« Return to this article

for people who care about the West

Operation bullsling

  The Forest Service really slung the bull this time - eight tons of it.


To improve the vegetation and watershed of the Ishi Wilderness in northeastern California, agency officials strapped 13 tranquilized bulls into helicopter cargo nets and flew them out at the end of a 40-foot cable. The cattle were the last of a 400-head feral herd produced from strays left by ranchers. But they proved too wily for conventional roundup, said Laurence Crabtree, resource officer with the Lassen National Forest.


The impoundment, which ended with the butchering of the bulls, cost taxpayers over $11,000 just in helicopter time, but the effects on the land are already dramatic, said Dan Wells, a local guide.


"The native grasses are coming back," Wells said, "and it's nice to set up a campsite without all that bull shit."


*Jane Braxton Little