Last week's rains proved a saving grace for the Texas longhorn cattle currently pastured on Fort Sill.
Two years of drought and the largest fire in the history of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge led U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists to make changes in how the longhorns are managed. In order to give rangeland on the refuge a chance to recover, 209 longhorns were moved onto the L-1 and L-5 training areas at Fort Sill's Quanah Range in mid-March.
Last week, Refuge Manager Tony Booth said ponds on those two training areas were almost dry, and, if something didn't happen soon, refuge officials would have to consider hauling in water for the cattle. Then came the rains, and. while the ponds are far from full, there is enough water in them to get by until roundup time.
"I think we'll be good till we take them off," Supervisory Biologist Walter Munsterman said Tuesday.