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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PST

Feeding Elk Winter Work for the Belgians

Feeding Elk Winter Work for the Belgians

Feeding Elk: Winter Work for the Belgians

by Dan Moran, Princeton, MN

Doug Strike of rural Sublette County is spending his second winter feeding wild elk in nearby Bondurant, Wyoming. Strike is supplementing his logging income as well as helping his team of Belgian draft horses to keep in shape for the coming season.

From May to the end of November he uses his horses to skid logs out of the mountains of western Wyoming.

I accompanied Doug, who is my son-in-law, and his children, Dylan Jackson Strike and Mariah Montana Strike, on one of the elk feeding adventures in late December.

It was a thirty minute drive from the Strike residence north to the Bondurant feeding ground.

Feeding Elk Winter Work for the Belgians

When we arrived, we hiked in to the corral. Doug harnessed his team of Belgians, Rusty and Hubert, to a twenty foot sled. The team stays at the feeding site, sheltered by a log stable that is nestled in a valley close to a small stream that babbles through the deep snow.

The smell of hay, leather and horse manure brought back memories of the late 1940s in South Dakota where I first observed the use of horses, primarily for pulling bundle racks during threshing. A fond recollection of my childhood.

After harnessing up Rusty and Hubert and hooking up the hay sled we crossed the river to the fenced hay storage shed where we loaded up 60 bales of hay. The bales are about 1/3 alfalfa.

Then off we went through the deep snow to the feeding ground about 600 yards away. The elk were waiting, lackadaisically working over the remains of the last feeding. They generally move away from the sled as 10-year-old Dylan drives the team down the feeding line. Meanwhile Doug cuts the twine and pitches the hay off the sled in small bunches.

The wild elk fell in behind the wagon as we passed, each looking for the best forage. Large bulls with magnificent racks, cows with young calves, and yearlings-about 450 proud and graceful wild elk coaxed into the feeding ground by hay provided by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Feeding Elk Winter Work for the Belgians

This scene repeats itself in 22 other feeding grounds in northwest Wyoming because of the loss of native winter range for the elk. This loss occurs because of livestock ranching, roads, human habitation, and other resource harvesting operations, such as mining, oil fields, etc.

The project began in 1910 when the Wyoming legislature first provided funds to feed the elk herd in Jackson Hole.

Feeding is done to keep the elk from grazing with cattle, thus eating the feed of the cattle. It also helps to control brucellosis, a disease that causes cattle to abort their young.

Later on in the winter Doug will vaccinate the yearling elk for brucellosis. This procedure is done with a compressed air rifle that has paint to mark the animal in one barrel and the vaccine in the other barrel. He does only yearlings, shooting them in the hind quarter from 20 to 40 yards.

Feeding Elk Winter Work for the Belgians

Feeding also reduces the number of elk on the highways.

I found the use of Doug’s beautiful Belgian team an exciting example of appropriate technology. I am sure that using the horses saves the Department of Game and Fish a good deal of money on machinery. Using the horses saves both fuel and machinery.

Magical thick fog enveloped us on the morning that I went along – fog so thick that I think fish could swim in it, but the horses had no problem finding the way to the hay and to the feeding ground.

The entire operation was an amazing thing to see. About 22,000 elk are fed. This is about 2/3 of the wild elk in northwestern Wyoming. It is really great to see them and I am glad that the state of Wyoming had the foresight to establish and promote this program and keep this magnificent animal around for us to see and to enjoy.

Feeding Elk Winter Work for the Belgians

Spotlight On: How-To & Plans

Blacksmithing with Pete Cecil Building a Fire

Farm Drum #29: Blacksmithing with Pete Cecil – Building a Fire

Lynn Miller & Pete Cecil talk about Blacksmithing basics, and Pete demonstrates building a fire in the forge.

The Horsedrawn Mower Book

Removing the Wheels from a McCormick Deering No. 9 Mower

How to remove the wheels of a No. 9 McCormick Deering Mower, an excerpt from The Horsedrawn Mower Book.

Pulling A Load With Oxen

an excerpt from Oxen: A Teamster’s Guide

Harvesting Rainwater

Harvesting Rainwater

by:
from issue:

Collecting rainwater for use during dry months is an ancient practice that has never lost its value. Today, simple water collection systems made from recycled food barrels can mean a free source of non-potable water for plants, gardens, bird baths, and many other uses. Rainwater is ideal for all plants because it doesn’t contain dissolved minerals or added chemicals. One inch of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot roof yields approximately 600 gallons of water.

