Staying Safe Around Bulls

A bull that is halter-broke and has been raised as a pet may be gentle. But keep in mind it's still an animal you have to respect.

Ryon Walker is a livestock consultant at the Noble Research Institute. He says bulls are stubborn and will get upset when you make them do something they don't want to do.  At any given time, they can suddenly decide they don’t like you and become aggressive.

So how do you know if you're pushing the bull too far? Watch its eyes.

"You can always tell when a bull is uneasy with someone being around them when they're always watching you. So when you look at their eyes and they follow your movement all over, they want to know where you're at because they feel uncomfortable with you," he says. "When they get real alert and they feel like they want to do something about it, their eyes get really big versus a bull that feels real comfortable and real easy, they're going to be less alertive."

A bull that's telling you to go away might also paw at the ground.  Walker says sometimes it's just a warning, but it's best not to find out. To avoid being cornered by two-thousand pounds of an angry animal, be prepared for it.

"You always want to put yourself in a position where if need be, you can climb a fence. Don't ever get in an area where you can't get behind an obstacle like a haybale ring, or a feeder, or you can't climb a fence," warns Walker. "That's number one."

Walker says the best way to avoid confrontation with a bull is to handle it in a low-stress manner, and maintain your distance. When you need to move it, such as from the pasture to a trailer, bring a few other cattle along. The bull will be less likely to resist because it's with company.