The New West collides with open-range laws

  • A car speeds past an open range sign on New Mexico's Hwy. 602

    MICHAEL FAGANS, GALLUP INDEPENDENT
 

Kent Knudson picked up a rifle and opened fire, defending his 40 acres in Arizona, and got handcuffed and hauled to jail.

 

John Ward, driving a truckload of hay in Oregon one night, rounded a curve and smashed into 1,300 pounds of bad news.

 

Brad Dorendorf, mayor of tiny Bovill, Idaho, tried to negotiate with an invading horde that chomped flowers and defecated everywhere in his town.

 

All three, and countless other people around the West, have been drawn into the struggle over another remnant of the Old West: open-range laws. Where open-range laws are in effect, ranchers don’t have to fence in their livestock. If the neighbors want to keep cows off their land, they have to fence the beasts out. The principle dates back to the 1800s, when cattle barons let their herds roam over public land and any private land that wasn’t fenced off.

 

Thirteen Western states still have some kind of open-range law, according to The Associated Press. Yet as the West fills in, more people moving into rural neighborhoods are bothered by livestock straying onto their property, and increased traffic means more accidents involving livestock that stray onto roads. Every year, about a thousand motorists hit livestock on roads in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah, and several die, according to research by The Oregonian newspaper in 1997.

 

Yet ranchers can’t afford to pay 50 cents to $2 per linear foot to fence all the land their stock grazes, says Steve Pilcher, vice president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Much of the grazing land is federal, so either taxpayers would have to pay for fencing, or ranchers would have to abandon their federal leases, Pilcher says. "It could be devastating to local economies in ranching areas."

 

"It’s an absurd law in the context of modern American society," counters Jon Marvel, an Idaho environmentalist who tried, without success, to organize a national group to reform open-range laws in 1994. Open range can be undone by grassroots efforts. Typically, if enough residents in an area get fed up, they can petition their county governments to hold an election to decide whether their area should be "closed range," meaning, livestock must be fenced in. Such efforts have succeeded in many localities, but they have to overcome ranchers’ grip on local politics.

 

John Ward, himself a rancher, had been involved in just such a fight before he hit the cow last September, on state Highway 66 near Ashland, Ore. Ward had been trying to close the range along that highway, and to close another 23,000 acres around his purebred Hereford operation, which was threatened by invasions of another rancher’s cattle. Both those efforts were squashed by other ranchers who pressured county and state governments. Then, that night on the highway, "The cow just trotted down a hill onto the road, boom! — it really plastered my truck," Ward says. His insurance company paid $600 to reimburse the rancher who owned the cow, but only half the cost of a new truck, he adds.

 

Kent Knudson didn’t take the political route. Knudson, a freelance photographer, came home in January 2003 to find 20 cows trampling his yard near Snowflake, Ariz. He shot and killed one cow, and got charged with one felony count of "shooting livestock of another," which carries a maximum penalty of $150,000 fine and two-and-a-half years in prison, he says.

 

Knudson, who’s awaiting trial, reports he’s already spent $12,000 on lawyers. He’d lived around Snowflake for 40 years, he says, but now he’s moved to Phoenix partly because the rural culture turned against him. "The whole legal system up there is meant to do anything to help the ranchers."

 

Open-range laws are true "special-interest legislation," says one of Knudson’s lawyers, Foster Glass, who also represented another notorious shooter — Patrick Shipsey, a doctor and environmentalist who executed 11 cows that kept breaking through fences he’d installed around his 960 acres near John Day, Ore., in 1995 and 1996 (HCN, 11/25/96: Cows, ballot measure gunned down in Oregon).

 

Shipsey tried to challenge Oregon’s open-range laws, but was convicted of 11 felonies, and sentenced to 15 days in jail. He had to pay $12,199 in fines and restitution, and was required to do 880 hours community service. "His medical practice went to hell," and he also had to move, says Glass.

