Cattle Ranges of the Southwest Page: 11 of 32
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OBSTACLES TO RENEWAL OR IMPROVEMENT OP THE RANGES.
That the range can be brought back to something like its original
capacity is certain, but the difficulties in the way of accomplishing this
are many, a few only of which will be enumerated:
LEASE OF LANDS.
Before a sick man can be induced to take medicine, he must be
made to recognize that he is sick and that the prescription will in all
probability benefit him. The cowman is, in a sense, a sick man, but
strangely, in view of his experiences just mentioned, he seems not to
recognize the fact in a practical way. He knows that he is not in as
good shape finlalcially as lie was twenty years ago, but he still has a
"good thing," according to his notion, and is still disposed to "crowd
his luck." as he is in tlhe habit of expressing it. He has, under protest,
however, purchased from the railroad companies and from individuals
a moiety of the lands inside of hlis pasture fences, and he is leasing
from the State at a merely nominal price most of the others. He is
not overstocking the pasture as recklessly now as he did in former
years, but there is hardly one cowman out of ten in central Texas
but knows that he has more cows on his range already, or is preparing
to put more on, than his best judgment suggests. Why is this?
Only about one-fourth or possibly one-lalf the lands in his pasture
belong to him; the public lands may at any time be "filed on" by
"actual settlers," and he may be compelled in a year, more or less,
to pull down his fences and give way to the "nester." He is now paying
something for the grass that is growing on the lands in his pasture,
and while the opportunity lasts his idea seems to be to use it, not prudently
as he would do if it were his own, but to get the good out of it
while he can. In this he is acting strictly within his legal rights, and
who has the right to complain If anyone should suggest to him that
his own lands are suffering also, his answer might be that when they
shall cease to be valuable to him on account of their grass he will sell
them to the farmer, who in his anxiety for cotton will be glad to have
as little grass as possible to fight.
REVIVAL OF SPECULATION IN CATTLE.
During the past year there has been a revival in the cow business in
all parts of the United States. The low price of cattle that followed as
a necessary consequence on the heels of the general wreck of the business
in 1884, when millions of cattle were forced on the market to pay
debts, discouraged the raising of cattle for a time. This resulted in a
shortage that has forced up prices. This rise in prices, due mainly to
the fact that the supply has been less than the demand, has induced
those still in the business to " stock up" their ranches. Thousands on
the outside have also gone into the business. Recently fortunes have
been quickly made by stockmen, and this fact, following closely on the
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Bentley, Henry Lewis. Cattle Ranges of the Southwest, book, 1898; Washington. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2412/m1/11/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .