Ranching

Lead |
September 21, 2016

Trash Talk

The scion of one of Laredo’s first families wants to build a mammoth landfill on his ranch. But the opposition is fierce and vocal—and backed by none other than his uncle and his cousin.

Science |
August 24, 2016

When the Dust Settles

After Texas Tech researchers discovered that windstorms may be spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria from local feedlots, public health experts stood up and took notice. So did the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.

Lead |
December 23, 2015

Chronic Wasting Unease

Texas wildlife officials say they’re just trying to stop the spread of a deadly infection. Deer breeders see another agenda at work.

The Culture |
January 21, 2013

The Boys of the Dipper Ranch

On 50,000 acres that they have mostly to themselves (not including their hounds, mules, horses, cattle, chickens, piglets, and parents), Jasper, Trevor, and Tanner Klein live a life almost untouched by the modern world.

Texas History |
January 21, 2013

When the Sky Ran Dry

Bad as the current drought is, it has yet to match the most arid spell in Texas history. Nearly two dozen survivors of the fifties drought remember the time it never rained.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Gentling Cheatgrass

What does it take to break a wild mustang? Patience, horse sense, experience, and if you’re Teryn Lee Muench, no more than one hundred days.

Web Exclusive |
January 20, 2013

A Q&A With Sterry Butcher

Sterry Butcher talks about her experience watching Teryn Lee Muench break a wild mustang in less than one hundred days.

Books |
January 20, 2013

Catcher in the Raw

Forty years after its publication, Horseman, Pass By is still one of Larry McMurtry's finest novels—and as groundbreaking as J. D. Salinger's masterpiece.

Travel & Outdoors |
January 20, 2013

All The King’s Men

At the core of the King Ranch is the vaquero tradition, the centuries-old culture of horsemen and cattle that began on the central plateau of Spain. Richard saw how that culture could transform the Great Plains, and in the 1850s he made a recruiting trip to Mexico. The families he

Travel & Outdoors |
January 20, 2013

Little House on the Prairie

Robert E. Lee advised his friend Richard King to build his permanent home at the highest point on the surrounding prairie, a little rise on the banks of Santa Gertrudis Creek. The first building was a tiny adobe jacal built of mud and sticks. The one-story house that replaced it

Travel & Outdoors |
January 20, 2013

A Family Affair

Richard King and his wife, Henrietta, founded the King Ranch. Their daughter Alice and her husband, Robert Kleberg — shown with their children in the turn-of-the-century photograph at the right — founded the family that sustained it. When Henrietta King died in 1925, the ranch’s 1.2 million acres were divided

Travel & Outdoors |
January 20, 2013

The Captain’s Kingdom

Ranching ultimately comes down to managing land and water. The King Ranch is blessed with much of the former and almost none of the latter. Before it was divided among Richard and Henrietta King’s five children in 1935, the King Ranch was bigger than Delaware. Now it’s only bigger than

Feature |
January 20, 2013

The Next Frontier

How has the state’s most storied ranch managed to survive and thrive in the twenty-first century? By operating in a way that its founder, Captain Richard King, would scarcely recognize.

Feature |
October 31, 2012

Git Along, Lonesome Ranchers

Cattle ranching in Texas has been endangered almost since its inception. Has the harsh economic reality finally caught up with our most iconic business?

The Culture |
February 1, 2012

How to Cut for Sign

After a harrowing skirmish with the Comanche in 1860, Charles Goodnight cut for sign to track down warriors who had escaped. That practice, in which a person searches for people or animals by “cutting,” or studying a section of land for clues, may seem like a lost art of the

The Culture |
August 31, 2011

How to Hitch a Livestock Trailer

Hauling Herefords isn’t like towing a sailboat. A loaded stock trailer can weigh up to 30,000 pounds, and if you hook something that heavy to a bumper, you’ll drive away 
without your back end. “Gooseneck hitches are common in livestock operations,” says Joe Lewis, who has worked at Rosenberg-based Discount

The Culture |
July 31, 2011

Cowgirl Up

The word probably makes you think of rhinestone-studded jeans, floppy-brimmed hats, and Nashville queens, but “cowgirl” ought to stand for the tough pioneer women who built ranches and went on cattle drives and the hardy rural women who are out there today doing their fair share of the work, usually invisibly,

The Culture |
June 30, 2011

How to Cut the Herd

When Sam Graves and his 22-year-old bay gelding, Old Hub, beat ten other cowboys to win $150 in the first 
advertised cutting competition, in Haskell in 1898, he could not have imagined how the sport would evolve. Today the National Cutting Horse Association, which hosts the World Championship Futurity, in

The Culture |
October 31, 2009

Randy Goode, Artificial Inseminator

Goode grew up on a ranch in Damon, where he now runs an artificial insemination business. He travels the country collecting DNA for a U.S. Department of Agriculture research project on mad cow disease.Back in the seventies, my dad learned to artificially inseminate cows by reading a book and using

The Culture |
September 30, 2009

How to Build a Barbed-Wire Fence

The HISTORYIn 1876 salesman John W. Gates brought barbed wire to Texas when he wagered $1 million that he could build a fence that would capably contain cattle. Some incredulous gambler took the bet. Gates erected a fence in San Antonio’s Military Plaza and shocked a gathered crowd as a

The Culture |
January 1, 2009

How to Rope a Calf

The RationaleAsk a ranch hand how to tell if someone’s a good cowboy and he’ll say the proof is in his lassoing. The rope has always been “the long arm of the cowboy,” writes Midland native John R. Erickson in Catch Rope. Though roping began on the ranch as a

Critters |
January 1, 2008

Fred Garza, Tick Rider

Garza was born and raised in Webb County. For the past fifteen years, he has been an inspector with the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program, a mounted patrol started by the USDA in 1906.A tick rider patrols the border, the Rio Grande River, on horseback every day. Our job is

The Culture |
July 31, 2007

How to Brand the Herd

The RationaleWhy make a lasting impression on your cattle? To fend off cattle rustlers, whose pilfering of literal cash cows is hardly a defunct business (ranchers in the Southwest lost $6.2 million in livestock in 2005). “Think of branding as a license plate on your car, a means of identification,”