 

Many ranchers act responsibly, but one careless individual can give the industry a bad name, as happened last summer in Bovill, Idaho. One rancher’s cattle kept coming right into town, night after night, damaging residents’ yards and other property. The problem has ended now, but only because the rancher fell ill and his operation was taken over by a relative, says mayor Dorendorf: "Unfortunately, that’s what it took."

 

Anonymous
Jul 30, 2007 11:53 AM

Hi

 We all need to get together to end the Ranchers free range , They are responsiable for their cattle if they get hit by a car etc, The constitution was in place BEFORE the open range law .. so why cant we fight it ?? And where are the lawyers who would go Pro Bono to help us ,, ? They own cattle too,

I have raised horses and cattle but not to the extent that I need to pasture them on open range, I feed mine, And for you guys who thinks thses poor ranchers have a tough life your dead wrong,, They are lazy , half dont care to put out salt , or even check on them on a monthly basis, they drive new trucks send their kids to collage and most live in really nice homes bought and paid for ,,

 The one rancher in Snowflake had a blind cow running on open range, If I knew at the time Mr,Kundsen was having problems I would have helped out. He might have killed the blind cow? Then the story should have changed, The Mormans do own the laws here  but they dont own ME, or the property I live at, Any one who owns a lease on OR STATE federal land has at least 30 cows every yr at sale time that adds up to about $ 40.00.00 dollors a yr for them easy money ,, so we need to all help each other on this one PLEASE,,

 If any one finds a loop hole in the law please let us know And if there is a Good Lawyer any where please come to our aid,, as we people dont have the money like the cattle ranchers do ,, By the way I am taking one rancher to small claims because he was not signed on the lease for his cows to be here and in one day over 20 head ate over a ton of  hay , and ate every tree,& plant I started from seed, trampled my whole place, broke my gas line from the tank etc, But I have a right to sue him , his cattle was NOT suppose to be here,, fence or not ,

 I will let you all know how it goes , Thanks God Bless

 Truely Rose

 

open range law
carmen
carmen
Dec 30, 2008 08:17 PM
my son was almost killed yesterday by two escaped horses
when he was driving in the dark he was not speeding or drinking the horse owner expressed no concern for my son i did research on open range for liability i cant believe this law exists to protect ranchers profits who do i contact or what group do i join to have lawmakers change this unfair law?
open range law
carmen
carmen
Dec 30, 2008 08:17 PM
my son was almost killed yesterday by two escaped horses
when he was driving in the dark he was not speeding or drinking the horse owner expressed no concern for my son i did research on open range for liability i cant believe this law exists to protect ranchers profits who do i contact or what group do i join to have lawmakers change this unfair law?
quit whining
ralph
ralph
Nov 28, 2010 06:17 PM
if you dont like the cattle on ur land then u fence them off.
Anonymous
Jan 29, 2008 11:06 AM

1800's cowboys froze in a 20 century rock

Anonymous
Feb 06, 2008 11:10 AM

I live in New Mexico.  We own land, have the title, and it is open range out here.  That means motorist are to slow down and the motorist are at fault if they hit one of my cows.  My broblem here is the kids driving so fast they have no clue what could happen.  I have chased them down, told them what the law is here, but they don't seem to care.  I'm fed up with this and I'm ready to go back to the old west style, get the gun out and start shooting, maybe then they would understand.  My cattle are fenced in around my place.  We had a falling out last year with a neighbor who's cattle kept getting on our land, he let us know right quick it was our job to keep his cattle off our land.  We fixed the fence.

Anonymous
Mar 26, 2008 11:12 AM

 I am with both of you. I want open range to end. It is ridiculous and unfair to all residence and visitors. One thing I have to say though is that I am a Mormon, in the area I live in most of the farmers are Mormon, they couldn't be more passionate about changing the situation. I only know a few ranchers that are Mormon most are of other faiths. Now, this isn't a religious debate. I just wanted to point out it is the ranchers who own the law, not any religious group. I absolutely agree we just should all come together as simply U.S. citizens and end the open range. 

