South Plains ranchers search for missing cattle after storm

South Plains ranchers search for missing cattle after storm
Photo credit: Aaron Sims
Photo credit: Aaron Sims
Cattle Lost & Found post
Cattle Lost & Found post

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Ranchers in the South Plains and beyond continue to search for hundreds of missing cattle after Winter Storm Goliath.

In addition to killing thousands of area dairy cows, this blizzard weighed down electric fences and cut the power that allowed them to contain cattle on ranches.

In some instances, the snow drifts were so high cattle simply walked over fences.

Consequently, ranchers are taking to a Cattle Lost and Found Facebook page to post information and pictures they hope will broaden their searches:

"It's certainly serving its purpose very well," said Olton rancher Terry Martin. "They called and said, 'I think I have some of your cattle. I saw this on your post on there', so it has made a believer."

Even though Martin knew this storm was coming, he said there was no preparing for it.

"We were putting hay out and trying to put some wind blocks," he said, "just anything we could to try and make them stay home, but when it blows like that, they're going to get out."

Martin has hunted his cattle through pastures and online since after the storm hit last week. Some of his calves even got stuck in snowdrifts and died.

"They were just looking for some relief somewhere," he said, "so they were on the move. Most of them headed South and Southwest."

In one particular pasture, Martin lost about 120 cattle. He said some of them traveled over 40 miles to Anton.

While he has recovered most of his herd since then, about a dozen at a time, Martin said his search may last several more weeks.

During these efforts, he has recovered cattle for other ranchers as well.

"Most calves now will have a brand and ear tags," he said. "I've called and let them know that I've got them, that they're on feed and water, so they're fine until we can get together and get them out."

Martin hopes that other good neighbors or strangers will continue to lookout for these cattle, to help lead the rest of these herds home.

"That's what makes West Texas one of the best places to live is because people are willing to be like that," he said. "You really see how important they are in times like this, and we'll just keep on looking until we find them all…or what we can, anyway."

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