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Longhorn salescheduledfor Sept. 13 in Apache.

Byline: Heide Brandes

LAWTON On Aug. 22, staff members at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refugeand a handful of volunteer cowboys will round up 100 wild longhorn cattlefor auction at the refuge's annual longhorn sale.

The longhorn herd, established in 1927, is a hardy breed and will calf every year, even in difficult conditions hence the reason for the sale.

But this year's sale won't be held at the wildlife refuge. Instead, the sale is scheduled atthe Stockman Oklahoma Livestock Marketing Inc. facility in the small town of Apache.

The sale is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 13.

About100 animals will be available, including mature cows, 2-year-old bulls, yearlings and calves.

A historic herd

"The longhorn herd was established on the refuge in 1927 because some folks feared that longhorns as a breed would become extinct," refuge wildlife biologist Dan McDonald said. "They established the herd here to preserve longhorns, but the refuge can only handle a certain capacity to balance the grazing on the range."

The auction, now in its 75th year, has become a popular event.

"Longhorns have no trouble breeding. They are super resilient animals, and no matter what the conditions, will calf every single year," he said. "We are definitely hands-off with the herd. They take care of themselves, so they breed, calf and exist without our help."

Due to cuts in personnel and manpower at the refuge, this year will be the first time the sale will be held off-site.

"The time and effort it takes to hold this sale at the refuge is a tremendous amount of work," McDonald said. "There has also been a shift in priorities and resources to bison management and the work that goes into that."

All sale animals may be viewed at the Stockman Oklahoma Livestock Marketing facility between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sept. 12.

According to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, the longhorns being sold are registered with or subject for registration with the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America, International Texas Longhorn Association and the Cattleman's Texas Longhorn Registry.

All adult longhorns have tested negative for brucellosis. The heifer calves have been vaccinated against the disease as well. In addition, all bull and heifer calves have been vaccinated against blackleg disease.

Longhorn logistics

In 2017, the refuge sold 90 longhorn cattle, making $50,000. In 2016, 117 longhorn cattle were sold for $76,000. This year, the sale of 100 longhorn will be priced subject to the current livestock market.

"We get about 25 percent of the proceeds back to the refuge, and the rest goes to the Treasury Department," McDonald said.

Buyers include longhorn enthusiasts, though many of the animals are sold to the rodeo industry as roping animals. Buyers from across the U.S. attend the annual sale, McDonald said.

"We have people come in from Texas and Alabama each year," he said. "Some take them straight to market for the beef. Longhorn are pretty lean and are free of antibiotics and are range-fed. That makes for pretty good beef."

Stockman Oklahoma Livestock Marketing will have information pertaining to the sale available on its website at and on Facebook at

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Publication:Journal Record (Oklahoma City, OK)
Date:Aug 6, 2018
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