Anonymous
Apr 07, 2008 11:43 AM

add collin county tx to the list.  have a neighbor that let cattle, donkey and horses roam on my property without my permission.  i spent the money i didn't really have to put up a fence.  there runs a gulley in between the upper and lower lands of both our properties.  in rainy seasons, the gulley becomes a swift river and will take any fence down with its waters. therefore one cannot really put up a fence in the gulley. he refused to keep them on his property so i called animal control.  they told me colln county is "free range" and it was my responsibility to fence my property to keep his animals off. they did tell me if they came back on my property i could call them but when i did, i was aksed if i had them ready to pick up.  that means they expect us to confiscate them so all they have to do is load them into a trailor. they also told me i could charge him every day for pasture and take him to court ofr damages.  both will cost me money because it wold take a court to make him pay and even if i got the judgement it still don't men he will pay which means another court date.  this is a outdated law that long overdue to be taken  off the books.  the sooner, the better.

Anonymous
Jun 04, 2008 10:44 AM


Add Wichita and the surrounding communities to the list. A couple of weeks ago we were driving on a heavily used, paved road, at around 5:30 am in the dark and suddenly there was a black cow directly in front of our car. We had no time to avoid the animal. It was only about 10 feet in front of the car when it became visible so we ended up hitting it. Our car is totaled. Luckily we only sustained fairly minor injuries but because of this law and the fact that we are only carrying liability insurance, we are out a car over it.  We aren't the only ones either. Shortly after we got our car stopped, another motorist hit the same cow. I would bet that the rancher got reimbursed by his insurance for the cow but both of us who hit it are sitting here wondering why we are responsible for paying for damages incurred because someone couldn't keep their cattle on their own land.



 I for one had never heard of this before and there definitely were no "open range signs" posted anywhere near, on or around the road we were traveling on, nor are there any other cows visable from the road anywhere near where we had our accident. I just wish we would have been driving a truck so we could have hauled the thing home...but I would bet WE would be in trouble for stealing a cow if we did that.

 


Anonymous
Jul 10, 2008 10:41 AM


I am an Idaho rancher, formerly of Texas.  I have seen every state in the union at least 5 times and want to say, "I have never hit a cow, horse, goat, sheep, or even a chicken. 



If you city slickers want to live in the city, GO BACK, we don't want you out here.  Country is for agriculture, not your silly flower gardens and ranchettes.  I have seen your cities and you can have them.  You obviously have created for yourselves what you no longer want so you move into the rural areas and try to force what you fled on the rest of us.

As for the environmentalist...take a bath and I'll invite you to a wolf killin'


Open range law needs reform
Rod
Rod
May 16, 2009 08:19 AM
I own 400 acres of timber land along Hwy 66 in Oregon. Some of that property is wetland. Cattle owned by a local rancher damage the wetland and haze off nesting Sandhill Cranes. These cattle also eat the grass in the meadows to bare dirt. Then they roll in the dirt and build up about 1 inch of dust that gets washed away each winter. So open range is adversely impacting nesting migratory birds and causing top soil loss on my property.

The cattle seem to gravitate to my property perhaps because I have two all-year streams running through. The cattle deficate everywhere. This attracts tens of thousands of flys. Then mice proliferate eating the dead flys in October and Novermber. Its very unsanitary.

By the way, I cannot grow vegetables, blueberrys, or anything else the cattle like to eat. It turns out the renegade cattle rancher has more use of my property than I do.

Of course I can fence my property, and the rancher said he will not help. But fencing is very expensive. I have fenced as much as I have been able to. One big proplem is that snow weight on the fence wire drives the steel fence posts into the ground, so that each spring I have to go around and pull up the fence posts to their proper height. This Oregon open range law is a mightmare for me.
Idaho Open range-a way to fight back against cows
Idaho guy
Idaho guy
Oct 12, 2010 09:52 AM
I own property in Idaho and have complained to the ranchers that run their cattle right across my front yard twice a year to and from pastureland. They also run their cattle right through the blue ribbon trout stream adjoining my property, and the cows defecate in the river and trash the stream banks.

