Last August we went to a weekend archery tournament and were gone about 2 1/2 days. The cows had plenty of grass and water, bu the problem was the frequent thunderstorms that weekend. We came home to find one of our steers mysteriously dead in the pasture. No sickness and the other cattle were fine. A lengthy conversation with the vet suggested the probably of a lightning strike. Our vet was pretty certain based on what we told him about the “Chili’s” condition and the weather over the previous few days.
So what to do? What does one do with the carcass of a 600-700# beast? Most ranchers around here have a bone pile. We don’t have enough acreage to have a bone pile out away from the buildings and other livestock. We also don’t have a back-hoe or a tractor big enough to dig a huge hole. I called the nearest rendering company, but no, they wouldn’t travel this far to pick up a dead steer.
The only thing I could think of to do is call the woman down the road that leases the state land across from us. It’s 640 acres of prairie and at the time, there were no cattle over there. I said, “Betty, I’ve got a problem and a dead steer.” Only in a ranching community do phone calls begin in such a way. So the upshot of my phone call to Betty was that she agreed we could drag Chili out there and leave him for the ultimate recycle. Fast forward five months….
We told Betty we’d go pick up the skull, bones and whatever else might be left. Since I’d marked the spot with a GPS, we were able to take the wagon and go see what there was, after five months of wildlife, prairie recycling.