Being a good steward of the land is important to Maurice, who was born on the ranch, which has been in the Maurice’s family for 116 years. Maurice and his wife Kathy have raised their four children on the ranch and now enjoy passing down the traditions to the newest generation, their five grandchildren. Most recently, their youngest son Myles has returned to the ranch to work after graduating from the University of Wyoming.
“Ranching provides a new challenge every day,” Maurice explained. “Everything we have goes into caring for our land and livestock - income, time and energy. It is a long-term investment.”
Maurice pointed out his favorite thing about being a cattle rancher. “The cattle we sold last year fed 2,500 people. We are proud to own our cattle from birth to plate.” The ranch, nestled in the rolling foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, has an unusual calving schedule due to the unpredictable and sometimes treacherous winter and spring weather. This past year, the ranch received 110 inches of snow.
Caring for their animals is a job the Bushes take very seriously. They made the decision to calve in the fall, versus the spring, more than 20 years ago and find that this schedule is much easier on the mother cows and the newborn calves.
Kathy says that in ranching, weather is the biggest unknown. “We make sure we have feed to care for our animals at all times. Two to three feet of snow on the ranch in early May is not uncommon.”
Their beautiful ranch is home to a wealth of natural wildlife, from elk, antelope, mule deer to bears. Since 1975, the Bushes have run a small outfitting operation, Boxelder Outfitting, on the ranch where every year in the fall a few hunters have access to trophy mule deer.
In addition to their focus on the ranch, both Kathy and Maurice have generously donated their time in the agricultural community. As 4-H leaders, Maurice taught shooting sports and was a beef leader for 18 years while Kathy has been the cake decorator and canning leader for 25 years.
One of Kathy’s favorite 4-H project is where students prepare May Baskets filled with homemade canned jelly and baked rolls to all of the people in Ten Sleep who are over 55-years-old. They distribute more than 150 jars of jelly each year.
Kathy has also been a member of the Washakie County CowBelles for 45 years. She appreciates the opportunity the organization provides for ranchers to convey how they take care of the land and the cattle.
Like many of Wyoming’s ranching families, the Bush’s ongoing stewardship of the land helps not only to supply nutritious beef to our nation’s plates but also to preserve the state’s open spaces and the cowboy culture for future generations to enjoy.
Feature date: 2015