It was just an average February day when my neighbor called and asked me to help him pen his calves up off the wheat grass. We had caught them all in the smaller pasture a few days before and shut the gate on them, so we had about 47 head of 900 pound calves on about about 12 acres. I say about 47 head because no one had been able to get a count on them since we turned em out last fall… For some reason this bunch was wild, probably in the genetics. I’m just guessing, but wild and crazy cows bred to wild and flighty bulls produce calves that are… well, you get the picture. Anyway, each time we tried to count them and get closer than about 150 yards all you could see was their tails going over the hill. Neighbor had put hay in the catch pen and they were used to coming in for feed and water, so it looked like an easy deal.
Day 1. The plan was to go in with the feed truck like normal and dump a bunch of cubes in the troughs, and when they all ran in to eat we’d shut the gate. So we proceeded to execute this well thought out strategy, and about 15 head would not enter the pen. After some deliberation we decided to try em again tomorrow.
Day 2. He called and said he had em all in but 2, (enter Bonnie and Clyde) and we were gonna move what we had because the truck was coming in a few days to pick them all up. We trailered them 12 or so at a time up to the sorting pens where we could sort and load when the big truck came in a few days.
Day 3. He put out cubes and more hay in the pen and pulled the gates nearly closed to allow a quick close and catch when Bonnie and Clyde came in the pen.
Day 4. The cubes were all eaten and the hay was partially gone, but there were no calves to be seen. Evidently they snuck in after dark and made a quick getaway before dawn.
Day 5. He drove the feed truck around the small pasture until he saw them and doled out some cubes hoping they would follow. They just stood there facing the truck, and if he got too close they turned to run. Cattle 5: Cowboys 0.
Today is day 7. They are standing along the horse pen fence as far away from the catch pen as possible, and the truck comes tomorrow.
It’s always interesting working with critters, especially when they decide to be ornery. Back years ago they called them renegades, bad outlaws, or brutes… They wrote songs about how the ole black steer had stood his ground against punchers from everywhere and would take bets as to whether the next cowboy would be able to or not.
As for Bonnie and Clyde? Stay tuned.