Driving Part VII

Day 7 – June 23, 2010

After a good day yesterday, the cattle got counted onto US Forest today.  I know I said we would push the cows up to US Forest land for grazing, but the drive is not over yet; we still have a ways to go.  This is the day where we drive the cows (or at least our particular group of cows) through the “counting gate” which is near the US Forest boundary.

The cattle get driven through the “counting gate” which is near the US Forest boundary. Grazing allotments are for certain numbers of cattle, so we're very accurate in our counts to comply.

The US Forest Service requires an accurate count of all cattle grazing on forest land and on today’s ride there is an alleyway built in to allow for counting of the cattle.  The Upper Green River Cattlemen’s Association pays a rider and an assistant to count the cattle by brand as they go through the alleyway.  Usually the counter calls out the name of the brand owner as the cow or yearling passes and his assistant makes a mark under the appropriate name on a sheet of paper.  The total head of cattle (cows and yearlings, calves are not counted) we put through today was 725.  This is a decent sized group, but yesterday the riders ahead of us counted through more than 1,300 head (head=number of cattle).

We had some dudes from the Box R Dude Ranch that rode with us today and they were all real friendly and quite helpful.  Two of them had been out to ride with us before in previous years.  For those of you who don’t know, dudes are people who come from all over the world to experience a real western cattle drive.  It is somewhat similar to the movie City Slickers, although the movie exaggerates a lot.  The dudes usually come to the Box R for a week at a time and often ride with us or do other trail rides in the mountains.

After counting the cattle, they are driven onto the U.S. Forest Service land where they will be driven to the appropriate "allotments" or areas for grazing. Grazing helps maintain a healthy forest ecosystem.

Once through the counting gate we pushed the cows on across a mostly useless and broken down bridge at Marsh Creek and then rode back to the truck.  We finished today’s drive in good time; we started about 5 a.m.. and finished about 10 a.m.  There were no major incidents; we had to doctor a few calves that were sick and my horse tried to buck a little, but nothing too exciting happened, which is a good thing!

From RealRancher Kent C. Price, Daniel, WY

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