Some of the feral cattle captured last weekend on Beanfield Mesa. The bull on the far left has a brand. Photo by Eric Peterson
Cowboys had to attach some of the feral cattle by rope to trees to allow them to calm down. Photo by Eric Peterson
One of the feral cattle captured last weekend by Los Alamos County Open Space Specialist Eric Peterson and his team. Photo by Eric Peterson
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Eric Peterson, Open Space Specialist for Los Alamos County says the feral cattle still loose in the County should be scared of him and his team of cowboys by now.
“My cowboys and I decided to volunteer our time over the weekend and were able to wrangle 12 more cows from Beanfield Mesa on U.S. Forest Service land. Four of them were large bulls weighing about 2,000 pounds each,” he said. “These aren’t your pasture cows. They fought us the entire time and broke ropes ripping trees out of the ground.”
Peterson said this is normal behavior for a wild animal that has never been handled by a human or been in a trailer. The weekend’s operation brings the total number of feral cows captured in Los Alamos County to 21.
“As always, we continue to appreciate the support and hope this is shedding some light on the serious issue we have with feral cattle. We plan to whip and ride until we catch them all,” he said.
Los Alamos County announced mid-April that a licensed and bonded contractor, Cody Fahrion of Busted Spur Cattle Company of Pagosa Springs and his team had been engaged to humanely remove feral cattle from Bayo and Pueblo Canyons.
Members of the community had been complaining that the feral cattle have been wandering on local roads, particularly near the White Rock Y causing concern for the safety of drivers in the area. Cattle, some of them unperturbed by the presence of humans, have been observed on local trails. County officials indicated that the cattle had also been damaging cultural sites and “been aggressive to recreation users” in the County.
The cattle removal operation was suspended briefly mid-May with about half the herd captured but was obviously reinstated. Peterson said more than a dozen additional cows have been spotted. The captured cattle had to be turned over to the State Livestock Inspector and any with brands are returned to their owners.