Bulls…and more bulls

Males, particularly males of the bovine species, can be very irritating and time consuming. Bulls seem to be uncontrollable starting in late March and ending in November. You never know where or when they have gone gallivanting off. You think they are in your pasture, especially made for bulls, but when you look there is only one bull or maybe no bulls! Oh, where have the bulls gone?

RealRancher Jonita Sommers talks about working with Hereford bulls in Wyoming
Sommers Ranch Hereford Bulls

Looking into neighbor Charles’ bull pasture you see twice as many bulls than should be there. Someone or somebodies go horseback while someone else takes the four-wheeler with fencing supplies to fix the fence. Yes, when you get down there, which is three or four miles from the house, the bulls have demolished the fence by breaking off several posts, breaking wire and managing to pop nearly every staple from every post.

Two hours later, the fence is fixed just as the horseback riders bring most of the bulls back to their bull pasture. All of the bulls are never found because one or two bulls have to go exploring. More than likely they have crossed the river and gone into Charles’ school section, but they could have gone up along the river and hid in the willow patches. You can be sure a bull is never where it is suppose to be located.

These Hereford bulls fight with each other in Pinedale, WY while Dan Metz moves them to where they're supposed to be.
Hereford bulls fight with each other while Dan Metz moves them to where they're supposed to be.

In the spring, the bulls try scattering like flies. Charles’ bulls end up in our purebreds or Luman’s little bulls end up in our cows that are calving. Our bulls get in with Charles’ bulls. Sometimes our bulls get out in our meadow in the Lower Field and tromp the ditches to pieces. If they get really active, they go through another fence and get out in the Soaphole with Charles’ and our heifers. At times, we have kept our bulls in the Swamp Field. From here they like to visit Miller’s yearling heifers in the Soaphole. You can ride hours or even days on the ridges looking for bulls. I have found tepee rings, karans, fire pots, arrowheads, sage grouse strutting grounds, petrified trees, but no bulls. Oh, where are the bulls?

One time our bulls decided to visit Miller’s cows. Albert sent the hired man to assess the situation and damage. The hired man came back with big eyes and as he told what he found his eyes got bigger and bigger. His story went as follows and he was sticking to it: “The bulls are in Millers — all of them. They tore down three fences. The first one is down for several posts, but the second fence is gone. There is nothing left of the fence going into the Cabin Field. It is gone!! The fence into Miller’s just has a few broken wires.”

Now, in the fall, you don’t have problems keeping the bulls in the field, you have problems finding them to put in the field. Every fall it seems you have not gathered one, two or three of your bulls. You go riding and looking for them. You talk to hunters who can tell you where they have seen about anything. You fly in a plane to try and locate the lost critters.

Bulls being trailed home after breaking into the neighbor’s field.
These Hereford bulls are being trailed home after breaking into the neighbor’s field.

One year, Wardell’s had a bull winter in Trail Creek Park. Snow machiners carried him hay all winter. One fall, we tracked a bull up to Tosi Peak, down Clear Creek and out Kinky Creek which was only a couple of miles from where we had started and had probably ridden fifteen or twenty miles that day. One year, two bulls were along the Green River Lakes road, and they would not come out. Shorty Steele had a horse trailer, so he took it while Dad and I took our horses in the stock truck. Dad would rope a bull, drag it to the trailer, throw the rope to Shorty so he could run it inside the trailer. Dad would dally again and drag the bull into the trailer. Both bulls were loaded in this manner, so they could be put in the pasture where they belonged.

The year Dad was hurt, we had a bull near the Bend which kept evading me. I would drive the 50 miles to look for him. I would find fresh tracks, but no bull. I would talk to hunters who had seen him just hours earlier, but no bull. I got Garlie Swain to go with me because I thought I just could see him. Garlie and I rode all day and it was the same story – no bull. There were just fresh tracks, and yes, the hunters had seen him that day, but no bull. Garlie and I went to The Place to get something to eat. Garlie was afraid Mom would be mad at us, so we were contemplating what to do when some hunters came in The Place and said there were some cows up the road toward Boulder Basin. Garlie and I went up there and rounded up the cows, but no bull. At least we didn’t come home empty handed.

RealRancher Albert Sommers (Jonita Sommers' Brother) trails the bulls back home near Pinedale, WY.
RealRancher Albert Sommers (Jonita Sommers' Brother) trails the bulls back home near Pinedale, WY.

Several years back, we had two bulls missing in the fall. Albert had ridden all over Eagle Creek and Lime Creek for the bulls, but no bulls. The hunters had seen the bulls recently, but no bulls. Before the bulls were found, it had snowed at least a foot in the river bottom, so Barry Raper was driving her dog team up there. She found the bulls and brought them out to the road. Albert did get the pickup and horse trailer through the snow and to the Kendall Bridge. He opened the trailer door and scattered some hay. The bulls came walking off the hill and walked right into the trailer. I think they had enough snow and no food. They were starting to get thin and ready to go to the field.

As you can see, bulls will be bulls. They are never where they are suppose to be when you look. Is it a male thing or is it just the males of the bovine species? When you have bulls, you have more bullll…..than you want!

From RealRancher Jonita SommersPinedale, WY

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