Tuesday, July 12, 2011
There are many trails (and roads) in the Methow Valley where you may encounter cattle. Here is some sage advice on how to handle the situation when you meet livestock.
Cattle should be approached slowly and quietly. Suddenly startling cattle will cause them to act unpredictably and with a high degree of unnecessary stress. Cattle will often charge down the trail you want to travel when you approach them aggressively. The best approach is to sensitively alert the animals that you are approaching and ease off your speed. If you approach the animal from behind, allow them to move down the trail until they can easily move off to the side. If possible, travel off to the side of the trail, this allows the animal to figure out a better escape route. Cattle have wide viewing areas. Travelling directly behind them is a predatory move which causes them to move faster. Moving to their side allows them to better see you and to move away from you and off the trail.
If you happen to meet an entire herd of cattle or livestock on the road, stop, step to one side and stand still and quiet. If the herd is being driven under the control of cattle ranchers, let them lead the cattle in the desired direction.
Finally, remember to close all gates that you enter and exit.
Ranching and recreation go hand in hand in the Methow Valley. It's another one of those special aspects of living, visiting and playing here!