If You Treat The Cows Like Crap…

, , , , , , , | Right | June 11, 2018

(I’m 18 in this story, working on a 200,000-acre grazing allotment, basically babysitting 1,200 beef cows for a ranch. The allotment is broken up into sections and we have to move the cattle from one section to the next within a given time frame to avoid fines, and while the area is really remote, there are some hiking trails, a fairly well-known lake, and other places that attract outdoorsy tourists. At this time, the other cowhand and I are moving about 300 head from one allotment to another on the dirt road. The other hand is up front, “pointing” the cows and trying to keep them from heading the wrong way, which isn’t too hard since the road is fairly narrow with a steep hill on one side and a drop-off on the other. I’m at the back on a young horse, pushing the stragglers to keep up. Note that livestock have the right of way and if you hit someone’s cow, you’re responsible. A guy in a shiny sports car comes roaring up on us, honking his horn. Once I get my colt under control I give him a crusty look. He rolls down his window.)

Tourist: “You need to move them off the road. I have places to be!”

Me: “You’re just going to have to wait. As you can see, there are 300 head and the road is narrow. When it’s wide enough up ahead, the cows will spread out and I’ll help you through.”

Tourist: “That won’t work! I need to get through. You need to get them out of the way.”

Me: “Dude, they have the right of way.”

Tourist: “I don’t care. Get them off the road.”

(I look pointedly at the steep hillside and drop-off on the sides of the road.)

Me: “Where?”

Tourist: “That’s not my problem.” *starts honking again*

(The cows ignore him, but my horse shies. While I’m settling him down, the guy revs his car and bumps into the hind legs of one of the cows. I make note of his license plate.)

Me: “If you injure a cow, you’ll be paying for it. State law.”

Tourist: “Where I come from, the cowboys will move the cows out of the way and be polite about it.”

Me: “Go back where you came from, then.”

Tourist: “B****.” *gets to close to cow and acts as if he’ll bump her again*

Cow: *takes massive crap on his hood*

Tourist: “Oh. My. GOD!”

(He finally slowed down and backed off. When the road widened out and the cattle drifted apart, he went blasting through them. The cow was fine, my horse had a good lesson, and two days later the ranch owner stopped in to tell us that the guy had complained to the rangers about us. Luckily, I’d spoken to a forest ranger first chance I got and gave him the guy’s description and plate number, so they had an idea of what happened and they advised him as to our free-range laws.)

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