STRONG CITY (KSNT) – As fall approaches the Flint Hills in Central Kansas become busy as ranchers prepare to remove the thousands of cattle that arrived in the spring.
The first domestic cattle in numbers that appeared in the Flint Hills were undoubtedly the
oxen that pulled freight wagons along the Santa Fe Trail following the opening of the Santa Fe Trail in 1821, in the middle of the Morris County. The oldest family-owned cattle ranch in the Flint Hills was established by David Sauble in 1856, only a few miles west of the site of the now popular Symphony in the Flint Hills.
Each spring, more than 275,000 cattle from as far away as the southeast U.S. are brought to the Flint Hills to graze on the rich grasslands. Just as important as bringing the cattle into the Flint Hills is taking them off in the fall. These cattle drives are an important piece of land management for the ranchers that live in the Flint Hills.
In the fall the cattle are rounded up and driven to loading pens to be loaded on trucks and delivered back to their owners or taken to the feedlots.
On Sunday and Monday of this week, KSNT event photographer Keith Horinek had an opportunity to join a Flint Hills cattle drive that began in Chase County, Kansas. Because of the rocky terrain of the Flint Hills, most cattle drives are conducted on horseback.
The cattle drive took them over a 10-mile, 6-hour journey through the Flint Hills, crossing streams, steep valleys and rocky hillsides.