Ranching in southern Arizona: In memory of Joe Goff part 5

Bob Simpson

In spite of the extensive and rugged terrain where animals can hide, about 95% of the annual calf crop is captured during roundup. The remaining 5% that survive become mavericks which he tries to capture later in the year. These animals can become wild and almost impossible to round up. One technique Goff uses is to close the gates on water tanks located inside corrals during a dry period. In a few days the mavericks and others are gathered outside the corral looking for water. The gates are opened and the mavericks caught when inside. They are then dehorned, branded, vaccinated and, if a bull is not worthy, castrated.

Salt blocks are an important item in range cow diets. Although containing 92-97% salt, and a small amount of calcium, a key ingredient in the 50 pound blocks is iodine (90 ppm) which counteracts the effects of a bacterium found in this area that causes wounds from cactus and other thorns to become infected and cause major skin sores.

Of interest to local hikers, Joe’s corrals are seen along the dirt road that leads down to Sutherland Wash (the Cottonwoods) and used for Deer Camp and other hikes. The corral near the top of the ridge is called the Sutherland Heights Corral and is on 3,282 acres of state land that Goff sub-leases from Golder. Using portable loading chutes, cattle are loaded from this corral onto trucks for the trip to Oracle.

Having abandoned the spring at Deer Camp, one source of water for his cattle in the area is from what he calls the Roy Morris Spring. A pipeline runs from the spring to a concrete trough called Wooden Trough (which it used to be), on the north side of Cargodera Canyon. Morris once operated a bootleg whiskey still at the spring during Prohibition and made a lot of money doing it. He reportedly decided to give up his operation and was on his last run to Wilcox when he was apprehended. After serving a one year sentence at the Florence prison he met his wife and, with the money they had hidden away, Morris purchased a ranch off the Florence highway. Today Joe Goff owns that ranch.

Another spring Goff uses to supply water to a trough about a mile north of Wooden Trough is Panther Piss Spring. He claims not to know where this spring got its name.