Cow Trauma! - Walking through fields of Cows
Q. I am a bit of a townie when it comes to encounters with cattle in fields and am ashamed to admit that I am scared of walking through a field of cows.
They always seem such unpredictable creatures and have a habit of walking towards, rather than away from me.
What is the 'official' protocol when walking through fields with cows in?
I don't want to upset them but would also like to know when to carry on and when to avoid.
A. Cows can be quite scary - even for non-townies. But how dangerous they actually are depends on various circumstances. In terms of risk - its most risky to enter a field with cows with your dog on a lead. Cows with calves are the most risky and will almost always run at your dog and if you get in the way you can be seriously injured - or worse. Even if you haven't got a dog, you need to be very wary of these cattle and make sure that you dont go through the middle of a group so that you come between a cow and its calf. Bulls in these groups are usually completely disinterested in you. Next in line are bullocks- young males in boisterous groups. These are often quite easily dealt with by an assertive approach. They tend to run away and become confused as to what to do if you stand up to them. It takes a bit of bottle, though. They're probably more of as nuisance than a serious risk although there is a danger of accidental trampling. Cattle in fields less frequented by people may be very inquisitive, but not normally dangerous. An assertive approach if they do approach you would normally work quite well. Least risky are milk cows in fields with popular paths. They probably wont even notice you passing. I wouldnt personally go into a field with a lone bull in it. In some areas there are often cattle out on open moorland - usually Highland cattle or Galloways. These groups seem to be pretty docile and I've never had much more than a passing glance from them.
Mike Knipe, Crook
Hope this helps