Whenever I complain to the ranchers they cite the Idaho open range laws and tell me "git y'sef a fince". finally, after some years of dealing with this situation I put up a post and pole fence around my property, which was more time consuming than expensive.

Because the cattle can still come into my property from the river side, my next tact is to legally plant on MY fenced in property loads of Day Lily (Hemerocallis spp) and other plants that are toxic to cattle.

For a complete list of plants that are toxic to cattle go to the Cornell university for lots of good info:

http://www.ansci.cornell.ed[…]display&ispecies=cattle

Only when cows start getting sick or when they are not a saleable market commodity will ranchers start paying attention to the needs and desires of their neighbors.

Oh, and regarding the wolves....
Their are about 12,000 cattle in the immediate vicinity of the valley I live in. The local pack came down along the riverbed to the properties of a few adjoining ranchers and killed 5 of their 1500 cows over the course of a year. The ranchers called in the feds and put pressure on them and wiped out the whole pack of 5 wolves. For about $5,000 worth of cattle that a) they graze on federal public property for $2.35 a head per season b) trash everyone's property if not fenced in c) trash pristine trout streams and d) they get reimbursed by their insurance company if they file a claim !

I had one cowboy tell me that "The cows have been here a hell of a lot longer than the damn wolves".. I had to laugh at that one, but felt bad for him because he was "edumacated" in Idaho and that's how they think.
open range
gavin
gavin
Nov 28, 2010 06:25 PM
this guy pretty much hit the nail on the head!If you are too wimpy enough to drive on a road with cattle, move to england or something!
we dont want you.
Motorists have no rights on public highways thanks to ranchers
Jen
Jen
May 30, 2009 01:16 AM
Last Halloween morning I was headed to work early, still pitch black - no moon. I was 1/2 mile out of town, going below the speed limit, staring straight ahead - no distractions and all of a sudden a black wall was in front of me. when i came to both air bags were deployed, my windshield was shattered and caving in and the only thing I knew was I was still moving forward (thank god). I was able to stop my car, and somehow managed to get out of the car. the person who stopped to help, told me that I had just hit three cows. in her headlights I could see 4 more standing off the road - luckily i only received minor injuries although i have been approached by several of the first responders who could not believe i was alive, let alone not grievously injured. i found out later that the rancher was angry with ME because i had "gutted" three of his black angus cows. his ranch was over two miles away. there was a feces trail from the cows showing their path to the highway. my lawyer told me that unless i was dead or grievously injured the rancher had more rights than me - even on a public highway - no "free range cow signs" for several miles from my accident site. the cows were in an unfenced yard (large land owner right outside of town). my car of course was beyond totaled, i have the pictures and they tell the story. i still have nightmares...thank god my brain blocked most of it out, but i remember the "black wall" and coming to as if in some horrible nightmare - completely stunned. i fear driving at night or in the dark period. i can't drive over 40 miles an hour within a five mile radius of the accident site - i just can't. i went thru months of physical therapy. the ranchers son and mine know each other...he chose not to be a man and speak to me personally,. he communicated thru my child. said he didn't know how they got out...only three ways: fence down, gate open, or those damn cows learned to fly - all seven of them. months later he communicated thru the kids that he was very angry that i had killed his cows, loss of money, but that he did feel a little sorry for me. well...i know his name, but not his face, but someday we will meet up in this town of 1500 or so...and although nothing he could ever do could repair the physical and emontional damages due to his negligence...i would LOVE to make him taste his nut sack and explain very loudly how negligent irresponsible ignorant piece of cow shit he is. so for all you ranchers out there who feel that you don't need to take that extra time to check your fences...take this into consideration, they are dumb animals, they travel slow, but the do travel and IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to keep them fenced in. i should have been killed...consider that next time it might be your cattle...and the driver might not be so lucky.
