April/May 2014

April/May 2014

April on the ranch is focused cattle.  It has been a very wet spring with lots of moisture.  Snow levels on the ranch are very good this year.  I expect the feed to be excellent.  The first productive trip to the ranch was Friday, April 25th.  We hauled up the cattle this weekend and vaccinated and branded them on the ranch.  This year, we have 6 Angus Pairs, 29 Angus Heifers, and 2 Bulls.  The ranch is accustomed to running a lot more pairs but this year the focus was on building the herd with very high quality Heifers.  We are running 18 Registered Black Angus Heifers along with 11 high-quality Black Angus and SimAngus Heifers.  Our 6 pairs are Red Angus Cows with SimAngus Calves.  We have 2 Simmental Bulls responsible for breeding our herd this year.  This weekend was spent hauling cattle, branding and vaccinating, placing salt, and checking fences.  The ponds are full for the most part in the lower sections.  The ice is melting on the upper ponds making water available towards the top of the ranch as well.  Grass is already growing so the cattle should be in good shape from the start.  Derek, our ranch manager, has been repairing fence that has been damaged by the deer and elk.  There are also a number of areas where trees have fallen on the fence.  The elk have tore up the fences all over the ranch so Derek will have a lot of time dedicated to repairing fence.  Spring is definitely a busy time on the ranch because we always seem to be running behind getting the ranch ready for the cattle.

I was actually able to find some time to get up and do some turkey hunting.  However, I only had enough time to hunt two separate mornings in May.  We had a lot of success locating gobblers and getting close.  The turkeys seem to be abundant this year and locating them was not a problem.  However, we kept getting close but the gobblers just wouldn’t cooperate.  Hunting turkeys later in the year when they have already gathered their hens can be challenging.  The gobblers would answer and come in to our calls but they just wouldn’t close the gap in order for us to get a shot.  Unfortunately, we were unable to take a gobbler this year.  Not surprising since I was only able to spend a couple hours on two separate mornings.  It is always difficult to find time in the spring to turkey hunt because of the other jobs that have to get done this time of year.  I hung three trail cameras while I was turkey hunting.  Putting up trail cameras is an important part of the big game management on the ranch.

Finally, we were able to spend some real time on the ranch getting ready for the summer.  Memorial Weekend allowed us to spend three days getting a pulse on what our projects are going to be on the ranch this year.  The weather wasn’t the greatest with a lot of rain during the weekend.  It snowed quite a bit the last night and we woke up to a few inches on the ground in the lower sections and about 4 inches toward the top of the ranch.  I put up the remainder of my trail cameras and was able to check on the majority of the ranch.  The elk and deer look to be in extremely good shape.  Bulls are beginning to grow their antlers and the cows look very healthy and ready to start calving.  Our trail cameras from last week show a lot of deer and elk on the ranch with a lot of bulls hanging around in their bachelor groups.  It was a productive weekend and the big game management this year has started off well.  It should be a great year for antler growth because of the feed and I expect hunting season to be excellent.