This Is The Way To Hunt!

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This is my son's 2010 buck.  He took this big boy on the backside of Cardiac Hill. He had climbed down about a third of the way and set his blind in place behind some fallen trees. He had scouted this area before and knew that the site gave him a perfect view of a small, flat ledge area that then led down into a nice little meadow.

He and his best friend Matt arrived at the ranch while it was still dark and got to his blind before first light. This was a really dark night. He took my John Deere Gator to the top of Cardiac Hill and parked it.

Once he got to his blind, he and Matt waited quietly for the first signs of light in the sky. They told me that they could hear animals moving around in the brush but thought it might be some of my cattle.

As the darkness of night began to melt away into daylight, my son repositioned himself so that he could peek over the fallen trees down to the small flat area below. He thought he saw some movement in the tall grass but it just wasn't light enough to tell. He eased back down and waited a little longer.

He decided that it was now light enough to legally shoot if he had a chance, so he once again eased back to a place where he could peek over the fallen trees. He quietly and slowly brought his Remington 30-06 auto into position so that he could scope the area below.

As he slowly moved the scope over the area below he came to a sudden stop and intently watched as a very large buck, lying in the grass, first twitched his head as if trying to shoo a fly away and then stood up. The cross hairs on my son's scope met directly behind the right front shoulder in the heart, lung area. Instantly and with no hesitation he squeezed the trigger. The big gun roared and the deer dropped without taking a step.

He and Matt worked their way down to the ledge. The deer was dead! The first thing my son did was get out his buck tag, fill it out and wrap it around an antler and tie it tight.  They field dressed the big guy and Matt climbed back up the hill and retrieved the Gator. He had to carefully work his way down the very steep area to get to my son and his buck. They loaded the deer and drove around the ranch to get back to our home. Once there they hung the buck in our barn and allowed me some time to take several pictures and then they  proceeded to skin the deer. They got him all washed down with cold water, bagged him and loaded him into the back of my son's truck for the ride to the butcher shop.

Now that's the way to hunt! Great job son.

Till next time, find something to laugh about. It's good for the spirit, soul and body!

By the way. This was the third big buck to be taken here on the ranch this year and we have a week to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cripes! It does taste good!

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At my age you would think that I would run out of things to be surprised at. That just doesn't seem to be how I live though. Several years ago I decided to start raising meat goats. The decision to raise these animals came from wanting something to keep me busy and I also wanted to make a little extra money from our ranch. I began checking out the different breeds and what it takes to raise them and decided on Heritage Spanish goats.

The Spanish goat was the first goat to ever set foot on the soil of this country. They were brought here by Spanish explorers in the very early 1500's.  Sometimes they escaped and at other times the Spanish just released them when there was plenty of game in an area. They adapted well and their numbers grew prolifically. At one time there were more than three million of them in  Texas alone.

As decades passed, producers began experimenting by cross breeding the Spanish goat with other breeds. Their goal was to create a goat that reached a larger size more quickly, had more muscle and better conformity.  They have been cross bred with the South African Boer goat more than any other.

Long story short, the Heritage Spanish goat has been almost bred out of existence. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has placed them on it's "Watch List". Their numbers had dwindled down close to the 8000 mark in this country.  That is a shame.

Some interesting things came to light as I studied different breeds. The Spanish goats are pretty much self sufficient and require very little human intervention. My wife and I spend some time around them feeding them some treats and touching them just because I don't want them going feral and becoming totally wild, which could happen since they have 283 acres to browse on. They do not require help with berthing and they require less hoof work than most goats. In dry arid areas of the country they require no hoof work at all.  In other words, they are pretty easy to raise.

They are a lot of fun to watch grow. They can do the funniest things and believe it or not, they will climb a tree in a heart beat.

After having raised these meat goats for a couple of years I decided to cook one myself. I mean after all, doesn't it seem only right that if you raise animals to eat you should be able to tell people what they taste like. I mean, really!

I butchered a ten month old wether that weighed 95 pounds on the hoof. We did that in a very humane way and hung him in cold storage for about a week. He was cut up into steaks, chops, burger, and roasts.

My wife cooked our first roast slowly in a crock pot type cooker.  The occasion was a 4th of July get together here on the ranch. Many of our guests had never tasted goat. I have always heard that goat has a "strong taste", smells bad, etc. I was concerned that our guests would be turned off so I had beef burger and hot dogs ready just in case.

I put some of the finished goat on a plate and handed it to my Son-In-Law. I knew that he had never eaten goat. He took a very tiny bite. After chewing it and swallowing he looked really surprised. He looked at me and asked, "Is this really goat?" I confirmed that it was and he said it was the best meat he had ever eaten. It was tender, juicy and had a great flavor, almost sweet. He dug in and then went for more. Our guests were intrigued and had to try the goat as well. Without exception, everyone that tried it, loved it.

I tried the meat and found his assessment to be very accurate. It was truly delicious. It does taste good.  We raise our goats on open forage without grains or corn in their diet so there is very little fat. We do not use hormones or steroids. They are just naturally raised and the result is a great tasting animal that hopefully is better for you.  We do feed them some hay and a little 14% all stock feed when the weather is so bad that they can't get to browse.

