“We’ve never seen record snow like this, ever. And we’re losing cattle left and right,” said one rancher in Northern California.

All the grass is covered by up to seven feet of snow on some ranches, making it impossible for any livestock to get food.

So State, federal and local officials from neighboring Humboldt County have put together an emergency rescue operation to airdrop stranded cattle bales of hay calling it “Operation Hay Drop.”


Authorities gathered coordinates of stranded herds, then flew out, looking for cows.

“The pilots are looking essentially for tracks in the snow,” said one of the organizers. “They’ll drop the hay in the area where they are, and what they found is [the cows] start coming out from under the trees and going towards the hay as soon as the helicopter takes off.”


So far, Operation Hay Drop has been a success, said rancher Puga. The mission covers about 2,500 head of cattle over several miles.

“If it wasn’t for them, I guarantee you 110% there’d be thousands of cattle that are dying. Thousands,” Puga said.