Rescue Cattle Drive in Liberty County

DAYTON, June 1, 2015 - What looked like a scene taken from an 1800’s era Texas Cattle Drive actually took place in Liberty County today in an effort to save approximately 500 cattle stranded on an “island” just west of the ever rising flood waters of the Trinity River. Land owner Mr. Pat Henscey of the “Liberty Bell Ranch”, located off Hwy. 90 between the City of Dayton and the City of Liberty, mounted his resources of cowboys, air boat owners and many volunteers in a concerned effort to save his cattle from the flood waters. During the past week of heavy rains both locally and to the north of Liberty County, the Trinity River continues to rise and in doing so, trapped the cattle on a high piece of land that was shrinking in size due to the rising water. It became evident to the owner that he would have to mount a rescue attempt for his cattle in order to save any of them.

At 8: am this morning, all the resources came together and began what turned out to be an all-day effort to enter the flooded areas while law enforcement units and local fire departments from many agencies came together to control the heavy traffic flow on Hwy. 90 during this rescue effort. Cowboys on horseback rode and waded thru water to the cattle while airboat owners began loading many of the very small calves onto their boats to ferry them back to dry land on Hwy. 90 to be loaded in stock trailers and taken to the CMC Rail yards on Hwy. 146 in Dayton to be safely cared for until the flood waters drop and they can be taken back to the ranch. While the smaller animals were taken by boat, the other cattle were herded into the water and walked on a road that was under water and at times had to swim thru deep water to make their way to the west bank of the Trinity River on Hwy. 90 where they were herded together to begin the actual “cattle drive” west on Hwy. 90 and through the City of Dayton.

Regrettably an undetermined number of cattle got caught in the deep flowing waters and were lost but some are thought to have broken from the herd and returned to high ground. As the cowboys herded the cattle through Dayton, hundreds of citizens lines the highway to see an actual “cattle drive” in modern times that took place under extremely difficult and trying conditions. However, approximately 200 cattle and their calves were driven to the rail yards and arrived safely at 4:30 pm this evening.

The cattle will be pastured on dry land just off Hwy. 146 until the flood waters subside and they can be returned to the Liberty Bell Ranch by trailer as another “cattle drive” to return them is not planned nor expected. This was one of those unusual events that is rare in our modern society and all the 200 or so cowboys, airboat owners and volunteers as well as the first responders that assisted in this rescue mission are to be commended for a job well done and it was done without any injuries on the part of the rescue personnel.

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