Sheep, you may be surprised to learn, are not as dumb as they look. Some people might even describe them as shrewdly calculating, remarkably crafty animals with fierce independent streaks. Given the slightest opening, for example, they will quit a herd, striking out in small, enterprising bands for the high-desert plains — ungulate fugitives in a promised land of sagebrush and cactus — sometimes never to be seen again.
They’re good animals if you take care of them,” said Henry Etcheverry, as we bounced along a dusty two-track in the Minidoka desert near Rupert, Idaho, 160 miles southeast of Boise, tracking an errant herd. “But take my word for it: they’ll clean your clock if you don’t.”
Mr. Etcheverry is one of the last Basque sheepmen left in the American West, where there were once hundreds, if not thousands, like him. He learned the business from his father, Jean Pierre Etcheverry, who emigrated from the Basque Country, a region in the Pyrenees Mountains comprising parts of southern France and northern Spain, in 1929. Back then sheep outnumbered Idahoans seven to one, a peak that coincided with the tail end of Basque immigration to the western United States. NY Times, Full story.
H/T Christa Hazel
This is a great read. Anyone care to share their sheep experiences?