This picture happened today when we were gathering bulls out of their winter pasture to trail home to the feedlot. (You always know spring is officially here when the bulls start getting restless in their pasture and trying hard to mingle with neighbors’ cows to the east. Or south. Or in any direction. When bulls mingle with cows before their due time, calves are born the wrong time of year. So that’s why we have to bring the bulls home to the feedlot each spring, where we put them behind lock and key — well, an electric fence at least — and they’ll stay here close by for a couple more months before they get to pursue their natural ambitions. Breeding season officially gets underway around here about the first of July, and it’s part of a ranch’s responsibility to protect neighboring ranches from its bulls and their need to breed.)
Anyhow, we had just thrown the bull gather together this afternoon and we were kind of figuring we pretty much had the job whipped when what should we spot? Of course it was a bull (no — wait — actually four bulls) about halfway up the north face of what locals call the Hysham Hills, not mountains but notoriously rugged and steep. These hills actually serve as the southern fence for the bull pasture because they are mostly impassable and fairly proficient at keeping the bulls in.
YET… a bull determined to find a girlfriend can manage to get himself stuck about halfway up the hills… and through the years some especially persistent sires have even gotten themselves all the way over the top and to freedom.
Today it was not one but four bulls stuck halfway up. After our meeting of the minds (wherein we formulated a game plan for what to do next), Beau rode as high as he could get with his horse, then dismounted and scrambled after the renegades on foot. And he got ’em! And we brought ’em all home. And I can hear them bellering now, out there in the dark night, lamenting the reality that we’ve captured them yet again this year.
More pictures of the bull gather coming tomorrow!
© Tami Blake