Chautauqua County Highpoint Trip Report

one area in section 3-32S-8E (1420+ ft)

Date: March 20, 2008
Author: Bob Schwab

I approached this one from the north. There is a ranch access road that heads south through a locked gate, roughly 0.5 mile west of the Cowley-Elk county line, off from US 160. The owner of the property is Jack Bannon (620 775-4444). The ranch primarily cares for wild horses which have been relocated here by the US government. Thus, don’t be surprised if you get a cool reception. Not only are the horses really skittish around strangers but the ranch recently suffered a string of thefts, including guns, a couple of ATVs, and other equipment, thus they are understandably suspicious of “visitors.” Be sure to get permission to visit this site. I offered to pay a ranch worker to accompany me, thus the gates were all properly managed, the horses weren’t unduly spooked, and no ranch property was damaged or removed.

I’ve never seen so many wild horses in my life! There are several gates and enclosures that you pass through as you drive south on the ranch and each one has its own special group of horses. I think they segregate the wild horses according to how “new” they are to the ranch, what their age is, and by sex (so there won’t be lots of new little wild horses). The actual highpoint area is very close to the county line and is fairly flat. There is no north-south fence along the county line at this spot but a fence does begin a short distance to the south, so you can use it as a reference point in case your GPS malfunctions.

The ranch hand left several bales of hay up in the field for the horses, very close to where I deemed the HP to be. At this time of year, there isn’t anything much for the horses to eat, so they have to be fed. This HP visit was quite an experience, not at all what I expected.