Home on the Range

Here in Montana there is still a fair amount of open range.    Open range makes my job easier because I don’t have to figure out how to negotiate fences to do my job.   On the other hand  if there are cattle in an area with  a fence it can make my job easier because I don’t have to worry about them when that fence is between us.   Most of the time if there are cattle I don’t worry too much, open range or fenced pasture.  I just keep my distance.   Range cattle don’t generally crowd you since to them you are not the food train at this time of year and unless they see you as a problem with their young, you likely won’t have problems.


The exception to all this is bulls.   You need to be aware of there are bulls in the area. Earlier in the season I seldom ran into them.   Now it is the time when ranchers turn the bulls into the lands with the cows, and I almost always find a few bulls in with the cows and calves out on the range.   Only once did I get into a fenced area with them, and it was only because it was a required count of that specific spot.   Even that time, I was a good distance away and I think that my grasshopper counts may have been off because I always had at least one eye on what the bulls were doing, where they were moving and how interested they were in me.    A bull can move faster than I can run, so I definitely want to avoid any encounter.

Like in the city you choose not to put yourself in danger by staying out of shady neighborhoods or going out alone to certain places.   I can now pick the bulls out of  a herd as I drive down the road, I no longer need to stop and study the cattle to see if there a bulls before I decide to get out.    Like the city, I choose to avoid the personal risk.   Nothing is likely to happen to me, but just like urban dwellers I choose not to put myself at risk when I don’t have to.