Holiday Ranch
Breeder of South Poll Grass Cattle

Yee-Haaa! South Poll Cattle Drive

Maybe I should not call this event a cattle drive because there was no “driving” and pushing the cattle.  I should probably call it simply a cattle move. 

Early on Sunday morning, October 17th, we (Cliff and I from Holiday Ranch and Bruce and Paul Shanks from Sassafras Valley Ranch) moved our cattle from one farm to another for the winter season.  The pasture they had been on for the summer is part of a hunting preserve and Bruce’s agreement with the owner was he would move the cattle every fall before the hunting season starts.  

We got up early, but not too early, had a cup of coffee, sat on Bruce’s front porch and watched the sun peek up over the trees and enjoyed the fall nip in the air.  We loaded Bruce’s ATVs and headed to the cattle.

We used “Sharon’s Bar and Grill” parking lot as our staging/loading area.  Bruce had made some neat signs that stated “Cattle Crossing Ahead”.  These were set in the middle of the highway on both ends of the cattle drive.  We rode a mile up to the cattle pasture and searched for and called the cattle.  When all cattle were out of the woods, we moved them up to the gate.  Bruce confined them in the corner by the gate with a piece of electric polywire, not electrified.  The cattle were excited because they knew they were getting moved and that usually means good eats!

We opened the gate, the cattle filed out onto the public blacktopped highway.  I can say I was a little concerned that they might not head in the right direction but they turned to the left as we wanted them to do.  Jake, the longhorn steer, led the way as he usually does in the pasture.

Paul Shanks and I were in the lead vehicle, calling the cattle to follow us.  Bruce was in the rear making sure all the cattle stayed in the group.  Again, I can confess I had some anxiety every time we passed an open driveway or a pasture that contained cattle.  Jake decided to stop and check out one pasture of cows for a minute or two but very quickly decided that following us was the thing to do.

The cattle were simply remarkable.  They steadily followed us and gave us no grief for any reason.  Cows, calves and Jake, the longhorn steer, were all remarkably well-behaved even ignoring a truck that generously shared the roadway with us. My favorite cow, 1307, was in this herd.  I have always said she can actually read your mind just based on her expressive face and docile disposition.  I am sure she knew exactly what we expected of the herd, so she decided to be one of the leaders.

 I was so relieved when we topped the last hill.  Cliff was waiting for us at the destination to assure the cattle entered the blue gate leading to their new winter home.  Neighbors across the highway from the destination came outside to view the cattle drive.  I was praying the cattle would enter their pasture and not turn the wrong way and trash their lawn and shrubbery.

Jake and cows safely in their winter pasture.

Again, my anxiety was unfounded.  These cattle filed into their pasture like they had been trained to do this, although this was their first move down a public highway. 

This 1.2 mile trip was accomplished in about 15 minutes with no incidents.  I give most of the credit to these remarkable South Poll cattle.  As Bruce says, “they just don’t get any gentler than South Polls”.   I say “the proof is in the pudding!”  An easy-going, docile, gentle disposition is one of the hallmarks of South Poll cattle.

 To view the cattle drive on YouTube, click here.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JaC7goNHyc

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