Motorists have no rights on public highways thanks to ranchers
Jen
Jen
May 30, 2009 01:16 AM
Last Halloween morning I was headed to work early, still pitch black - no moon. I was 1/2 mile out of town, going below the speed limit, staring straight ahead - no distractions and all of a sudden a black wall was in front of me. when i came to both air bags were deployed, my windshield was shattered and caving in and the only thing I knew was I was still moving forward (thank god). I was able to stop my car, and somehow managed to get out of the car. the person who stopped to help, told me that I had just hit three cows. in her headlights I could see 4 more standing off the road - luckily i only received minor injuries although i have been approached by several of the first responders who could not believe i was alive, let alone not grievously injured. i found out later that the rancher was angry with ME because i had "gutted" three of his black angus cows. his ranch was over two miles away. there was a feces trail from the cows showing their path to the highway. my lawyer told me that unless i was dead or grievously injured the rancher had more rights than me - even on a public highway - no "free range cow signs" for several miles from my accident site. the cows were in an unfenced yard (large land owner right outside of town). my car of course was beyond totaled, i have the pictures and they tell the story. i still have nightmares...thank god my brain blocked most of it out, but i remember the "black wall" and coming to as if in some horrible nightmare - completely stunned. i fear driving at night or in the dark period. i can't drive over 40 miles an hour within a five mile radius of the accident site - i just can't. i went thru months of physical therapy. the ranchers son and mine know each other...he chose not to be a man and speak to me personally,. he communicated thru my child. said he didn't know how they got out...only three ways: fence down, gate open, or those damn cows learned to fly - all seven of them. months later he communicated thru the kids that he was very angry that i had killed his cows, loss of money, but that he did feel a little sorry for me. well...i know his name, but not his face, but someday we will meet up in this town of 1500 or so...and although nothing he could ever do could repair the physical and emontional damages due to his negligence...i would LOVE to make him taste his nut sack and explain very loudly how negligent irresponsible ignorant piece of cow shit he is. so for all you ranchers out there who feel that you don't need to take that extra time to check your fences...take this into consideration, they are dumb animals, they travel slow, but the do travel and IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to keep them fenced in. i should have been killed...consider that next time it might be your cattle...and the driver might not be so lucky.
Cows on the highway
CGW
CGW
May 30, 2009 12:38 PM
The same thing happened to me, but I pursued it legally. Turns out the state laws do favor the ranchers, but not if you can prove negligence, which I did, and I won the case. If the fences were down and should have been up, if the cows could fly and he knew it and did nothing about it, etc., then you have standing in the court. The trick is to be able to prove the negligence. I did, and it worked for me; despite the trouble and expense (all the winnings went to the lawyer), I didn't cave to the rancher mentality in this state and proved a point. I'll always be glad I did.
Free Range/Open Range
Julia
Julia
Jun 16, 2009 03:52 PM
You who are so extremely dedicated to the environment at the cost of human lives, take heed! Your costs for meats will increase the more you rail against open ranges. You want us all to become vegans? It just so happens that it's been found that they live shorter lives, with more medical complications. And, mind you, our civilization has grown and been supported because of its use and consumption of red meats producing animals. Do you have any idea how many products in daily use are directly dependent upon our cattle, not just for foodstuffs? You could go here and find out just how useful they are beyond food...

http://www.ancw.org/[…]/WOW%20that%20COW%20LOW%20RES%20Final.pdf

Open ranges developed in the western states of the 1800's and fed the eastern metro areas, too...who now have come to not appreciate that fact, when metro-dwellers couldn't even survive were it not for the foodstuffs that the rural free range lands provide. Learn history of the source of your foodstuffs before it gets to market, trace them back through the middlemen who bring it to the market.

