With the arrival of warmer weather and green grass, cow-calf operations gear up for branding season.
This month, cattle outfits across the country begin stamping their mark on the hides of their spring calves. Branding season isn’t just an important springtime chore. Working in the early morning light amid bawling mama cows and the smell of charred hair, cowboys display skills unknown to any other American laborer. They enjoy a certain camaraderie that can develop only during a hard day’s work, and they carry on a tradition that makes their occupation the greatest low-paying job in the world.