By Julie Tomascik

“Let sleeping calves lie.”

That’s the mantra to live by this fall. That’s because it’s fall calving season on many ranches in the Lone Star State, and ranchers want you to let those lone calves be.

Young calves are sometimes seen by themselves near roads when people are driving by. They’re lying low. No cow is around. And oftentimes many people think they’re abandoned.

Spoiler alert: They’re not.

It’s common for a cow to leave a calf bedded down in the grass while she grazes or gets water. Don’t worry. She knows where she left her calf.

It’s the same for other species—lambs, goats and even bison.

Ranchers also frequently walk or drive through the pasture to check the herd’s health and look for new calves.

But if you still believe there is a problem, please don’t trespass onto the property or take the animal. That’s theft.

In Texas, and any state, cattle theft is a serious issue. Farmers and ranchers endure the high costs of production and care for those animals every day. And they don’t see a return on that investment for many months. 

When cattle go missing without explanation, it is often reported to state officials. Charges are filed, and fines have to be paid.

And while illegally accessing someone’s land is bad, also consider your safety. You never know what you could encounter in that pasture. One good guess would be a mad momma cow.

The takeaway: Calves should never be moved, taken or otherwise disturbed, even if you’re worried about that newborn. The cow and rancher have everything under control.