A Cowboy’s Faith: Uncontrollable lightning causes losses – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Uncontrollable lightning causes losses

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Cow count indicated three head short as five mounted cowboys headed northeast to locate those missing.”

Within a half hour, three cowboys on horseback were together not far from the east fence just standing seemingly resting. Remaining riders soon joined the threesome to find out the bad news. Three prime age black cows raising big spring calves had been stricken dead most apparently by lightning.

It had been three days since the cows in that pasture had been counted when all were accounted for. However, that night after the herd had been checked there was a major thunder and lightning storm yielding rainfall.

Obviously, the cows were standing together with no trees or fence nearby when the lightning bolt struck them, evidently killing instantly. It would be less loss if the three cows stricken wouldn’t have been grazing side-by-side.

Their six-month-old calves would do fine without mommas and had already moved on unconcerned nonchalantly grazing. Likewise, coyotes had located the cow carcasses and consumed some of the readily available meal.

Through the years, a number of cows have been lost due to lightning. Nothing to do about it except suffer the financial loss and reduction in cow herd numbers for less calves next year.

Decades ago, when cow inventory was smaller, insurance premiums were always paid up. So, if lightning struck a cow, there was reimbursement for the loss. Livestock deaths from lightning have not been insured for several decades. Like lots of insurance costs with exception of health, structure, and equipment coverage, it’s often smarter to take the risk personally.

Horses have been lost to lightning on several occasions, too. It hurt the most when the sorrel Nellie Belle and her baby spotted foal were stricken in the pasture west of the ranch house. Of course, the mare and colt were not covered by insurance.

A good looking, top disposition, nice working Pinto stallion leased to a neighbor was also lost to lightning without insurance coverage. However, a partnership dun stallion had been insured by the partner, so reimbursement came when lightning took that horse’s life.

Lightning is an act of nature and there is nothing that can be done about it except accept the loss.

Reminded of John 16:33. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, He will overcome the world.”


Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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