Friday, August 11, 2023

Buffalo Boys

My buddy Kelly signed on to the Durham Ranch not long ago. Buffalo aren't the same as cattle, but they still require the same cowboy skills. Wanting to see this country on horse back, I met him down in Wright to go check on the critters and ride the fence. 


Our mutual friend John Flocchini and family are the owner/operators of this premier bison ranch. 


With them being down a hand they called in Kelly for reinforcements. 


The 55k acre ranch is divided into 85 pastures. They practice holistic grazing, so they are only in a given lot for about a week. The red pasture is where they are now, and the outlined lot is where they will be moving to next. 


Before we could ride we had to go check on the herd and throw them a bit of cake, which gives them a boost durning breeding season. 


Every lot they go to they drag this mineral feeder around. It houses about 16 different minerals. Bison self-regulate. Somehow they know what mineral they need and go right to it, not taking more than they need.


The herd looks good. Counting calves, yearlings, moms, and bulls, the bunch is about 3k head. 


Don't pet the buffalo!


Then it was time to ride. No horsing around, this was a full gear day: spurs, chaps and gloves. 


I put together a new bridle and bit for Mollie. 


I like these solid bits with a little back piece that puts pressure on the roof of their mouth when you pull straight back. It helps them collect and stop well. 


It took a little introduction, but Mollie responded great.


Kelly and Chief led the way.


So beautiful back here. You can see the Pumpkin Buttes in the background.


These interior fences are mainly electric. This pasture hasn't been grazed in about a year, so there were some basic tending to be done like closing the gates. 


It's been a great year for grass. The ranch averages about 10" of moisture a year. With their grazing program they are able to maximize the grass. Looks pretty good for August in Wyoming. 


Just another day at the office. 


Cheeseburger in paradise. 

Living the dream. There is something nostalgic about a buffalo ranch. It takes you back to a time when there were no fences and the animals roamed freely. Progress is what it is, but ranches like the Durham Ranch do their best to imitate the natural ways of grazing. The proof is not only in the grass, but also in the bison. Both look quite healthy. But they wouldn't without the hard work of the hands. Kelly may be low man on the totem pole, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone more loyal and dedicated to the brand. He's a cowboy at heart, even if he works on a buffalo ranch. Keep up the Good work, pard. 

 

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