Upstate New Yorkers are used to seeing livestock every day and almost everywhere. Even amid the economic crisis in local agriculture, the Leatherstocking region is rich in farms and farm animals. Take a 10-minute drive in any direction from Cooperstown or Oneonta and you will encounter horses, dairy cattle, beefers, sheep, goats, hogs, llamas, alpacas, and more, usually idling peacefully within the fences, barns, and pastures of their hard working owners.
Sometimes we forget that the livestock are actually “live” and have minds of their own. Such was the case when seven cows went missing about a month ago from a family farm on County Highway 22 in Exeter. Three of them were soon recovered; two adults have been sighted in the vacant fields on Truman Road, and two of the other freedom-loving heifers continued to roam the badlands off Taylor Road, leaving their distinctive tracks and fertilizer patties in their wake.
When the owners received a call over the weekend that the Taylor Road cows had been seen at 1 a.m. crossing State Highway 28, the owners were concerned about the welfare of the cows and that of any humans they might encounter. It was time to call the cowboys again to corral the heifers before they got into any further trouble.
Enter WalkerEarl Cattle Company and S&S Horses ‘N Cattle of Argyle, New York, who specialize in just this kind of problem. Wranglers Jacob Rounds, Steve Batchelder, and Joseph Milton (pictured) arrived this past weekend with horses and lassos, and with their dogs Scooby, Tinsley, and Nova (also pictured). Being New York cowboys, they wore baseball hats.
Using the Schuyler Lake Fireman’s Field as their base, the three professional cowboys tracked the two heifers to a swampy area nearby, and captured one of the runaways, who was then escorted back to a waiting livestock trailer for the short ride home. They were unable to catch the second, despite several hours of searching.
Just as we were going to press, we were informed that number two found her way back home.