I LIVE in rural America, and I don't see any wealthy farmers and ranchers around me...they're all struggling to stay on their places. That's the unprinted fact of the matter! Get out in the countryside and talk to those folks. They ARE my neighbors.
Cows on the Road
George
George
Jun 26, 2009 09:25 AM
I'm a photography student and was driving to Rachel, NV and was traveling on the Extraterrestrial Highway (to take pictures of the stars)...I dodged one cow on the road, only to hit the calf that walked into the road...scary thing thats ever happened to me and I can't believe it happened to me a couple hours away from Las Vegas...I had no clue about open ranges. Why the heck would the speed limit be 70mph, when it's an open range?!?!?!
I have no problem with open ranges, but maybe the speed limit should be 35mph or less.
Open Range and Night Driving
Anon
Anon
Jan 27, 2010 10:53 PM
I am amazed that drivers aren't aware that there could be animals on the roads at night. Not only cattle or open range livestock, but deer, elk, even moose.

I come from the city but I respect the traditions of the west. Open range is the way of life. For those who move from the city to the country, fence in your property if you live in an open range area and don't want cattle on your land. This is the West.
Open Range
H. Staffa
H. Staffa
Jan 29, 2010 09:09 AM
I have to tell you. Much to my suprise I was born and raised in the City. New York to be exact.. Spent my youth watching everything turn black from exhaust fumes and 500 people push through a subway entrance that was made for 20. I have been in Colorado for almost 25 years now and I own and run a Ranch. How is it when you live in populated areas people want to make laws so you can and cant do this or that. Then when they decide they are fed up with the living conditions and move out our way they want the standing history to conform to what they are use to.
Hey, all you people who are new and not accustomed to rural areas....
On the plains there are animals that possibly might interrupt your personal space. Be aware and be advised that your Toyota truck will lose in a fight with a dairy cow. Be advised a deer will total your Audi or BMW at low rates of speed.
Be advised ... Antelope are 2nd only to 1 animal in speed. An Antelope can run at speeds over 55 MPH if one hits you, your Subaru will not make it. Now your chances of getting into an accident with a loose domestic animal, while higher in the rural area's, are much lower then getting hit where you come from. And as more of you move this way more accidents will occur.
If you want to take up a fight why not take on the railroads and try to stop trains from colliding with cars.....
Seems to me the common denominator here is you the driver. You hit animals, trains pretty much anything that is standing. Why not try to conform to your surroundings rather then change them to fit what you know
you might even learn something on the way.
And for all you people about to say I have no feelings for the people injured in the car vs. animal accident category, you are wrong. I feel sorry for the animal. You are suppose to be smarter
And dont forget out here when in the Rockies the same rules apply with the animals. But occassionally you can throw in very large rocks hit cars too....
open range
Elaine
Elaine
Sep 23, 2010 05:03 PM
recently a half grown calf came up from the ditch area at approx. 8:30 pm and hit my vehicle in which I had already stopped for another truck so I was barely moving,but I am having to file on my own insurance for the damages on my vehicle and the owner of the calf is also filing on my insurance for the death of his calf that mind you hit me,and yes I live in NM in open range. Yes I think something needs to be done.....
herd districts
Harry J. Grubham
Harry J. Grubham
Oct 21, 2010 11:08 AM
If you think you can create a herd district in Idaho you'r crazy. We have been trying for almost 10 yrs to create one in the Calder area of Shoshone County. They just keep coming up with more requirements and hoops to jump through. First the boundries then 50% of landowners then 50% of persons who own 50% of the land etc. Impossible I guarentee it. Numerouse letters E mails phone calls to elected officials, nothing! There is one owner who owns approx. 30 head of cattle that roam the bottom land destroying gardens and causing all kinds of damage to permenate and seasonal residences. The Idaho Constitution Article I sec. 14 states that private property may be taken for public use, but not until a just compensation, to be ascertained in the manner prescribed by law, shall be paid therefor. Guess what? I nor anyone has been compensated for any grazing fees, grass stole, shrubs, trees, lawns, flowers, and yes fences destroyed by a one Mr. Maxwell's cows. We have no property rights in Idaho! We are sharecropers. One more note most of the peaple affected by Maxwell's cows are retired peaple that are in search of their American dream on the Joe. It is more of a nightmare!!!