Basil Scarberrys Ground-Drive Forecart

Basil Scarberry’s Ground-Drive Forecart

by:
from issue:

I used an ’84 Chevrolet S-10 rear end to build my forecart, turn it over to get right rotation, used master cylinder off buggy and 2” Reese hitch, extend hitch out to use P.T.O. The cart is especially useful for tedding hay. However, its uses are virtually unlimited. We use it for hauling firewood on a trailer, for pulling a disc and peg tooth harrow, for hauling baled hay on an 8’ x 16’ hay wagon, and just for a jaunt about the farm and community.

Eighteen Dollar Harrow

Eighteen Dollar Harrow

by:
from issue:

This is the story of a harrow on a budget. I saw plans on the Tillers International website for building an adjustable spike tooth harrow. I modified the plans somewhat to suit the materials I had available and built a functional farm tool for eighteen dollars. The manufactured equivalent would have cost at least $300.

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

from issue:

Before starting to plow a field much time can be saved if the field is first staked out in uniform width lands. Methods that leave dead furrows running down the slope should be avoided, as water may collect in them and cause serious erosion. The method of starting at the sides and plowing around and around to finish in the center of the field will, if practiced year after year, create low areas at the dead furrows.

Farmrun On the Anatomy of Thrift

On the Anatomy of Thrift: Side Butchery

On the Anatomy of Thrift is an instructional series Farmrun created with Farmstead Meatsmith. Their principal intention is instruction in the matters of traditional pork processing. In a broader and more honest context, OAT is a deeply philosophical manifesto on the subject of eating animals.

To Market, To Market, To Buy A Fat Pig

Within so-called alternative agriculture circles there are turf wars abrew

Livestock Guardians

Introducing Your Guard Dog To New Livestock And Other Dogs

When you introduce new animals to an established herd or flock, you should observe your dog’s reactions and behavior for a few days. Since he will be curious anyway, it is a good idea to introduce him to the new animals while he is leashed or to place the new animals in a nearby area.

Disc Harrow Requirements

Disc Harrow Requirements

by:
from issue:

One of the most important requirements is disc blade concavity, that is, correct concavity. Further along we set forth the purposes of disc concavity. We feel it is important enough to devote the extra time and words in a discussion of the subject, because seldom is disc concavity talked about, and very few know that there is difference enough to cause good and bad work.

The Anatomy of Thrift: Harvest Day

On the Anatomy of Thrift Part 2: Harvest Day

On the Anatomy of Thrift is an instructional series Farmrun created with Farmstead Meatsmith. Their principal intention is instruction in the matters of traditional pork processing. In a broader and more honest context, OAT is a deeply philosophical manifesto on the subject of eating animals. Harvest Day is the second in the series, which explores the ‘cheer’ that is prepared on the day of slaughter, and dives deep into the philosophy and psychology of our relationship to animals.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

by:
from issue:

As we start, consider a few things when building a pto cart. Are big drive tires necessary? Is a lot of weight needed? Imagine the cart in use. Try to see it working where you normally go and where you almost never go. Will it be safe and easy to mount or dismount? Can you access the controls of the implement conveniently? Is it easy to hook and unhook? Where is the balance point? I’m sure you will think of other details as you daydream about it.

Planting Calendar and Other Diagrams

From Dusty Shelves: A 1943 calendar for seeding your vegetable garden.

The Milk and Human Kindness Stanchion Floor

The Milk and Human Kindness: Plans for an Old Style Wooden Stanchion Floor

by:
from issue:

The basic needs that we are addressing here are as follows: To create a sunny, airy (not drafty), dry, convenient, accessible place to bring in our cow or cows, with or without calves, to be comfortably and easily secured for milking and other purposes such as vet checks, AI breeding, etc. where both you and your cow feel secure and content. A place that is functional, clean, warm and inviting in every way.

Permanent Corncribs

A short piece on the construction of corncribs.

Build Your Own Butter Churn

Build Your Own Butter Churn

by:
from issue:

Fresh butter melting on hot homemade bread… Isn’t that the homesteader’s dream? A cheap two-gallon stock pot from the local chain store got me started in churn building. It was thin stainless steel and cost less than ten bucks. I carted it home wondering what I might find in my junk pile to run the thing. I found an old squirrel cage fan and pulled the little motor to test it. I figure that if it could turn a six-inch fan, it could turn a two-inch impeller.

Soil, Vegetation, and Acidity

From Dusty Shelves: Audels Gardeners and Growers Guide teaches us about soil acidity.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT