It seems strange that a barren, stony country such as the Chilcotin can support large animals, such as moose, deer, bears, and range cattle.
Ranchers rely on Crown range for forage and hay production for both cattle and horses. ... Cattle generally graze Crown range from mid May through till the end of October. ... Tenures are issued for about 14,500 head of cattle, 530 horses and 650 tonnes of hay.
Crown Range plant communities vary from the open grasslands of the Chilcotin River Valley, meadow/wetland complexes found within the lodgepole pine forests of the Chilcotin Plateau, sub-alpine communities of the Coast Mountains and rain forest of the Bella Coola Valley. In addition to cattle, these communities provide forage for a large number of feral horses (over 1000 head at last count), a thriving mule deer population, white tailed deer, caribou, moose and both black and grizzly bears. (From Ministry of Forests ...)
|Half-grown calf, near Tatla Lake|
Herds of cattle roam through the West Chilcotin, eating a wide variety of plants: grasses, sedges, shrubs, young deciduous trees, and some flowering plants, depending on the season; finding water in creeks and wetlands. They need about 20 or more pounds of food per animal daily, which means that they have to walk several miles every day to find enough to eat.
|Range cow. A nursing mother, looking good.|
|Bull coming up to my car window to check me out. These are curious animals.|