Shabby blogs

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Our first bison round up on the ranch

Last night we experienced our first bison round up. Paul finished the new fencing, with help from a few friends and the Dunham males, and it was time to get the animals to the new area. With 2 - 4 wheelers and 2 pickup trucks, we set out to do the job. Paul was on one 4 wheeler with a bucket of "cake" to lure them our direction. It all started out well, and they came down the hill and went through the first gate without a hitch. HOWEVER, once into the first gate, they decided that they were not going to be herded into where we wanted them. We would continually round them up, herd them into a group, and get them going and then a few would turn and run the other way (at times directly at us - ever been real close to bison??? They are BIG and just a little crazy!) and the rest would follow. Karen (Nelson) and Paul were on the 4 wheelers and were racing around like crazy trying to keep them all in the right place. The trucks were really supposed to just create barriers, but we ended up doing our share of rounding up too. At one point one of the bulls turned and charged Karen. Then another time, they all stampeded her way and she ran into a rock and went 35 to 0 instantly. Something liquid starting shooting up from the 4 wheeler, so they loaded that one into the truck. Karen is experienced at rounding up - she used to have a 5000 acre cattle ranch and loved branding and riding round up. She prefers the 4 wheelers over horses to rounding up bison because the animals are a little more leary of chasing a vehicle than a horse. She was hurting a little this morning from slamming into the front of the four wheeler, but no broken ribs!!

We finally got half the herd into the gate and the other half turned and bolted. Try as we might, we could not get hte rest of them through that gate. So, after chasing them around for two hours, we called it quits and they'll have to move another day.

Bison are incredible animals. They are large and woolly looking and very intimidating. It is exciting being so close to them. Did you know that they are one of the two healthiest meats you can eat (ostrich being the other - ick) and that bison contains less fat than chicken?? I was surprised to hear that. It tastes just like beef to us, but leaner.

We had a great time playing cowboy. The kids and I rode around in the back of the truck hanging onto the ladder racks. The drive across the ranch was beautiful and by the time we got done, the sun was just setting in the distance. Beyond the peaks of Glacier National we had a glorious red/orange/yellow display of God's handiwork. This country is probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen. We stopped to enjoy the beauty of the view before heading back. As we came through the last gate and headed for the house, we drove right through the "Hollywood Herd" and Arnold. They hung out right at the road with us as we went by. Life doesn't get much better. We are so thankful that the Lord has us here right now. We hope that this is the area that He has for us.