How in the heck did they get there from here?
As the snow flies, any lolly-gaggers, cattle still wandering the range will head in — seeking certain food and shelter. Where they finally turn up will sometimes have their owners shaking their heads in wonder as they puzzle, how on earth the cattle managed to get there (from here) when by all conceivable odds it should have been virtually impossible!
The renegade cattle have just made a mockery of several standing barriers that should have halted all wayward progress, long before they ever landed (so to speak) in someone else’s backyard — miles away from the home-ranch. Are they bovine-Houdinis?
Sometimes said homeowner is sympathetic (understanding that you did not intentionally drive cattle there); others —not so much, as not even a smidgen of empathy is exhibited as the transgressed-upon-party expressively voices their extreme displeasure with their unwanted guests (your bovine-buddies) in no uncertain terms.
Please accept our (collective) apology! It must, however, be conditional as the majority of cattle owners strive to keep their livestock within the parameters (deeded pastures or allocated crown range) they belong in. Yet, now and again, despite best efforts there is a failure or a breakdown in the system, and things go awry.
Wolves and other large predators cause straying/damage when frightened-flighty cattle (usually cows with calves) trample right through a fence or closed-gate as they flee (the predation) in collective mindless panic. In the fall; hunters and wood-cutters often leave gates ajar as they pass through, totally focused ahead toward spotting the perfectly dry tree or the almighty-big-buck; hoping to harvest either pretty much without leaving the heated-comfort of their vehicle for any more time than it takes to chop it or shoot it!
So, you see — there is generally a reason for a stray — so please try to forgive us our trespasses!
Liz Twan is a rancher and freelance columnist for the Tribune.