Huebner Brothers Cattle Company of Bay City, Texas has been crossing their cattle across the Colorado River, from their winter pastures on the 11-mile Matagorda Island that runs from Matagorda to Port O’Connor, for over 100 years. The part where the cattle cross the river is about 200 yards across and 15 feet deep, just at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico.
Before the cattle are driven across the island and across the river, the cowboys rope the smallest calves and load them in a trailer so they can ship them across on a river barge. Most of the calves can make the swim across the river, but we were on boats prepared to help the calves that struggled with the swim or got confused and swam the wrong way. No cows or calves were lost from the drive or swim.
On April 3rd I got to experience this cattle drive and swim – which is the oldest cattle drive in Texas – first hand and even rescued calves from the swim across the river. This ranch runs Beefmaster and Beefmaster influenced cows for their hardiness, fertility and growth. This summer the cows and calves will graze at the ranch’s headquarter pastures in Bay City.
A big thank you to owner Keith Meyer and our tour guide Jeff Davis for the ranch hospitality and thank you to Trey Scherer, Collier Farms Beefmasters for coordinating the ranch visit.