Fourth-generation rancher Clayton Hinsche is a busy guy.
Along with his grandparents, parents, aunt and uncle, the four-year-old keeps busy at the family’s 137 and 141 Mile Ranches south of Williams Lake.
He feeds calves from a bottle to “keep them strong,” cuts the strings on hay bails, goes with his dad, Ben, during haying, and helps his grandma pick Saskatoon berries.
Clayton also attends daily 8 a.m. ranch meetings over breakfast at his grandparents’ home on the 141 Mile Ranch seven days a week.
“I like the cows,” Clayton says. “I’m not afraid of them at all, but they do move around a lot.”
He also loves spending the day with his dad or his grandparents and doesn’t hesitate to point out his other loves — riding his pony or quad and practicing shooting his BB gun at milk jugs.
Clayton’s great-grandparents Fred and Rose Hinsche bought the 141 Mile Ranch in 1948 from May Fields. Around 1996, his grandparents Cliff and Jo Hinsche bought the 137 Mile Ranch.
All told, the family operation hosts roughly 500 head of cattle — mainly Herefords — and supplemental operations include selling hay and fencing.
Between Ben, his brother, Garrett, and Jo and Cliff, everyone is busy with calving season, taking turns working around the clock.
For the Hinsches, calving normally runs from March 1 until mid-April and because this year has been colder in the Cariboo Jo even made some earmuffs for some of the calves to wear.
Clayton’s mom Dana sells ranches and says there aren’t very many people in the younger generation pursuing a life of ranching.
“Younger people can make money more easily working at mines or the mills,” she says, but points out while ranching definitely has its challenges, at least cattle prices are presently “very” strong.
Dana grew up on the coast and embarked on selling ranches after her father Barry Kline passed away in February 2013.
He had started a ranch real estate business, ranchesonly.com, in 2002, so she stepped in to take it over.
The business covers five regions and hers is the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
Since taking over, she’s noticed that more people are inquiring about the Cariboo-Chilcotin because they can get more land for their dollar, she says.
One of the difficulties is the fact many ranches are being broken up to sell off separate titles.
Often people are interested in 20-acre hobby farms instead of 2,000-acre, large cattle ranches, Dana says.
When asked if inquiries come from young investors, she shakes her head “no.”
Most are in their 50s and already involved with ranching somehow, she explains.
Because it takes on average three years to sell a ranch, she encourages ranchers to think ahead.
“I would encourage any rancher who is thinking of selling to contact a realtor now instead of when he has to sell.”
Clayton and his mom love the serenity of living on a ranch.
“You can see all the stars,” Clayton says.
The San Jose River runs through the property giving a serenity Dana wouldn’t trade for the world.
Away from the hustle and bustle but close enough to drive to town in half an hour is the best of both worlds, Dana says.