Deep Dive into a Montana Cattle Drive

Riding the open range

be part of a western tradition

If the nostalgia of embracing a simpler time appeals to you, continue reading.

Imagine days spent on the back of a horse pushing cattle through open rangeland with a quintessential mountain backdrop. Or evenings surrounding a campfire exchanging stories with a dozen new friends from all walks of life, and perhaps from all over the world.

When you’re storied out and it’s time to turn in, head to your cot and sleeping bag in the authentic wall tent just feet away.

Or, if you prefer, move your cot and sleeping bag outside and sleep under Montana’s renowned Big Sky. Either way, fresh mountain air and hard work are a time-tested recipe for a restful night’s sleep.

One other thing: Make sure to look up and we guarantee if it is clear you will say, “Where did all those stars come from?”

In the morning your wake up call will be a little different – maybe a lot. Sun beams will stream into your tent along with the distinct aroma of cowboy coffee brewing over the campfire.

If a Montana cattle drive is your definition of a legendary vacation here’s your insider’s guide.

See Cattle Drive Availability for 2020

It’s the real deal

The Whitford Family

This is a “work needs to get done” Montana cattle drive where we’ve partnered with the Whitford family who are descendants of the Blackfeet (Pikuni) tribe.

You’ll help round up about 400 head of cattle in different herds across 50,000 acres over the course of our time on the range. In this cattle drive, you won’t move cows from point A to B like you might to move the herds from winter pasture to summer pasture and back again.

Nope, we want you to get the full, authentic experience. After we round up the cattle and drive them back to the base camp corrals, you’ll get a chance to really get your hands dirty (in a good way). Cowboy or cowgirl up as you assist in a variety of chores as a true ranch-hand.

Here’s a list of tasks you’ll help with along with insight as to their history and purpose.

1) doctor the unfortunate males

This is a general term that involves castration. The idea is that only the best calve/bulls will be chosen to build the herd in the future – the best blood line so to speak.

Steers also get an overall wellness exam and appropriate treatment like deworming, castration, and dehorning.

If any calf shows signs of illness that appears to be more than the common cold, you may just be the one to boost its immune system with a vaccine.

2) branding the Cattle

On the Blackfeet Reservation they still open range/free graze their cattle.

Three generation of Whitfords own the cattle and run their cows together. Each generation has a unique brand in order to identify their ownership.

They use a hot branding iron heated by a propane torch. The branding iron is then placed on the animal in a specific spot in accordance with Montana livestock authority brand requirements.

3) tagging the calves

You’ll get to help each calf get its own ear tag with a unique number or bar code. These ear tags help keep track of birth date, lineage, health information, and other valuable information needed throughout an animal’s life. It also serves as a helpful tool to identify the cow instead of referencing the animal as “the one with the black spot.”

 

Our spring and fall Montana cattle drives are appropriate for all riding abilities and are ideal for folks looking to embrace their inner cowboy or cowgirl.

These weeks have a maximum capacity of 18 guests, which enhances the camaraderie and promotes a team environment.

Our cattle drives are best enjoyed by adults riding the range from groups, couples, and solo travelers.

When you book your Montana cattle drive vacation you’ll also be immersing yourself in a Western tradition.

2020 Dates: June 6-13, 2020 and September 19-26, 2020

Click here for more info

20 comments on “Deep Dive into a Montana Cattle Drive

  • Benny Mccord

    I’m interested in the “working package” my wife and I want to experience the big sky! Sleeping in a tent suits us just fine. We have a small cattle operation but nothing like what we would like to experience there!! Prices and availability in the spring of 2020 please

    Reply
    • David Leishman

      Hello Benny – sorry about the long delay in getting back with you. Please contact the ranch and we will be happy to provide you with all the information you need.

      Reply
  • Terry Eyrtel

    From Missouri we have about 1200 acres and average 300 momma cows located on 3 farms. All.come to the truck horn and a feed sack. Not much work really. But the wife and I would love to one day ride and round up cattle like I did as a teenager she has this on a bucket list. So can I get a idea of prices for 2

    Reply
  • Melanie Bihler

    I want to come with my own horses and will bring 3 of my horses with me, is that o.k.

    Reply
  • Melanie Bihler

    Sorry I wrote it wrong, I will bring 2 clients and 3 horses

    Reply
  • Bre Osborn

    me and my daughter and my husband all have horse riding experience we’ve done extensive trail riding and had a lot of fun writing we’ve always wanted to do a cattle Roundup help branding the cows and all of that good stuff please contact me

    Reply
  • Danielle Lee

    Our family is interested in your working package. We are all experience riders but love to spend the week working cattle. This is what my daughter wants to do for her senior trip. She has always dreamed about a trip like this!

    Reply
  • Carol Reed

    Hi. Can you provide price and availability for 2020 please. In addition, how much riding is involved?

    Reply
  • Laurie Lisk

    Any 2020 dates available planned

    Reply
    • Greg Smith

      Hello, Laurie. Did you receive an answer to your question about 2020 dates? We have been in transition with new people and are just now getting caught up. All the 2020 dates should now be up to date on the website. If you have other questions, call the ranch office and they’ll help you. That number is 866-828-2900. Thanks, again. Greg Smith

      Reply
  • David R Galesk

    Info on cattle drive in the fall thanks

    Reply
    • Greg Smith

      Hello, David. Apologies for a delay in replying to your message. We have had a staffing change but we’re back on track. Did you get the info you need? If not, call the ranch and we can provide you all the info you need. 866-828-2900. -Greg Smith

      Reply
  • Brenda

    i am highly interested in this type of vacation! Could you send me pricing?

    Reply
    • Greg Smith

      Hi Brenda. Thank you for your email. And apologies for a delay in replying to your message. We have had a staffing change but we’re back on track. Did you get the info you need? If not, call the ranch and we can provide you all the info you need. Cattle drive is a real highlight here. Ph: 866-828-2900. -Greg Smith

      Reply
  • Nichole McClish

    I’m interested in doing a cattle drive. Can I please get more info on pricing and availability? I would like to do it sometime after May.

    Reply
    • Greg Smith

      Hi Nichole. Thank you for your email. And apologies for a delay in replying to your message.

      Our spring western cattle drive is full, but our fall cattle drive still has openings. If you’re still looking for information, call the ranch and we can provide you all the info you need. Cattle drive is a real highlight here.

      Ph: 866-828-2900.

      -Greg Smith

      Reply
  • jeremy moegenberg

    I’d like to know more about a trip

    Reply
    • Greg Smith

      Hi Jeremy. Thanks for your request about the Montana Cattle Drive.

      Our spring 2020 western cattle drive is full, but our fall 2020 cattle drive still has openings. If you call the ranch we can provide you more information and answer your questions. Cattle drive is a real highlight for our guests and I highly recommend it. Ranch phone is 866-828-2900.

      Greg Smith

      Reply
  • Daniel Jacobs

    Do you have an age limit? My daughter will be 11 and is a very accomplished rider. Can she participate?

    Reply
    • Greg Smith

      Hi Daniel. Thank you for your question.

      Unfortunately our specialty weeks, including the Montana cattle drive, are adults-only activities. Participants need to be 18 years old or older. The only cattle-related activity on horseback we do at the ranch that would work for an 11-year-old would be the rodeo morning we do in the arena at the ranch where we do team penning and team cutting.

      If you have other questions, call the ranch office and we’ll be happy to work with you to answer them. Ranch Phone is: 866-828-2900.

      Thanks, again.

      Greg Smith

      Reply

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