HOW TO BE A CATTLE TRUCK DRIVER
Moving cattle and livestock was around before truck drivers. Back in the 1800s cattle drives were a major economic activity in the American west. “Cattle were moved from Texas to rail yards in Kansas”, for movements to Chicago stockyards and all points east. The average cattle drive included 3000 head and 10 cowboys, with three horses each. While the cattle could be moved 25 miles a day, they would lose weight and be harder to sell. Cowboys worked in shifts 24 hours a day herding them during the day, and watching for thieves at night or stampede’s. “The cowboys were young men between the ages of 16 to 22 and the cook was older well respected”, because after all he had the food and medical supplies. He would work in all types of weather from extreme heat to the bitter cold. There salary was about $40.00 a month after the cattle were sold. In 1790 young Davy Crockett drove “a large stock of cattle” 400 miles from Tennessee to Virginia. Pigs were also driven from the east to the Midwest to farms.
“End of the open range and the cattle drives”!
Barbed wire fences ended the cattle drive in the 1880s. In Texas and the surrounding area increased population forced ranchers to fence in their cattle. “In the north overgrazing ruined the cattle industry”, with nothing to graze on during the harsh winters of 1886-1887. When hundreds of thousands of cattle starved to death. In the 1890s the railroads expanded and meat packing plants moved closer to major ranching areas. that’s was the end of cattle drives, some smaller drives continued until the 1940 but now it’s all but gone
“Modern day steel cowboys”!
“Steel cowboys, bull haulers, Bullrack, Bullwagons, what ever you call them, they are the modern day cowboys.” It takes a special skill to drive a cattle truck, not just any truck driver can do it! Cattle haulers must load and unload the cattle. Clean the trailers out after a trip, the trailers can have an extra 3000 pounds of manure in the trailer, that can put you overweight. Then drive with care due to the high center of gravity hauling live animals (similar to driving a tanker) . You don’t want to take off too fast or stop too fast you can injure the cattle, also slow down on curves or you can roll over. “My friend Tony in the Midwest is a bull hauler and has lots of stories”, like getting an angry cow in the chute or getting stuck in the trailer with an angry bull! “It’s” a time sensitive truck driving job you have to get there before the cattle dies! The most difficult is loading heifers and young bulls there not used to being moved around a lot. You will have to learn how to load the trailer so as not to be overweight and get a ticket. Some of the livestock you will haul is sheep, cows, pigs, steers and horses. So learning how to load them right is a crucial step to the job. In the winter you will drive a lot its better to move cattle in the winter “it’s” cooler. “So too much cattle and not enough trucks equals big money to be made”, 4000 or more miles a week during the winter. You can run as many miles as you want hauling cattle. So if you learn to haul cattle, and drive smart you can earn $60,000 or more a year as a cattle truck driver, owner operator’s more. GONZOTRUCKER
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