Cows On The Range

Jackson stars down the cows.  August 20, 2014
Jackson stars down the cows. August 20, 2014

While hiking on the range a couple of weeks ago, I got a frantic text from my assistant.  It read:  “We have 3 black cows in our camp and I don’t know who to call”.

I had to read this twice.  Cows are not allowed on the Pryor Mountain Range, one of the things that make this range even more special.  I wasn’t too alarmed about this discovery.  With the price of beef right now, I figured the owner would be up to claim them pretty fast.

By the time I got back to camp, the cows were gone.  They had moved down the road towards Mystic.

I learned real fast who NOT to call when there are cows on the range.  Given the limited phone numbers and lack of choices, before I returned to camp, my assistant had called 911.  For future reference everyone, DON’T DO THIS!!

I do need to add, the day before the cows came to camp, we had a very nice FWP guy stop by to chat with us.  He informed us then, that if we ever had any trouble up here to call 911.  So Jeanne, given those instructions and your current situation without me there, I do not fault you for your decision!  🙂

Apparently this call did cause quite a stir with the law enforcement in Cody. (where the 911 dispatch was).  They contacted Jim Sparks (BLM) and the next day when I got down the mountain, I had a rather long message (followed by a phone call) from Jim on why this is not a 911 emergency!  HA

Sorry Jim and thank you for understanding.

The ranchers did come up looking for the 2 cows and calve, but were unable to find them.  I got their name and number and promised them I would call if I saw them.

Cows at Mystic, August 19, 2014
Cows at Mystic, August 19, 2014

Wild in the Pryors

I did not see them again until August 19.  They were at Mystic enjoying a drink.  It was amusing and interesting to see Custer and his band see them for the first time.  Remember, no cows are allowed on this range, so these horses most likely have never seen a cow.

Custer's band approaching Mystic before seeing the cows
Custer’s band approaching Mystic before seeing the cows

Custer and his band not knowing the cows were there, walked towards Mystic for their evening drink.   The cows and the horses saw each other for the first time, not sure who was more startled, but it was interesting to witness their reactions to each other.  The cows, being cows, settled down more quickly.  It took the horses a bit longer, but I was surprised and relieved that they did figure it out quickly and went down to the water’s edge.  On the opposite side and keeping a close eye on these intruders, but they did stay and drink.

Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors

I called the rancher to let him know that I had seen his cows and for the next few days, I tracked their patterns so when he arrived, I could tell him where they were.  They were very much creatures of habit and I did not have to spend much time to figure out where they would be at any given time of the day.

During that time, probably the most entertaining of horse/cow interaction that I saw was early the following morning.  Jackson, being the strong, confident stallion that I knew he was, had the cows “put in their place”  all on his own. (See photo at top)  Who says Mustangs can’t be good cow horses?  Not sure if any of my domestic horses would have done that on their own.  After keeping them where he wanted them for a while, he calmly turned and continued on his way.

A couple days later the rancher came up looking for his cows.  The cows of course, were no where in sight.  I told him they were in the trees behind Penn’s Cabin.  He was on foot (another person was in an ATV that stayed on the road). Once he located the cows were unwilling to co-operate.   As I watched the cows sprint towards Mystic, I jumped out of my truck and ran on foot to assist him.  We were able to push the cows up on the road, where he then continued to take them off the range.

Cows are now off the range.   Not sure how they got there, but the horses now have the range to themselves again.


Logo designed by Amber Bushnell.  Wild in the Pryors and this logo is copyrighted.
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell. Wild in the Pryors and this logo is copyrighted.