ash dan
ash dan
Apr 27, 2011 08:39 PM
all the farmers and ranchers are being extremely ignorant and are failing to take into the consideration of the lives of drivers. THOUSANDS OF LIVES ARE TAKEN EACH YEAR because of the carelessness of you all. I was in a car wreck and hit a cow. it was black and dark and i didn't see it. it almost took my life.. my mom almost had to bury her child. Now i am an FFA member and have been for years and i respect what farmers and ranchers do as agricuturalist my grandpa has been a farmer for all his life and i raise and own my own livestock. however i strongly disagree with the free range law and personly concider it obsured! i totaled my car and have no money to buy a new one. apon that i live several miles out in the country so it is not like i can just walk to work or where ever. Something must be done about this law and i intend to change it. Whatever it takes on behalf of the drivers who were less fortunate than myself and the future drivers whomes wreck we can prevent by making agriculturalist responsible for the life they chose to live of raising cattle or other livestock. by fist proposing a renewal prosses of laws. the free rage law has been around sense the 1800's and established in Oklahoma in 1966. well over 40 years ago. Think about all that has change in fourty years! speed limits have increase as well as tecnology. Technology that can be used to upgrade a farmers facilities. Don't think for a second i won't let the injustice of favorablity of ranchers and farmers continue! it is infurating and will end. Thank you
Joseph Jones
Joseph Jones
May 12, 2011 01:52 AM
My wife and I own a small family farm in Oklahoma and our neighbors animals started comming onto our property and distroying our vegitable garden, He tried to tell us that Oklahoma is open range and we had to repair his fence. Luckly I didn't take his word for it and checked it out. Oklahoma did away with open range on Jan 1, 1966. If he doesn't keep his cows under control I will take him to court.
Charlene Fultz
Charlene Fultz
Mar 05, 2012 03:32 PM
Sorry but I have horses in Arizona. I can not let my horse run free, I have to keep them fenced and pay $20.00 a bale for hay to feed them. Why can a cattle rancher let his cows run free to feast on my hay. I went out to feed my horses this am to find a very large steer eating my hay. I ran out shouting to frighten him away. He did indeed run and another on the other side of the hay where I could not see him, also ran but they were still on my property. I advance a little and shouted again. At this point a very large steer with a very impressive set of horns came out from behind the hay. Thank goodness after staring at me for what seemed like a long time he also ran off. I must sometimes feed my horses at night and I wonder how I would have fared if I had run into them at night. Why must my safety be placed in danger on my own property just to satisfy a few ranchers who think I should be responsible for putting up a fence to keep their steers out. I have my horses fenced as a part of the responsibilty of owning horses. They need to be responsible for their cows.
Robb Cadwell
Robb Cadwell Subscriber
Mar 05, 2012 08:36 PM
What an interesting article, I'd no idea. I haven't put in long stretches of barbed wire in a while so I checked. As stated around fifty cents a foot or $650 a quarter mile. Triple strand, T stakes every ten feet. That's about how much you can put in if you start early in the day, without much trouble. As said above, "git a fince".

The no idea part was that I had no idea people didn't know about animals and driving. Here's some pointers. If you cross a cattle guard watch out, if you cross another you aren't necessarily in the clear, assume nothing until you are back in a city again. At night fifty is pushing things. The speed limit is just a number on a sign, you should never drive faster than how fast you can see and stop for an animal. Sometimes that means 45mph or slower.

I'm not a goat roper but I've done a lot of driving in the rural west, I try to get where I'm going by dark. I've also never hit anything (knock on wood) and if I did hit a cow I understand I'd have to pay for it. Be safe and slow down at night.