Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Drought forces ranchers into tough, desperate decisions

GILLETTE — A cloud of dust kicked up as Cass Hurley shuffled down a small hill in the middle of the 320-acre ranch she and her husband operate off North Heptner Road in Rozet. It’s not far beyond where the county stops maintaining the road.

The only problem with the scene was that, ideally, there would have been no dust. The hill she descended was the interior bank of a reservoir. Her boots should have been wet, but instead were covered with a fresh layer of dust. The reservoir is one of the three the couple have on the backside of their ranch, and each is bone-dry.

They mostly dried up last s...