It is safe to say that we have added goat to our diet and eat it on a more regular basis as do many of our friends. We have learned an important lesson: Put our goat where you mouth is, You'll love it!

Until next time, find something to laugh about. It is good for the spirit, soul and body.

Harless

 

 

 

Changing Plans

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You know, I have always felt that a person needs to be truly invested in whatever he or she is doing in life. In other words, regardless of what you are doing, give it your best shot at all times. Study, plan, learn by experience, ask questions, search for answers to the tough questions and Never, Ever give up. If you aren't willing to take some lumps and work through some really hard times, maybe you are not supposed to be doing what you are doing.

Rain Water Collection System

Some times you have to go through changing plans in order to get where you want to go, but it is worth the effort in the end.

 

Here on the ranch we are always seeking ways to do things better, more efficiently and leave a smaller footprint on our part of the earth. We have done things like trapping water from our building roofs for livestock watering. We dug out, repaired and are using a couple of year round springs for live stock. The water issue is a big one because we want to be able to cross fence our 280 acres and move live stock from area to area. It will give us much better control of our pastures and keep parasite infections down.

WE sow crimson clover in fields because it holds nitrogen in the soil and we don't have to use chemical fertilizers. WE keep the spraying of herbicides to a minimum. Our ranch is a major water source for Cozine Creek that head waters here and runs the entire length of the property. It travels down through town and then onto the Yamhill river. At lower elevations the creek is home to native Rainbow Trout.

We had a plan for leasing some of the acreage to someone to build a vineyard. We have about 110 acres that are perfect for that use and would create long term income to help keep the place up and keep the taxes paid. That was proceeding well until the bottom fell out of the economy. We suspect now it will take several years before people start investing in large projects so we had to step back, look at everything from a different point of view and develop a new interim plan for using the place.

One thing we are doing is working with the Natural Resources Conservation Services to develop a new road map that hopefully will still take us to our ultimate destination even if it is a different route than we intended to take. Trying to preserve the ranch for future generations of our family is a goal.

We work intently at mowing fields that have been allowed to sit unattended for years. The native grasses are starting to come back along with some rye mix grasses and clover that we have planted. Hopefully, down the road, the grass will push out the undesirable weeds and the fields will once again sport crops of excellent graze for our cattle.

Our cattle and goat operations are very satisfying and are growing each year. The problem as I see it, is that I don't have children or grandchildren that are interested in raising livestock. That was the reason for the vineyard thing. We really want the ranch to remain in the family. I hope that I am able to make that happen.

Our Heritage Spanish Goats browse on brush and forbes that the cattle aren't interested in. That makes them great pasture mates. The goats are pretty much independent and don't require human intervention most of the time. They come and go at will and have access to the entire ranch. They require less water and the only time I have to supplement their browse is during highly inclement weather when they can't get to the brushy areas of the ranch.

None of our animals are ever given hormones or steroids. When they are very young they receive those vaccinations that are needed to help them grow into healthy animals and help prevent diseases. Antibiotics are only administered if an animal gets sick which is an extremely rare occasion.

As you can tell, ranching has a lot of different problems to solve but it keeps you busy and helps keep you thinking young. At 66 I need those challenges. I thoroughly enjoy what I do.

Until next time, find something to laugh about. It is good for the spirit, soul and body.

Harless

 

 

 

Hunting We Will Go

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This is a time of the year that I really enjoy. Bow hunting season has been going for a couple of weeks and rifle season starts next week end. I don't personally hunt much anymore but I have lot's of friends that hunt here on the ranch and it is always a pleasure to have these folks come, hunt and spend time visiting and swapping stories of our present and past hunting trips.

We always throw a bar-b-q for our hunters toward the end of the hunt. A great time is had by all.

Our hunters stop by the ranch during the year and help out on projects which makes my job easier as I get older. One project that some of the fellows just got together and did was something that my wife and I were not expecting at all.

Six of them showed up, pickups loaded with materials, and built my wife and I a small woodshed to store at least a weeks worth of firewood in, right next to the house. It will act as an emergency storehouse during really bad weather.

It took them ten hours  but they finished it before they left. We store our fire wood in a barn about 100 ft from the house and carry it in as needed. Usually we have two or three days worth inside.  The shed looks really great and will save us from having to tramp out in a snow storm to get fire wood.  We do get some snow in the winter and once in awhile we get a snow that will hang around for a few days. This winter we won't care.

It's nice to have friends. Over the years we have had hunters stop by and help with sowing new grass seed in the fields, fix fences and other jobs that need to be done around the place.  I am always amazed at the kindness that people show.

I am hoping to see some nice bucks go off the place and I have been watching a small herd of elk that has been hanging around. They have a really big bull with them this year. There is a larger herd of 55-60 that come through several times each year but you never know if they will show during the season. Last year they showed up on Christmas eve and stayed around for about ten days and then moved on.

