Ranchers prepare for winter storm

Cattle being put into new pasture

CAPUTA, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Cattle thrive across the four thousand acre property, where rancher Shawn Freeland lines up the cattle to be taken to safety from winter storms that hit the Black Hills.

"The problem with these early storms is the cows don't have their winter coat yet," says Freeland. "We were at eighty one degrees yesterday and here we are today at thirty six right now and windy."

The winter coat is crucial for cattle to survive because if they get wet before the freezing temperatures and snow hit, it won't be good.

During winter storms, cattle are moved to pastures that have natural protections to help protect them from the winter storms.

"We are moving all of our cows to the best protection we have. Fortunately there's still leaves on the trees so as you can see it's making excellent windbreak," says Freeland. "So my cows will come down into areas like this on creek bottoms or anywhere there is lots of trees. Man made protection is good too, but prefer these trees will work excellent for protection."

Without the protection and the work that cattle ranchers put in, the cattle could freeze to death.

"We're doing the absolute best job we can possibly do. We're trying our hardest to get all livestock into safe places and nobodies just sitting by and hoping that it's ok," says Freeland. "Everybody is working their tail off all week to try and get things as good as they possibly can for the animals."

Ranchers are not working alone, neighbors help out in any way they can with others' livestock to make sure all the animals are safe.