Seven of the 10 head of cattle that died southwest of Cadogan. ©Provost News Photo.
Lightning Kills Cattle Near Ranch House
Ten head of cattle died instantly when lightning struck at the Doug and Janice Rasmussen ranch less than a quarter of a mile from their house on Tuesday evening, July 25.

The lightning moved along a barbed wire fence where five spring calves (three to four months old) and five cows (two to five years old) were standing on a low piece of ground south and west of Cadogan.

“The electricity carried from one end (of the fence) to the other, that’s what surprised me” Doug said. “There’s got to be a pile of juice in that to do that.”

The intense electrical storm hit their ranch at around 8:30 p.m. and Doug said in an interview that shortly after a strike he had a feeling that one of his cows was hit, but his wife Janice would not let him out of the house until the lightning subsided. They both felt sick around 9 p.m. when they went just west of their house to find the dead Angus and Charolais animals.
Surveying the scene on Wednesday morning, Doug said “this is as close as I want it (the lightning) to be. I could have been climbing through that fence.”

The lightning had been “so intense . . . I couldn’t believe the strength” of it. “I like to watch lightning—but this was exceptional” with two or three cracks that had a very wide or thick band in addition to sheet lightning. “I’ve never heard a bang like that” and described a “flash-boom” together with no time between them.

No insurance for lightning was carried on the animals with a total loss for the ranchers estimated at $8,000.

Each calf is worth between $600 and $700 while the cows are worth an estimated $1,000 each.

The animals were a fairly tame group and easy to approach say the owners.
Fence posts were broken and the 500 foot long barbed wire strands that was well maintained was also damaged, mainly by cattle falling onto it.

Doug managed to get to sleep later that night but Janice was still awake at 3 a.m. “seeing the cows.”

The next day Doug was using a front-end loader to bury the animals in a pasture.

Nine-tenths of an inch of rain fell that night so “I guess that’s a plus”.

Lightning bolts could be seen from Provost towards the west that day as early as 4:30 p.m.

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This week we ask : "What is Your Favourite Rodeo Event?"
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