Okeechobee Cow Hunters, Cowboys and Cat Fishermen

  up-AE7R1VDJIN8QTIBPMost early mornings, the Okeechobee Cow Hunters are lined up at the gas pumps filling up their pickups while the saddled horse waited in the attached trailer for another day of working the range.  There are several types of Cowboys in Okeechobee. The first are the working Cow Hunters who are traditionally dressed in work worn jeans, muddy boots, western snap-buttoned yoked shirts, and sweat-stained western work hats. Large powerful calloused hands, ruddy weathered faces with stern sun damaged hard eyes wearing the tools of their trade. Boots with sharp spurs, guns and hostlers, sweat stained wide brimmed cowboy hats with most carrying either a can or pack of tobacco in their hip pocket. The second are men of obvious wealth and plenty, the ranchers dressed in more formal attire of cowboy dress, pleat seamed boot-cut pants, snap-buttoned yoked western shirt and magnificent large “Marlboro Man” cowboy hats.

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 The third type of cowboy are not really cowboys rather they are insanely tough commercial Cat fishermen who ride the Okeechobee raked open fishing boats head-first in the huge Okeechobee swells, casting their trotlines in search of catfish. Commercial cat fishermen are dressed in rubber boots, slickers and wide-brimmed straw cowboy hats with broken at the brims low across their foreheads.  Each is equipped with the tools of their trade. Historic photographs of Okeechobee Cowoys OKEECHOBEE cow hunters_t607 'Okeechobee Cow hunters,' c. 191-. Tantie and Okeechobee City were both wild and wooly frontier towns. Cow Hunters and fishermen tended not to get along, and it wasn’t a good thing that they both had Saturday off. When both were in town, someone was usually drinking, and fights were common. Photo Credit: Thomas A Markham, www.tommymarkham.com
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From the back of the photo: "Raulerson cow hunters all owned large herds of cattle and worked together"
At present, none of the men have been identified.
Photo courtesy of Ida Mae Chandler Hendry

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