Posted: 5/12/2024

Remote Delivery Device (RDD) Game Changer for Cattleman and Badlands Circuit Director


Remote Delivery Device (RDD) Game Changer for Cattleman and Badlands Circuit Director 

By Allie Bohus

Badlands Circuit Director Nicole Bice ranches full-time with her husband, PRCA Team Roping Header, Wyatt Bice. Together they run a three-generation commercial cow-calf operation in Western North Dakota. They ride for the brand, an Open A Bar V.

Bice (formerly Fritz) started rodeoing at the age of 9 and competed through the ranks of high school and collegiate rodeo (competing in all the women’s events offered). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Master of Education degree from Dickinson State University. She met her husband while college rodeoing and they were married in 2019.

“We travel together and went up to Canada one summer and that was really fun. If we weren’t able to buddy together it would be very hard,” she said about the couple rodeoing together professionally.

When Nicole isn’t on the rodeo trail, she and Wyatt are home running cattle. Their typical year looks something like this: they start calving in early March, Bangs vaccinate heifers, Semen test bulls, brand calves, vaccinate cows/calves, and AI (artificially inseminate) heifers before turning the cows out with bulls for natural breeding. They begin gathering cattle in the fall and start pregging (pregnancy checking bred cows/heifers) before weaning and shipping (primarily steer calves). They retain a large majority of the heifer calves as replacements. They feed cattle during the winter months when the grass runs out and the snow is too deep to forage, and before long calving starts and the cycle begins again.

As with many large-scale ranching operations, doctoring cattle that are turned out (free-range cattle) can be a bit challenging to say the least. Geographical limitations, time, horsepower, and weather all come into play.

“Our cattle are way too spread out… We calve in a flat section [it’s] about 6 miles [from where we live], by the time you catch your horse and saddle [it just takes too much time]…” she said. The Bice’s have three (3) Pneu-Dart products that offer remote injection abilities. The amount of time the remote delivery devices (RDDs) save is hard to estimate. 

“I can’t imagine [running cattle] any other way. You go check mineral or water and you can dart 5-6 [animals] even just checking water,” Bice said. The remote delivery devices are designed for three main species of animals: cattle, cervid (deer, elk, moose, etc.), and wildlife. For the past 50 years, cattle producers working with their veterinarians have been able to remotely deliver medication to free range cattle at the onsite of infection. This is vitally important to improve the health of the animal.

The RDDs are also commonly used by cervid livestock producers as well as biologists, zookeepers and rangers. Ultimately without a RDD or projector (more commonly used with wildlife), it would not be safe (for the animal or human) or even possible to treat a sick or injured animal.  

Especially important for livestock producers, the RDDs are very effective at medicating or sedating an animal in a low stress manner.   

Bice has been using a RDD for about the last 10 years. Their intention behind making their first purchase was to “dart bulls because they are so ignorant,” she said. The RDDs are easily incorporated into Bice’s daily life on the ranch and afford her the confidence of treating a sick animal by herself efficiently.

Although Bice still uses horsepower on the ranch extensively, it is certainly much faster and easier to medicate or sedate an animal with the use of an RDD. Both she and her husband use their rodeo horses on the ranch and believe it is vital for their minds to remain sharp to be ranch horses.

“We ranch on our rodeo horses; I think it calms them down,” she said. The Badlands Circuit Director has used ranch life to get her barrel horses in shape, especially for the Circuit Finals. She enjoys being able to ranch full-time and rodeo as much as she is able to while also representing the contestant-side of the Badlands Circuit on the WPRA Board of Directors.