Courtesy Ann Shaw --
Les Shaw and his family attend several brandings and host one of their own each spring. Here he gives a short list of things his family needs for a successful branding.
Courtesy Ann Shaw -- Les Shaw and his family attend several brandings and host one of their own each spring. Here he gives a short list of things his family needs for a successful branding.

A few weeks after calving time ends, branding season commences in many parts of the region. Near White Owl, S.D. the Shaw ranching family traditionally brands in early May. They also take part in other neighboring brandings to lend a hand to those who help them throughout the year. 

Les Shaw recently gave The Cattle Business Weekly his 5 must-haves for a successful Shaw Ranch branding.

1) A Crew – Les says having a crew is the most important part of a branding. From the horses and riders who rope and drag calves to the kids willing to pitch-in where needed, every person is put to work and appreciated. 

2) The Right Equipment – Irons, stoves and vaccine guns rank at the top of Les’ equipment list. Hot iron brands and the stoves that heat them are essential in brand country. Also properly working vaccine guns that don’t short a dosage are of value.

3) A Good Facility – It goes without saying that cattle have to be rounded up and held somewhere during branding. Some options are better than others, but portable or permanent corrals are a must.

4) Mother Nature on Our Side –  “You can brand in most weather but there are days that it just won’t work,” Les says. Man and beast always appreciate a mild day with a slight breeze.

 5) Plenty of Food and Beverage – “It is a social event so sitting around the table after a job well done is the best way to end the day,” Les acknowledges. Plenty of food and beverage and time to visit after a hard days work let’s ranchers enjoy the ranching lifestyles they live.