Monday the longhorns came home.
Scant days after the annual bison sale, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service conducted an impromptu cattle drive from Fort Sill to a satellite pen north of the Cache "T." That's where Supervisory Biologist Walter Munsterman said staff will be working them in preparation for the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge's upcoming sale on Dec. 6.
"I've got about 26 cowboys here, from local up to Vian" in far eastern Oklahoma, he said.
In March 209 head of Texas longhorn cattle from the refuge herd were moved onto the L-1 and L-5 training areas at Fort Sill's Quanah Range, north of U.S. 62 and west of Oklahoma 115. A first-of-its-kind partnership between Fort Sill and the refuge, the relocation was intended to give refuge rangeland time to recover from a 40,000-acre fire in September 2011 and a persistent drought that continues to this day.
In order to move the Texas longhorns onto the 1,360-acre tracts, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service first had to hire L & J Construction Inc. of Anthony, N.M., to fence in the area so the longhorns could not wander onto Fort Sill's agricultural leases and graze those down. It was also to keep them out of Fort Sill training areas where they could be hurt or killed.
Interior fences had to be built to keep the cattle out of a big cistern and protect the original foundation of Quanah Parker's Star House.