Cows on the lam tracked to Meadowbrook Farm

Loose on Meadowbrook Farm for weeks, two runaway Angus steers watch their watchers. - Courtesy photo
Loose on Meadowbrook Farm for weeks, two runaway Angus steers watch their watchers.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Valley residents have been following the adventures of two young Angus steers on the lam for the past several weeks. The two, owned by Terry Schlaht of Burlington, escaped from their pasture northeast of the city of Snoqualmie in late May and made their way down the hill, across the river and onto Meadowbrook Farm, capturing the attention of several families along the way.

Now, the animals seem to have found a new home, sharing the pastureland of Meadowbrook with the local elk herd, and evading all attempts at capture, so far.

Local residents first spotted the animals around May 20, along Boalch Avenue. They’ve also been spotted on Park Street in Snoqualmie, according to messages on the City of North Bend Residents Yahoo group, but as of last week, most reported sightings placed them on the historic farm, jointly owned by the cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie.

“The smell of cut hay draws big quadrupeds,” local historian and Meadowbrook board member Dave Battey offers as an explanation for their taking up residence on the farm. The grass had recently been cut when the two youngsters made their escape.

Battey has been in contact with Schlaht, and others who’ve reported sightings, and has pieced together a rough guess on the trail they took, down 396th Drive Southeast, to Southeast Mill Pond Road, then across the river, probably via the Meadowbrook Bridge.

“I don’t think they swam the river,” Battey said. “These dudes have not had any experience with swimming.”

They probably have encountered cars and drivers, though, and Battey thinks they were probably “helped” across the bridge by one or more honking car horns. From there, he says, “They made the right move at Park Street,” and followed their noses to the farm.

No one is sure how the animals gained their freedom, and Schlaht did not want to be interviewed on the subject. He did say he was trying to trap them, but previous attempts by Meadowbrook Farm people have failed.

Battey thinks the farm’s environment gives a clear advantage to the cattle, since there is plenty of alder scrub to hide in, and an abundance of food for them. There’s a chance the steers, much more domesticated than the elk they’ve been mingling with, could draw a large predator.

“Truly, there are predators… that can take these two out,” Battey said. “I think a cougar would recognize that the elks are far more dangerous.”

For now, though, Battey compares the two to runaway teenage boys, suffering no consequences and having the time of their lives.

“They look pretty happy, but they’re obvious with those yellow ear tags,” Battey chuckles.


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