size on the guzzlers is a bit on the smaller side if there are several elk drinking out of it daily but the next size up is pretty pricey. They say that by keeping the majority of the tank covered it helps quite a bit with evaporation loss. Another alternative is using a drinker setup that is hooked up to a separate storage tank. Something like this.

BLM-NM-Drinker-Roof-2.jpg



The draw back to the separate drinker setup is that they use a float valve that can freeze.

Anyone ever setup wildlife guzzlers? The place I'm buying has a seasonal pond but it looks like it dries up at least a few times each year. There are a couple other small ponds on the neighboring properties that don't look like they dry up very often but I'm thinking one or two of these guzzlers at convenient locations on my property wouldn't be a bad idea.

The other thing I'm looking into is doing a little bit of pinion juniper abatement on a selective basis to give some grass and other vegetation a better chance. I think that would help improve the habitat quite a bit.

Open to suggestions. Waste of time? First thing I should do?

Thanks, Nathan
 

Gellar

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The fish and game biologist for your area should be able to point you to projects landowners can do to increase habitat. Cost share options may be available and they should be able to explain that to you or give you contact info for someone who can.

I don’t know the cost of those guzzlers but burying a heavy plastic 55 gallon barrel with the top cut off half way would be a cheap alternative. It seems like people are always tearing down old tin buildings and you should be able to find that pretty easy too.

I would put the tin up off the ground. I could see an elk or a deer walking in that and putting holes in your tin. I could also see snakes living under that and we all know how hunttalkers feel about snakes.
 

npaden

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To me the cheap option is something like this:

1MDB5_11



Not bad for $270.

Bury that about 12" or 18" into the ground and put some type of ramp in it so that smaller animals can get in and out. About 1/3rd the cost and I could pick something like that up locally in Trinidad or Pueblo at the farthest and not have to pay shipping or haul it up there from here. Could probably build some type of cover for it pretty cheaply that would help keep it shaded so it doesn't evaporate as fast. The bears are going to use it for a bathtub though and probably tear up whatever I put on it. The cover might keep them from getting all the way in and splashing all the water out too.

I have 3 of those already that I use for different things (in smaller sizes) and they hold up very well.
 

npaden

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This one is $470. It holds 645 gallons and is a better size from a depth and all that. 8' diameter and 2' deep.

2177188


I could put the roof panels halfway over that and have them run right into it without even messing with a gutter. That would keep half of it shaded at least which would help on evaporation. I could buy 2 of those for the price of 1 of the fancy ones and wouldn't have to pay shipping.
 

Ben Lamb

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Cedar, MI
First thing I'd do is call CPW and ask to have the local bio come out and do an inventory of the place to see what you need to do for the PJ and other habitat issues.

Get a pro out there & make a plan with them. Local extension agent might be a good idea too.
 

S-3 Ranch

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I have built some guzzlers and they where done like this
1 . Roof with slope to gutter
2 gutter to holding tank 500-1000gallon 1/2 buried under the roof
3 tank with valve connected to 3/4 poly pipe
4 pipe to buried flush or slightly above ground guzzler with horse float valve
5. cover guzzler with something to prevent evaporation and also something for small critters to climb up when they fall in .
2A696B80-194B-4AAE-BE20-A125E3DB156A.png 50791E98-DC49-4B4A-81F7-69BAB9CADCF2.png
 

npaden

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The fish and game biologist for your area should be able to point you to projects landowners can do to increase habitat. Cost share options may be available and they should be able to explain that to you or give you contact info for someone who can.

I don’t know the cost of those guzzlers but burying a heavy plastic 55 gallon barrel with the top cut off half way would be a cheap alternative. It seems like people are always tearing down old tin buildings and you should be able to find that pretty easy too.

I would put the tin up off the ground. I could see an elk or a deer walking in that and putting holes in your tin. I could also see snakes living under that and we all know how hunttalkers feel about snakes.
First thing I'd do is call CPW and ask to have the local bio come out and do an inventory of the place to see what you need to do for the PJ and other habitat issues.

Get a pro out there & make a plan with them. Local extension agent might be a good idea too.
Thanks. That's for sure on my list for this summer. NRCS is who I've dealt with in the past on my properties here in Texas and they have been pretty helpful. I've gotten some cost sharing on putting in a pond and a watering system and have a good chunk in the CRP program.
 

