Engaging Journeys, Engaged Journalism

Cows 1, Bear 0

This Fall, out at my ranch on Rock Creek, I had a beautiful crop of apples on my heritage apple trees.

These old trees have been growing since the 1800s. I had dreams of applesauce and visions of apple jelly, until one morning when I found my apple trees stripped bare. Their limbs were pulled down and broken off, and there was bear scat on the ground.

A few mornings later, I saw the culprit galloping across my top field, heading north to the hills. Bears have such a funny, lolloping gait that I almost forgave him for his depredation. Plus, he looked an awful lot like Teddy Roosevelt’s Teddy Bear. I have a herd of cattle on my ranch, but I thought, with all the other food sources, he wouldn’t go after them.

The next morning about 7 a.m., just before daylight, I was feeding the cows from my hay truck. Mr. (or Mrs.) Bear loped up from my bottom pasture onto my top field and right into the feed ground. He must not have heard me, or smelled the cows. The cows, the bear, and I were all equally surprised!

However, the cows reacted first. On some unspoken signal, they all left their hay and chased the bear across the field toward the hills. The only thing that stopped them was the line fence. The bear squeezed under the bottom fence wire and made his getaway.

"I am out of here!" (photo by Aaron H. Warren)

“I am out of here!” (photo by Aaron H. Warren)

I would have thought that my cows’ first instinct would have been either to turn and run away from the bear, or make a circle around the baby calves to protect them. I have never heard of cattle chasing a bear, or any other predator.

The funny thing is that all my cattle, at exactly the same time, started on the chase. Even the baby calves ran after the bear. And my neighbor’s goat, who was eating with my cows, was right in the middle of the herd!

"Did we really do that?" (photo by Michael Brace)

“Did we really do that?” (photo by Michael Brace)

Other ranchers I’ve talked to have never heard of bear-chasing cows. Since that October morning I have seen the bear a time or two, but he stays far away from the cows. I guess he knows the score: Cows 1, Bear 0.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>