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Posted 10/10/12 (Wed)

Well, this may be my last column. I hope not, but it could be. Because I am going after the wild cow this morning. I had better start at the beginning.
Our cattle run in a “community” pasture. We have our cattle, our son’s cattle, our brother-in-law’s cattle, our cousins’ cattle, and probably some that we don’t even claim. And like any melting pot of cultures, there are bound to be problems.
The people are all right, but some of the cows have become known as rabble-rousers. Especially Hans and Sandi’s two longhorn cows. They have been building a reputation for years. They are born leaders. They lead the other cows the opposite direction that you wish to go. And usually you can kind of handle it. But they have been teaching battle tactics and strategy to Darrel’s Saler cows this summer. If you don’t know what Salers are, just consider yourself lucky. They are the breed of cattle that broke the spirit of the French. You are better off not knowing anything about them.
Anyway, yesterday we had to sort Darrel’s pairs. Beautiful day. Sun shining. No wind. Just a nice Sunday afternoon trail ride. The kind some people pay a couple of hundred dollars for.
The cattle were split in two bunches. We eased through the first bunch and picked up over half of the pairs we needed. Just like we had planned. Then we snuck into the other herd and slipped out half a dozen before the longhorns noticed us. Ten to go.
Ten red Salers and one longhorn started across the pasture at a brisk trot, with a few of our black cows trying to keep up. We could just let them drift into the corner and sort the odd ones off. Piece of cake. Wrong!
When that longhorn got to the corner, she hopped over the fence. Her calf crawled through the fence. I whipped and spurred and headed the rest of the herd east before we lost them. I am really good.
We took them across the pasture to the good corner of the fence. Here the fence holds two sides, the creek and the south side. The riders could hold one little spot while we sorted the odd stuff back.
Like that Saler was going to listen to that. She quickly got the little herd together and led them on a suicide dash to the creek. She bailed over the end of the bank, did a back flip, and started swimming. The whole herd followed her.
Will headed around the bend and got them headed back. After lots of whooping and hollering, most of them bailed in the creek and we busted them towards the corral. One red one made a run for freedom with her eyes closed. After a mile run, we roped the calf and weaned him a day early.
This morning, I am headed back. I have my gun and my rope. You know how many people anticipate the first day of deer season? Longhorn season opens at daylight today at Lake Ilo. And I am loaded for bear.
With any luck at all, I should be able to bag the two-cow limit. If I don’t, it was good knowin’ ya!