We have several younger dads that hunt and it is especially nice to see them bring their sons and daughters hunting with them once they are old enough to qualify for the mentoring program. We have had a 13 year old girl get a forked horn her first year and then came back the next year and get a four point. A 15 year old last year got his first dear ever and it was a great three point. Those are memories that these youngsters will carry always. I'm glad that I could see it.

We have a great bunch of hunters that respect the property, have a great time and usually get their deer. It's a win, win all around.

Until next time, find something to laugh about. It's good for the spirit, soul and body.

If you would like to know more about us and the livestock that we raise visit us on the web at:  http://www.cozinespringsranch.com

Harless

 

 

Dam'd Water

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On a hot summer's day nothing feels better than a dip in the cow tank. Regardless of whether you are man or beast, that cool, refreshing plunge can make life  so much better.

I grew up in the panhandle of Texas so I can tell you something about hot summer days. When I was 12 years old I got into trouble for  cooking an egg on the side walk outside our home. It was a 103 degree day and I did it on a dare from a friend. My mom was not very amused about the Crisco on the sidewalk and trust me, she made sure I scrubbed it clean. My dad saw how good that part of the sidewalk looked and guess what. Yup, he had me do the walk on both sides of our corner home clear to the property line on both sides. I learned to think before acting out my foolishness.

Here in this part of Oregon our temperature rarely reaches the 100 degree mark but I find at my age the 90's that we do see really make me uncomfortable. I have a very large Great Pyrenees dog that feels the heat as much as I do and we are both known to occasionally "Hit the tank".

At Cozine Springs Ranch we raise Heritage Spanish goats for meat, as brush goats, breeding stock  and pets. We also raise  beef cattle that graze and browse the entire 283 acres. One of our biggest concerns is having enough water for the livestock to get them through the long hot summer. We don't send our cattle to market until late August.  During the late fall and winter months we have lot's of rain and water isn't much of an issue.

When I first started caring for this place I knew that water would be an issue so I surveyed the place looking for ways to use the natural springs that exist and ways to dam small ravines. One of the things I do not want is to have my livestock walk off their weight gains trying to get to water. Our ranch is small but to thirsty animals 283 acres can seem huge.

My Dad-In-Law bought this ranch over fifty years ago. He raised sheep and cattle here. I knew that at one time he had used a couple of natural springs to water his livestock. He passed away from cancer 25 years ago and the place had been allowed to just sit and do almost nothing. Long story short, the 283 acres that I am trying to restore had become completely overgrown with blackberries, poison oak, thistle, scotch broom,hawthorne, tansy ragwort and other invasive and noxious weeds. The fences had not been maintained at all and were almost completely gone. In places you couldn't even tell where the fences had been. It was so bad that we had to have a surveyor remark all of the property lines.

Once the surveying was finished I hired two high school juniors that turned out to be really great hands. We worked the entire summer of 2009 and fenced the entire perimeter with four foot high woven wire with a single barbed wire strand three inches above the woven wire. We used more than 1600 posts and over 18,000 feet of fence.

The 283 acres that I live and work on is the back half of the ranch. With all the hills and canyons it is the less desirable part of the ranch. There are only about 130 acres that you can raise grass on for graze and a lot of that cannot really be farmed so there is no way to make hay.  We no till over seed areas with rye grasses and clover.

Well, back to water.  As I said above my Father-In-Law used a natural spring for water. I had to search because the spring area was so overgrown that you couldn't see it . The old tanks were completely covered with blackberries to the point they no longer were visable. By cutting with a brush hog and then gas trimmers with a metal blade I finally found the spring area and old tanks. The tanks were completely rusted out and you could see a very slow drip coming out of the pipe that used to provide water to the tanks.

I hired two teenagers and the three of us worked for six hours clearing the brush and cleaning up the area enough that we could actually make our way 20 feet up a slope to where the spring is. We used shovels, picks and a post hole digger to dig down and clean out the spring area. I damed the area with rocks and set a five gallon plastic bucket in the middle of the spring after poking lots of holes in it. I weighted it down with more rocks and hooked a pipe up to the bucket. The bucket now acts as a kind of filter and the pipe runs water to the two new tanks that I put in place.  I covered the spring area with sheet metal and then turned one of the old rusted out tanks over it to keep livestock and wild life from walking on it.

This was a real undertaking but the results have been amazing. I put this spring back to use in the summer of 2009 and the spring has kept the two 1000 gallon tanks full year round even through this long hot summer. It provides water 24/7- 365 days a year. Water is good. The project that I am working on now is to create a small pond in a different part of the ranch. That spring is in a small canyon and also runs year round. It is not as prolific as the one that I just described but hopefully it will get the job done. Having water in different places allows you to cross fence and move livestock from area to area.  It gives you much better control over weed growth as well as helping to keep livestock free of worms and other pests.

I have included a picture of our water project. This was taken in August of this year on a very hot day. You will notice that Big Foot needed to cool off.

 

If you would like to know more about us and the livestock that we raise please visit us on the web at: http://www.cozinespringsranch.com

Until next time, find something to laugh about. It is good for the spirit, soul and body.

Harless

 

 

 

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