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Gender: Female
Hometown: Arizona
Home country: US
Current location: Baja Arizona
Member since: Fri Feb 27, 2004, 03:17 PM
Number of posts: 53,368

Journal Archives

catching wild cattle is a rare and dangerous occupation

I have been really lucky to know some good cowboys with these kinds of skills. That bull wasn't particularly wild, but it was 4 or 5 miles back to any corrals or other way to get him in a trailer and we just wanted him gone. When they won't stay home they have to go.

If I had found him he and managed to get him off their property I would have had to make him go all that way and bulls can be really hard to drive with out a bunch of cows to follow in. Even then they tend to want to run off or stay behind. Plus one of the tunnels the cattle use to go under the interstate is too short for a horse so it would have been tricky getting him past that and onto the next bigger one. So this worked out OK.

Bull! (with special thanks to MFM)

Background: a couple of weeks ago I got word from the neighbors that we had a bull over on their place. Just a few days before that I had asked everybody in the house if they had seen him and another one that are usually together, because they had been coming in about once a week for salt (plenty of water up in the rocks until lately) and I hadn't seen them in several weeks now.

I was really hoping it was the fault of the adjoining neighbor guest ranch leaving a gate open or something, because I am mad at them for some other stuff and to be able to blame them for this would be a good thing. But it looks like he walked right over a cattle guard instead. He wasn't that wild or dangerous but he had horns and he is a range bull, not a 20 year old pet like their bull and 10 cows are. So the first day I didn't even ride on them, instead I went back to the three-way corner with us, them and the guest ranch and checked fences. While I was doing that the daughter (who also lives on the property) called and said they looked at the tracks and thought he came over the cattleguard and went back out. Ok, then he should show up at our headquarters in a couple of days.

I told them I would come back in a couple more days to double check and ride on them. This was the absolute first time I had ever ridden in their property (they are very into locking gates and keeping people out - something I sort of wish I could do but is impossible with the Interstate, two county roads, a railroad and numerous utility right-of-ways through this damn place - also we are about 5 times as big) I looked all over where they said he was and even covered some more ground just trying to get a feel for the place and found some pretty fresh tracks but no real fresh dung or other sign. I figured he had left like they said. Good.

They wanted Dusty to come over and look too so he was supposed to go that Sunday but didn't do it as nobody had seen him or anything and Saturday we spent the whole day moving a big water tank and working on that project. (I usually get one or two days a month from him, and he gets more done then than I do in two whole months - sigh) Of course since Dusty didn't go over there the SOB bull showed up Monday morning and was right in their yard gate. They went out and tried to make him go out the main property gate using a shotgun. (shooting into the dirt) It jammed and he ran off down hill. She called and was all pissed off and I said I would be over as fast as I could. The spouse and I were just about as far away from our house as we could get, working on the plumbing for the water tank we moved earlier.

As soon as I got back to the house I hooked up the trailer and filled the tires with air and went to saddle Old Joe. I looked at his front feet and one of his shoes was almost completely worn through at the toe and one side had come loose and was sticking up along the side of his foot. Got that out of the way but no way to ride him in the rocks with half a shoe on that foot and I am in no shape to take off the other half that was still nailed on tight. (and I still didn't want to ride him barefoot in the rocks) So I called back and said I guess I can't make it I have to wait until Dusty can come shoe my horse so they might as well wait and he would come for sure the next Saturday.

Told her the husband and son would come over the next morning and walk the jeep trail and down the canyons where he probably went. She sounded pretty mad but there really wasn't anything else I could do.

Next day I call to say they are coming over and she says don't bother she is going to have this other guy come get the bull. I was kind of shocked and surprised but said ok (they would take him straight to the Auction in Wilcox and he could be paid out of the proceeds) if he doesn't get him Dusty could come on Saturday. There is a back story to the guy but I won't get into it now other than he was told many years ago to stay off our place after some big steers came home to our HQ with his wife's brand on them. She was till pissed off and giving me an ulcer. These are 2nd and 3rd generation neighbors and aren't going anywhere, so this is a relationship I try to keep safe, unlike the assholes on the other side of me. But jeebus, the bull isn't that dangerous and she could probably lead him around with some hay! They got it in their heads he was wild and dangerous and "charged" them. I bet he was looking for a hand out, but who knows after she tried to herd him using a shotgun?

That was Tuesday. Thursday is sale day and I hadn't heard anything. Dusty texted wanting to know what was up but I didn't feel like calling them and said I would check with the daughter by e-mail. I was on my way to the store that evening when the mom called. They decided not to use the other guy and now they wanted Dusty to come again. ARGH!!! OK so...

Saturday morning it was freezing cold but they showed up - Dusty,two others plus a half dozen dogs. Since I am old and slow I just drove over (in these kinds of things having somebody in a vehicle can be useful - that is my real excuse) I sat on a hill in the truck watching as best I could with binoculars (this is rocky - huge granite boulders and deep draws/canyons that are hard to see into). They rode all around then Dusty and his uncle went back up into a place called Hells Hole while Travis went back over where they had just been and looked in more tight spots. Everybody was out of view so on a hunch I walked back up this little narrow spot that had been created when the property got passed down from the parents to the current holders - they had a fence built on the actual property line instead of keeping the old natural boundary of these huge rocks. I had noticed the bull's tracks going in there when I first came to look the week before, so I knew he had been in there, just not recently. I walked about as far as I could (not much) and came back to the truck. By then the cousin was back. He rested a little and I suggested he go on back in there as I didn't get to the end of it and there WERE some old tracks. He heads back up and I sit and wait. After a little while Dusty and uncle come riding up from Hells Hole with no bull. I was really bummed, because them not getting him meant dealing with telling them we failed. They had spent 3 hours riding around a place that is little over a square mile and couldn't find the SOB. As they rode up I must have looked really disappointed. I said Oh no! you didn't find him? Dusty cracked a grin and tipped his hat up towards where his cousin had gone and said he's in there and they trotted up the trail.

A few seconds later I heard the dogs and here come all three riders crashing through the brush and back out the little gate and around to the road and off. I shut the other gates we had open and followed in the truck. The 8 pictures condense about 15 - 20 minutes of tense and INtense work catching the bull (who had jumped the fence when the dogs got after him) near the road (very important and often neglected in the excitement of the chase), getting him tied to a tree and then into the trailer. No injuries to anybody or any critters, only ruined 3 ropes and lost one spur. Whew.

with special thanks to MFM for lending me his phucking photobucket and editing, as mine is phucked up still - leaving for posterity
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