I’ve hiked around cows my entire life, and there’s been several times when cattle have been aggressive toward me. Cows attack hikers? It definitely happens, as you’ll read below and especially in the comments. Many of the stories are from trails around the Bay Area in California.
When Cows Attack Hikers
Tom Mangan of the excellent Bay Area hiking blog Two-Heel Drive writes in exquisite detail about his recent outing to Ed Levin County Park. He’s got great photos of his jaunt, but what interests me the most is his encounter with cattle:
I saw the little black angus calf wandering about, baying for its mom, about 100 yards down the trail. I wondered where mom was because the only time a cow will trouble itself to stop grazing is if you block her view of her baby. Not seeing baby can cause cows to identify the nearest hiker in the vicinity, assign blame, then charge. If you were as dumb as the droppings you leave all over the trails, you’d do the same.
So I wander past the baby and sure enough, just down the trail is Mom. And a friend. A large black head with big bulbous eyes arises from just beyond her tail region and gives the universal “Dude, would you mind?” look known to all guys who stumble into another guy’s amorous action.
So, this is why Mom isn’t milking the brat. Some bull has his nose so far up her fanny she’s getting, well, distracted. The loving couple decided to make their way down the trail in the general direction of the wayward calf. I didn’t wait around for any Discovery Channel moments.
I Was Chased by Cows While Hiking, But Was It an Attack?
Here’s the comment I left on Tom’s blog post:
I spent much of my childhood near Anderson, California around cattle, both on our property and in the surrounding pastures and hills. It was great training for watching your step.
I only got truly chased once. I was hiking in the Bald Hills west of Redding at twilight. Something spooked a large herd of cattle and they all thundered toward me and my companions. We sprinted to nearby oak trees and climbed up, just before the cattle ran through the grove.
Have You Been Attacked by Cows While Hiking?
Have you ever had an uncomfortable hiking encounter with a cow near a trail? Do tell!