Safety Tips for Hiking Near Grazing Animals
Animals grazing in the parks come with some trade-offs for our visitors. In the rainy season, the passage of cattle can cause damage to sections of trail, making the ground muddy, pocked, and unpleasant to walk through. Like all animals, cows produce manure, so visitors must watch their step.
Cattle are large animals but are not aggressive by nature. However, if aggravated or threatened, cattle can respond to defend calves or themselves, often in response to off-leash dogs. Dogs are members of the genus Canis, the same genus as wolves and coyotes, natural predators to livestock. Use common sense around cattle and remember the following:
- Protect yourself, your pets, and the livestock. Do not let your pets chase or harass livestock.
- If cattle are blocking the trail, approach them slowly, speak normally, and allow them to move away.
- Do not attempt to touch livestock. Do not get between a mother cow and young calves.
- If you see a stray calf, leave it alone, the cow is often feeding or watering nearby and will return.
- If you encounter a cow that is acting in a threatening manner, or appears to be injured, sick or dead, please note the location, the color of the animal, the ear tag number, and report it to the park staff.
Larson, Bush and Barry. 2015. Understanding Working Rangelands. Sharing Open Space: What to Expect from Grazing Livestock. ANR publication 8516
Safety in the Parks and on the Trails> Safety tips and resources