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We were on our way across the river to feed the main herd their evening meal when Mike noticed a small herd of about twenty elk in the far, far field. Not willing to let resting elk lay, he whistled and hollered at them to get out of our field. They did move but they did not run away. Mike had started a wild critter stampede.
Elk herds don’t usually mix in with cattle herds and it is rare to see them near each other in the large fields. If the elk are on the move, they tend to stay a wide arc away from the cows. With the adrenaline coursing through their systems, the elk ran down from their grazing area, crossed the river with a tremendous white water frothing and forged into the field, near where our cattle herd with the newly returned five from the neighbor farm were preparing to eat their evening meal. As upsetting it is to have a roaming herd pass through their pasture, and still in a ‘getting used to the new arrivals’ mode, the wild frenzy of the elk sent the startled cattle scurrying not sure which way to run and no longer thinking about eating.
It took only moments for the elk herd to bound into the field with our cows, cross with hooves aflyin’ through the pasture, jump over the fence and up into the forest. We lost sight of them about 400 feet up and they had not slowed down one iota. They would be miles away within minutes.
We drove around our cattle with the Gator a couple a times while the herd calmed down after such an explosive startle. When some of the more senior cows realized we still had their dinner of a couple of bales of hay in the bed, the herd settled down and we were able to feed the hay to begin the meal process. We re-counted to make sure we had not lost an animal in the fracas. Thankfully all were accounted for and the rest of the evening went on as normal.