Risk from Cows
Advice to walkers is if you have a dog with you, keep it under close control, but do not hang on to it should a cow or bull start acting aggressively.
If you feel threatened, just carry on as normal, do not run, move to the edge of the field and if possible find another way round the field, returning to the original path as soon as is possible. And remember to close the gate."
It seems that the biggest risks are:
- Walking with dogs
- Walking near cattle who are with young calves. Their natural instinct is to protect their young - and you (especially with a dog in tow) - may be seen as an especially big threat.
So - if you are with a dog, avoid going through a field with cows at all. Although it may be inconvenient, it's probably better to consider finding another route. Be especially vigilant if you find yourself with your dog in a field with both cows and calves.
Even without a dog, try to keep quiet and move away calmly and out of the field as soon as possible. Try not to surprise the cows - remember that their line of vision is to the side and not straight in front.
If cows get too close, turning quietly to face them with arms outstretched is considered to be the best approach.
Advice from a farmer " Cows are curious animals, with or without calves, always take a walking stick with you, be confident, talk firmly to them and if they get too near stretch your arms and walking stick outwards to fill the maximum area (cows join up all the external points and so you suddenly become massive in their eyes)."
Additionally, Harry Whitehouse has offered the following useful points: -
'1 Two farmers have separately told me that cattle have a danger awareness border of about 30 feet. If someone is outside that border, the cattle will certainly take an interest in him, but they will not feel any real sense of nervousness or alarm unless he draws closer.
2 At a Ramblers workshop, we were told that Central Office has no recorded modern instance of walkers being threatened by cattle if (a) they are in a group of more than two people, and (b) they do not have a dog with them.
3 Dogs of all shapes and sizes are domesticated wolves. Cattle recognise them as a threat and their response is to mob the dog and try to trample it. The owner should release the dog from its lead so that it can escape, and draw the cattle away from the owner.'