Bell, Roni. 1998. Cut, Burn and Kill. Range Magazine, Spring 1999.

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In the new wild West, it’s cowboys vs. radical environmentalists

June 14th dawned a tender blue. Chuck Sylvester and I, the last of the branding help to leave the Circle Bar Ranch, closed up the century-old sod and log home. We carefully checked the lights, water heater, doors, windows and furnace to ensure the old girl’s well-being.

Chuck drove slowly past the corrals, irrigation ditches, gates, fences and meadows to make sure the cows were where they were supposed to be, the horses could get water and shade, and the ranch could hum along plenty fine until our return. It was 11 a.m. when we finally trucked over the Rough Hills road to meet with Chuck’s foreman Cal Hancock at the N.T. Bar, part of the Circle Bar Ranch.

The graceful stillness of that Sunday was aborted at 1 p.m. by a phone call. Cathy Meyer, wife of Chuck’s foreman on the 7D, also part of the Circle Bar, told us: “I was putting mineral out, and when I was coming back from the Circle Bar I noticed the fences were down. At first I thought the yearlings did it. Then I saw there was more damage than yearlings could have done. I found a note, and I saw the cuts.”

Jarring our belly buttons into our toes, we raced back over rough roads to the Circle Bar. While Chuck gathered fence fixing stuff, I read the note: “THIS RANGE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT BROUGHT TO YOU BY EXTENDED PALM PROJECTS A DIVISION OF ISLAMIC JIHAD ECOTERRORISTS INC, pc NO ADDRESS-WE’RE EVERYWHERE NO PHONE-WE’LL BE IN TOUCH”

In one hour, they made 50 cuts at the Circle Bar Ranch. That day, eight ranches, zagging from about Waltman down to Muddy Gap, were hit with over 300 cuts. None of us saw any sign of the leaf-sucking-poppy-cocks as they sleazed down the remote Wyoming roads, only to flop out at a fence closest to their air-conditioned wheels and leave their snippy greetings. The budget for this little outing-the payroll, maps, communication equipment, reliable vehicles, gas, bolt cutters, motel rooms, recruiters, training, printing and food-proves that the conflict industry is big business.
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April 7, 2008 | Leave a Comment | Topic:  Local History, Ranching and Animal Husbandry