S-3 Ranch

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I have built some guzzlers and they where done like this
1 . Roof with slope to gutter
2 gutter to holding tank 500-1000gallon 1/2 buried under the roof
3 tank with valve connected to 3/4 poly pipe
4 pipe to buried flush or slightly above ground guzzler with horse float valve
5. cover guzzler with something to prevent evaporation and also something for small critters to climb up when they fall in .
 

kwyeewyk

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Washington
The nice thing about the prefab guzzler tanks is they are designed to be wildlife safe, as others have mentioned you will need to install and maintain escape ramps in them if you use an open design. The escape ramps need to have a functional ramp that contacts the side of the tank as most small animals will swim in a circle around the edge so if the ramp runs out to the middle they often won't find it.
download.jpeg-1.jpg download.jpeg-3.jpg
 

Tussock

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Australia
Both the roof on the ground idea and the plastic trough will need to be secured to the ground properly otherwise they will get lifted up in the first big wind and could disappear. That metal roof is dangerous for that reason imo. Not to mention sharp edges while animals are stomping all over it and as mentioned is prime snake habitat and too heavy to lift up on your own to kill a snake or two. Those ground level plastic troughs will also get trodden on and may not last. Basically the water run off from that roof will overflow your trough in no time for very little holding capacity. A raised roof feeding in to a small tank, feeding into a trough would be way more effective for you. But more expensive !
 

npaden

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Both the roof on the ground idea and the plastic trough will need to be secured to the ground properly otherwise they will get lifted up in the first big wind and could disappear. That metal roof is dangerous for that reason imo. Not to mention sharp edges while animals are stomping all over it and as mentioned is prime snake habitat and too heavy to lift up on your own to kill a snake or two. Those ground level plastic troughs will also get trodden on and may not last. Basically the water run off from that roof will overflow your trough in no time for very little holding capacity. A raised roof feeding in to a small tank, feeding into a trough would be way more effective for you. But more expensive !
Actually the raised roof feeding into a storage tank then feeding to a trough would be about the same price, the only concern is that the float valve that controls the water level in the trough will freeze. It shouldn't really matter that time of year from a water supply perspective but I'm afraid I would end up replacing the float valves every spring.

The place selling the fancy ones claim they hold up to being trodden on.

Cubs+in+Tub.jpg


ElkHerd.jpg


Looking at other applications they are anchoring the metal roof to the ground with T posts or other means. I have a bunch of ground anchors that I use for trapping that would work for anchoring it down I think.

I did think the bears might use it as a slip and slide if it was setup the way that one is in the 2nd picture of my original post.

I left a message with the NRCS guy in that region, looks like they cover a lot of ground up there. Need to get CPW contacted also.
 

hank4elk

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I was going to say wind is an issue with metal and plastic tanks won't last with wildlife/cattle around.
They have some of those pie piece dishs over metal tanks around here.
One neighbor has a large area with concrete and metal collectors for his home. It covers a lot of ground & is fenced off.
 
Last edited:

npaden

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This dude has some great stuff! Watch the series
cattle panels and T-post will keep larger animal off the tin catch

I thought about those totes. I have one I use to move water around and water things where I can’t reach with a hose.

Can find them for $30 or $40 so you could get a lot of storage for your buck that way. An 1,100 gallon water storage tank is $1,000+ new. You could have 900 gallons of storage that was for just over $100.
 

S-3 Ranch

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I thought about those totes. I have one I use to move water around and water things where I can’t reach with a hose.

Can find them for $30 or $40 so you could get a lot of storage for your buck that way. An 1,100 gallon water storage tank is $1,000+ new. You could have 900 gallons of storage that was for just over $100.
I need about 20 of those totes and can’t find them n San Antonio
the metal braces are awesome cotton seed feeders
 

npaden

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I've put a pile of these in with both tin aprons and the pool liner ones.
They work great and the tin aprons with steel C purlins and channel posts are fire proof. Buried tanks seem to survive fire as well.
The California Society of Bighorn Sheep also has a nicely designed guzzler.
Those look great but I’m guessing those are very pricey. I called on some of the 750 gallons fiberglass ones and they were $2,600. I’m guessing those are even more than that. It doesn’t say how big they are but the fact that they weigh 800 lbs makes it sound like they are 2,000+ gallons.

Edit - found that they are 1,800 gallons. No price but I’m guessing pushing $5,000.
 

mtnrunner260

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Those look great but I’m guessing those are very pricey. I called on some of the 750 gallons fiberglass ones and they were $2,600. I’m guessing those are even more than that. It doesn’t say how big they are but the fact that they weigh 800 lbs makes it sound like they are 2,000+ gallons.

Edit - found that they are 1,800 gallons. No price but I’m guessing pushing $5,000.
You're right that they are expensive. Probably 6+ delivered.

Another thing that you could do is bentonite your pond or line it to see if it will hold water longer.
 

kiwi hunter

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Jul 21, 2013
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I'm putting in 2 ten thou plastic tanks. About 2k each and have a small trough with a valve to control amount of water flow, I'm also going to get a digger to enlarge the bottom dam.i believe one needs to get serious when it comes to water, money we'll spend in the long run. The only difference with my property is we don't get mare than about 4 below. My 2c
 

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