Hundreds of cattle killed, many still missing from weekend snowstorm

SPRINGFIELD, Colo. — Marvin Packard has spent the past few days on his tractor, searching his fields looking for his missing cattle.

“Some of them drifted 10 to 15 miles and some of them only like two to four miles,” Marvin said.

Marvin is just one of a number of farmers and ranchers who are still searching for their cattle.

“We’re still counting. I had one just a while ago that came back to the fence row, so it showed up back home,” said Marvin.

A spring snowstorm over the weekend killed hundreds of head of cattle and left hundreds more missing.

“There was just cattle everywhere, some dead, some alive, some stuck,” said Marvin.

Marvin and his daughter Marlinda have about 100 head of cattle. They said about 75 have returned home.

“You just have no idea until we can finally get a count on them,” said Marlinda.

Getting them back home wouldn’t have been possible without help from neighbors.

“We all come together and that’s all you can do is just rely on each other, and we help everybody out,” said Marlinda.

One person who stepped up to help, Josh Reid, used one of his crop dusting planes to head up and look for cattle.

“A lot of the ranchers that lost cattle are my customers, friends, family members, and it was my opportunity to maybe go out and get up there and offer a different perspective, help them find them,” Josh said.

While the most of the snow has melted, problems still linger. Mud is preventing some of the farmers and ranchers from getting to their cattle.

“In here the tracks are so deep you just can’t get anywhere,” said Marlinda.

But when they can get to the cattle, the problems may not be over.

“How many may show up with pneumonia, the snow blinds the cattle, there’s lot of things, the cows are drying up, then you got calves to worry about,” said Marlinda.

Despite the devastation, there’s one thing these farmers know.

“It’s amazing some of them lived and some of them didn’t,” said Marvin.

Marvin said putting cattle in barns or corrals just isn’t feasible. He said barns are expensive, and in most cases, it’s safer to leave them out.

“When you have a storm, a lot of people say get them in the corral, protect them, feed them,” Marvin said. “That’s a no-no. Sometimes, you can look over here and we still have drifts four feet deep yet in the corrals, and if they would have been in there, we’d have lost a lot more.”

A Facebook group has been set up to help reunite missing cattle with their owners in Baca County.


Warning: Graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.

All photos courtesy Austin Schroder

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