Skip to main content

The Boy Who Cried "Sheep"

Del Norte, CO. Considering what public land management has become these days, you have to envy the crony capitalist who gets the government contract for signage. This was the first time I ever saw a sign like this. A list of Do-s and Don'ts is on the bottom, too small to read in the photo.

So we were cautious on our first mountain bike ride on the open range out here. But there was no sign of sheep or "livestock protection" dogs. Perhaps it's the wrong time of year.

How grand it would be to run across a Basque shepherd and learn a little about the grazing racket. (So far, I'm only familiar with grazing at Costco on "open range Saturdays.") Better yet, I'd like to ride over a ridge, look across a sagebrush flat to a ridge on the other side, and see a white Great Pyrenees dog protecting his charge against the depredations of coyote, wolf, and cougar.


XXXXX said…
I once saw a documentary on TV about australian shepherds actually getting to be herders in Australia. All our dogs nowadays are utterly deprived of fulfilling their instincts, what they were actually bred for for hundreds of years. It is impressive to see these dogs in action, to the point that they can be left alone with their flocks and will keep them together all on their own. It's a wonderful thing to see, even if only on TV. Can only imagine how outstanding it would be to see for real.
George, I appreciate your point about deprived instincts.

The Australian shepherd is a "herder", not a "guarder". I suppose the guarders would be Anatolian shepherds, Great Pyrenees, maybe even mastiffs.
If you should hike or bike upon a flock attended to by a Pyrenees, make a far and wide path around. An old sheep herder once told us that their protective instincts are strong... to be cautious. FYI
Box Canyon Mark
Tesaje said…
I've read on good authority that Pyrenees are fearsome protectors of sheep. They will kill a dog that is under orders to move them so they must be confined when the shepherd needs to move the sheep.

I took my smooth collie to a sheep herding thing using border collies. It was amazing to see her piqued interest in the sheep. I could just read her mind - "I was born to do this. Please let me herd those sheep. Yeah, those border's are really good, but I can do it too. I know I can." She probably could move them and contain them like most strongly instinctive herders can, but actually following orders like the trained borders is another matter. Untrained herders tend to run the sheep ragged.

Interesting sign to come across. Looks like when they are there, they are supposed to write the dates on the sign.