May 2014 Trailing The Sheep

Black Pine Mountain

It is a common spring time happening in Idaho.  Sun Valley is promoting their sheep industry now with all available media and featuring festivals during the year.  The sheep industry seems to be doing well in Idaho.

Rather than trailing many operations truck their herds long distances but for drives of one hundred miles, give or take, it makes sense to let the sheep hit the trails.  The Bronson’s do a combination of both.  The sheep leave their winter quarters with their new babies April first in trucks and trailers, their destination is the Raft River area of southern Idaho.  On May first they hit the trail to Black Pine Mountain and their summer home in Utah, moms and babies both.  This has been going on for generations in my family and now it is up to Nik L. and Sean Bronson to continue the traditions.

This was the first day on the trail and the young ewes knew exactly where they were going and took  point on the run early in the mornings.  They had been on this trail as young lambs and again in the fall on their return trip so they know where they are going and how to get there.  A few of the weaker lambs get the honor of a pickup ride, this is what Nik is doing with the cane in the video.

You can find the video of the first day of our travels here:

Day two the herd went underneath the Interstate that runs along the south part of the state at daybreak.  Later in the journey they will cross the North/South Interstate to Utah again by going underneath both highways.  Much of that Interstate takes the same route my Great Grandfather took when trailing the sheep to Black Pine. They crossed the Old Oregon Trail the Mormon pioneers carved in the desert on their journey west later in the morning of day two. There is history plus a love of the land and Bronson family traditions tied to these trips of trailing the sheep.

Their destination is a beautiful summer home on Black Pine Mountain where they will stay cool and grow their lambs.  Later in the fall the ewes will make the return trip back trailing the entire distance to have a new crop of lambs and so the cycle continues.

See another short video clip and photos here:



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