20071203

Buffalo Ranch Birthday Party

Steaming Cow Nostrils
Steaming Cow Nostrils, originally uploaded by JaseMan.

Mom turned 29 a couple of days ago so I decided to spend the big day with her in North Carolina. We did the usual things that most folks do on birthdays: hung out, told stories about the past, ate a birthday dinner and did whatever the birthday mom wanted to do.

Well, it just so happened that the folks down the road at the bison ranch were planning to tag the yearling calves and vaccinate the entire herd. Mom was invited to help out and brought me along.

Out for a stroll

The bison are sent down a fenced corridor after having been corralled. The photo shows the tractor in the rear "encouraging" the bison to walk toward the turnstile.

In the hole
This shot shows a pair of bison in the turnstile. Once in the hole, an observer would call out the number written on the ear tag, if the bison was tagged, and the color so that the ranchers could log the visit. Yellow tags indicate cows. Orange tags indicate bulls. Meanwhile another helper would squirt some vaccine on each bison.

Resident BisonAll freshly tagged bison were guided along to a secondary holding area for further medical work (some sort of worming, I think). All bison that were previously tagged were immediately turned out of the processing chute and released into the same area as us. Fortunately, per the ranching experts, bison aren't inclined to mingle with people and are actually scared of us so there was nothing to worry about.

The bison were returned to a grazing pasture (on the other side of the fence in the background of the photo above) once we finished with this portion of the herd.

Now it was time to round-up the remaining head and run them into the holding pen. Sweet! Where're the horses? Wrong. Instead of horses we did the round-up with some four-wheel drive trucks, a tractor and a fourwheeler.

Broke Down FenceIt worked really well, right up to the point where the herd stampeded right through the fence (right side of the photo). Most of the internal fences are 4x4 posts and electric fence wire, which works well if you want to hold a meandering buffalo. Not so much if you're trying to hold back several tons of ass-hauling bison running from a bunch of vehicles.

Oops. So, now what?

We had no way to contain the bison with the fence down so the tagging and spraying was halted. We spent the next couple of hours working out a way to fix the fence. This ranch, like most farms and ranches that I've visited, had a few piles of junk that had been kept for posterity. Now had just become posterity. We rounded up all the spare length of pipe and prepared to make a new stretch of fence out of pipe instead of wire.

Bayou engineered fence supportUnfortunately the junk piles didn't include bags of concrete, welding rods and a steel cutting saw blade so the progress was slow. We did have time to get three of the post holes dug and to cut a few lengths of pipe.

We had to leave before the fence project was finished. But, we had a lot of fun while we were there.

I'm glad I got to spend her birthday with her doing something she liked.

1 comment:

Lil Sass said...

Jase, I've seen Bison at Yellowstone and they're SO.MUCH.BIGGER then these ones. Maybe my eyes are deceiving me. Who knows.
What I do know is that by the looks of your most recent posts, you are one versatile motherfucker. I mean, bull riding in NYC, Vermont with some maple syrup swigging tree huggers and North Cackalcky with Bison? God damn Bargs, you're outta control!!! And I love every minute of it