65th Annual Longhorn Auction maintains refuge herd - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

65th Annual Longhorn Auction maintains refuge herd

Comanche County_The 65th Annual Longhorn Auction at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife refuge Thursday featured the Department of Fish and Wildlife auctioning off 170 longhorns on average of a couple of hundred dollars each.  Deputies say only serious ranchers turn out for the event, and they intend to spend serious cash. 

Although the refuge is home to many creatures, this auction specifically addresses maintenance of the longhorn herd.  "The refuge is set up for raising longhorn cattle, bison, elk, deer, all other kinds of wildlife," said Deputy Refuge Manager Ralph Bryant.  "In order for us to maintain our herds at what we call 'carrying capacity,' we have to sell some every year."  This cattle doesn't come cheap.  "I've heard of prices around $30,000, but that was maybe 20 years ago," he said.  "In recent times, the highest I've seen is about $2,700."

Ranchers come from many states to bid during this auction every year.  While the auction's purpose is to thin out the refuge's wild herd, it's a great deal for ranchers looking to add new blood to their existing herds.  Other ranchers come to the auction to start their own longhorn herd.  "They buy them for starting their own herds, or some of them buy them for beef, or for meat," said Bryant.  "But a majority of them go for starting their own Texas Longhorn herds - kind of a novelty."  Since they are wild, longhorn do not like to be confined, making ranch conditions more important.  "They can jump," he said.  "You gotta have good fences - they're pretty good jumpers."

There were people at the auction who just wanted to have some fun and enjoy the novelty of the longhorn.

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