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Doctoring

Branding and castrating calves was done after the roundup. Branding protected the owner’s investment because anyone could claim unmarked cattle. Castrating limited the number of bulls in the herd. Uncastrated bulls were more difficult to control and would fight each other. To manage the task of branding and castrating calves, the rope and horse were essential pieces of cowboy gear. Skill and practice with both were essential to getting the job done.


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Erwin E. Smith (1886–1947)
Three men holding down a steer in a corral lot while doctoring it somewhere on the Texas Plains. 1905–1915
Nitrate negative
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
LC.S59.025
 
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