What to do if you encounter sheep or cattle on Idaho's public lands…

When people are out recreating on Idaho public lands, they may encounter sheep or cattle on the trail.

Many of Idaho’s public lands are managed for multiple use – meaning they are working lands for livestock and ranching and places to enjoy for people out camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, riding ATVs and motorbikes and more.

Some people may wonder what to do if they encounter cattle or sheep on the trail.

Our friends at the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission (IRRC) have developed tips for recreationists on what to do.

Care and Share logo

Here’s what to do if you encounter sheep on the trail. 

Leash your dog(s) if you encounter sheep. If you’re mountain biking, dismount your bike and walk through the sheep so as not to antagonize the livestock guardian dogs protecting the sheep from predators. And then continue your ride.

Hikers with sheep on the trail
Karen and Jim Young encounter sheep while hiking in the Payette National Forest (IRRC photo)


Here's what to do if you encounter cattle on the trail. 

People should slow down if they encounter cattle. Leash pets, proceed slowly and let the cattle move off the trail. Do not chase livestock down the trail or you might unwittingly separate calves from mother cows.

It takes just a little courtesy and patience to co-exist with livestock on public lands. IRRC partners with the BLM, Idaho Department of Lands and the Forest Service on the Care/Share campaign. The theme of the campaign is to care for Idaho’s rangelands and show respect for other uses so we can all share them for generations to come.

Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission

Click here for more information about caring for your public lands and sharing them with other users. 

Blog Topic: