1979 - Volume #3, Issue #5, Page #31[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
New-Style Pinto For Punchin' Cattle
No longer is it efficient for a group of cowhands to ride out through sage and mesquite brush to round up cattle.. It makes more sense to board a "whirly bird" and cruise above the trees and hills where you can get a full view of everything on the ground.
Custom helicopter roundups have blossomed into a booming, full-time business for Aubrey Lange of San Angelo, Texas. Ranchers hire him to find and herd cattle from the air.
Lange guarantees 95% roundup of any livestock in a fraction of the time cowboys could do it. From the air, it's almost impossible for an animal to hide. The aircraft usually produces enough noise and commotion to move animals to penning areas, but Lange has his 'copter equipped with a siren and loudspeaker for any extra prodding and cajoling the cattle may need.
Besides the time saved in a helicopter roundup, there is the added benefit of less shrinkage of the cattle which are under less stress than in a conventional roundup.
Lange charges right at $145 per hour for a helicopter roundup. That may sound pretty steep, until you consider how much you would have to pay several cowboys for perhaps a day's work. In a recent roundup, for example, Lange covered 12,000 acres and rounded up 900 head in 51/z hrs.
That figures out to less than a dollar a head.
Lange also uses his helicopter to round up sheep, goats and horses, to make wildlife counts, and to spot forest or grass fires.
Rancher Tommy Hayre, of Sheffield, Texas, recently used Lange's service to make a count of deer and wild turkeys in his area. "Lange flew 8,000 acres in 35 minutes," he says. "We figured we have a population of 30 deer per section, and we're pretty sure we found them all."
Hayre uses Lange's helicopter service regularly to round up his sheep and goats, and he is completely sold on doing it this way. "The hardest problem I've had," he says, "is to convince the cowboys that the helicopter can do a better job."
Some ranchers now own their own helicopters to do this kind of work, but it generally is not profitable for a private owner when you consider the six-figure cost of an aircraft which can cost $25,000 just to overhaul.
So far, Lange has had all the business he can handle in west Texas where he's located. "But," he says, "I have had many calls to go out of state."
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lange Helicopter, 3817 Honeysuckle St., San Angelo, Texas 76901 (ph 915 949-5056).
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