bull pen

Bull pen here is not the board-wall or chain-link arena where pitchers warm up, nor the stout enclosure near outbuildings where bulls are contained until the season to unleash them among heifers, but altitudinous meadows in the Rocky Mountains enclosed by the steep-walled surrounds of a higher range. The designation likely derives from the use to which they were originally put. The unscalable (to cattle) walls of mountain rock, with a single portal parted by nature or a watering stream, could be walled shut with boulders or deadfall, allowing bulls to be held in pasture until it came time to release them to a herd. Calf Pen Canyon, near Pine and Payson, Arizona, is named for just such a natural use.

Larry Woiwode