Central Texas Flooding Forcing Cattle to be Evacuated or Rescued

Cattle being moved to safety following flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas during 2017.
( Texas Animal Health Commission, courtesy of Erin Kimbrough, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service )

Rising water in Central Texas has caused cattle to be moved to higher ground and in some cases rescued from flooded pastures.

Flood waters across Central Texas have forced a state of emergency declaration in 18 counties and flood gates have been opened on lakes to relieve pressure. An additional 4 inches of rain is expected in the area through Saturday and the flooding has turned fatal with two deaths reported.

In Coryell County, two men attempting to save a herd of cattle had to be rescued by law enforcement after they were trapped by flood waters. The men were in a boat on a ranch near Gatesville in the afternoon on Oct. 17 trying to move cattle to dry land. They eventually had to call the Coryell County Sheriff's Office when water from the nearby Leon River rose and capsized their boat.

Officials from the Coryell County Sheriff, Gatesville Police Department and the Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department all assisted in the rescue. The men were clinging to tree limbs when authorities made the rescue in swift-boats and no injuries occurred.  The river was reported to have been 8 feet above flood stage at the moment of the rescue and is expect to fall below flood stage Sunday evening.

Despite their efforts the cattle were still stranded on the Peacock River Ranch, according to KXXV.

In Valley Mills, a herd of cattle was moved through town to dry pasture on Oct. 16 after the fields they were grazing had been flooded. The rescue was shared on Facebook by Greg Moore with the caption “Neighbors helping neighbors! Small town Texas!” and has been viewed more then 32,000 times.


Neighbors helping neighbors! Small town Texas!

Posted by Greg Moore on Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The herd of more than 20 cattle is owned by Jennifer Pliscott who says, “It was an amazing experience that so many people in this town care and that they were willing to walk out of their houses and see what we were doing and help.”

The volunteer fire department had come to help after letting Pliscott know the rising waters were threatening her herd of mostly heifers.

Officials from the Bosque County Sheriff’s Office are cautioning livestock owners to be mindful of the conditions as rivers continue to rise.

“You need to really think about your animals and get ‘em to shelter and get ‘em to higher ground because I think this is supposed to continue on for the next three or four days, so no telling how much more water we’re gonna get,” says Capt. Larry Betik.

The North Bosque River crested at nearly 37 feet early in the morning on Oct. 17.

Pliscott says you never know what the “Crazy Texas weather” will bring.

“Keep an eye on them (livestock) especially if you’re by a river, you know, we go from extreme drought to extreme flash flooding in a matter of a week,” Pliscott adds.

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) is warning cattle owners in the region to move cattle in low lying areas to higher ground during the flooding. 

TSCRA has heard reports from the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) that cattle have been found stranded near the Trinity River in Walker County. 

A flood tip sheet from TAHC is available online on what to do in the event of rising water. There could be additional flood events as water makes its way towards the Gulf of Mexico. 

“TSCRA Special Rangers are working with state and local authorities to assist in response efforts, and we will continue to provide updates as we receive them,” according to TSCRA staff. 

A ranch gathering event for TSCRA that was scheduled for Oct. 18 in Fredericksburg has been canceled because of the torrential rains. 


Given the recent heavy rains and flooding in the Hill Country, we've made the call to cancel the Fredericksburg Ranch...

Posted by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association on Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Submitted by Ribbit on Fri, 10/19/2018 - 13:12

People in those areas desperately need to adopt holistic management. It will allow the soil to hold more water and help prevent the amount of flooding that occurs.