The Business An operating ranch located in hunting-and-fishing heaven: 105 private Idaho acres at the confluence of the Salmon River and Crooked Creek, surrounded by the biggest U.S. Wilderness Area in the lower 48 states. Guided expeditions (for deer, elk, steelhead) generate 70% of the ranch's revenues; the balance comes from guests who opt for horseback riding, river floating, or relaxing in rustic, cozy cabins. Depending on your activities, rates range from $125 a day to $3,000 for a week of big-game hunting.

Financial Summary 1988 1989 1990

Revenues $239,474 $226,469 $197,193

Recast pretax profit $57,946 $42,256 $9,848

Price $2.5 million

Outlook Idaho's back-country outfitter and guide industry is growing 10% a year, but it's a tough way to make money; insiders say the typical pretax profit margin for these businesses is just 5%. Until last year, this seller had done better than that -- hitting nets of 24% in 1988 and 19% in 1989 -- despite operating the ranch more as a private retreat for his family than as a business. He now claims good fortune has returned. The ranch is booked solid for 1991, and 1992 is already beginning to fill.

Price Rationale Pretty subjective. There aren't many such properties left in America, and for most paying guests the appeal of wild beauty is enhanced by good hunting -- the five-year average success rate for hunters here is 80% for deer, 65% for elk. The seller suggests the purchase could constitute a real estate play, too; 70 of the ranch's acres could be subdivided, although it's hard to predict land values because some areas are difficult to access.

Pros Your very own private preserve: mountains, meadows, and the unspoiled Salmon, with no roads and no motorized vehicles allowed, and the nearest town 46 miles downriver. A business that, by the seller's own admission, has never been cultivated. Is there real potential?

Cons This place is remote -- accessible only by light plane or jet boat -- and expensive. As the 1990s wax, will big spenders wane? -- Alessandra Bianchi

Inc . has no stake in the sale of the business featured. The magazine cannot confirm the accuracy of financial or other information offered by the seller. Inquiries should be directed to Paul Resnick, 116 N. Robertson Blvd., Suite 603, Los Angeles, CA 90048.