Quentin Hulse moved onto his ranch on Canyon Creek in the Gila National Forest in 1933, when he was 7 years old. He still lives there. We asked him how his cattle did in the drought of the 1930s:
"They didn't do, they
died! It was very dry. Just about like now. It was poor, hard
times; the very heart of the Depression. The government was buying
cattle and killing them. Most died. Less than 10 years later they
were rationing meat.
"We had about 150 head
during the "30s. When I stopped ranching (three years ago) I had
less than 100. The Forest Service cut me down, cut me down. There's
no comparison between the number of cows now and then. The range is
in way worse shape than it used to be. It started going downhill in
1948, when they started sending smoke jumpers in here to fight
fires. You can date it!
"1941 was the wettest
year. God almighty, it rained and rained. The field you came in on,
you could have cut hay there. Grama grass, my God. The worst flood
I can remember was that year. Goddamn! It took out some big
"In 1951, Dr. somebody - it was a short
name, I can't remember it - he'd go to the cattlemen and say, "I
can make it rain." He had his machines out, he turned them on. He
could make it snow right in the hall. They were paying him $10 a
section to make it rain. He got out of there, and it didn't rain.
It was a moneymaking proposition. He got the
"This is an extreme dry period. Three
years ago I sold my cattle and took a non-use. (The other ranchers)
are going broke, especially on the forest. Whenever my neighbor
can, he hauls some to the sale. Damn it, if we'd have had just two,
three inches of snow. Nearly always it comes. This year - nothing.
Flurries, cold, the wind blew...
follows another. Now there comes a flood. It always does."