Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “antelope”

Beau Gets a Friend

ballbully

Duke is not a puppy.  He is a six year old German Shorthair Pointer.  Miss Sugar, my kind-hearted wife, saw on Craigslist that Duke needed a new home.  (I do not understand why she was looking at pet ads on Craigslist.)  As an historical note, we previously were owned by another German Shorthair Pointer, Rover, who was a wonderful dog.  Rover and Max, pictured above, got along well.  Sadly, both have passed on.

German Shorthair Pointers like to run.  They probably need to run.  The family that posted the ad had decided that their living situation was not meeting Duke’s needs for lots of room to run.  We have lots of room to run so Sugar said we would take him.  That happened yesterday.

Duke adjusted well to our family and home immediately.  We introduced him to Beau and Sadie, Yellow Labs, and the horses, and even a cat.

We took all the dogs for a long walk in the pasture, with Duke on a leash, to show him the place.  We took a chance letting him off the leash, hoping he would stay by the other dogs, and he did stay by them, sort of.  He runs circles around the rest of us.  Literally.  He runs in big circles.  But he came back.  That was yesterday.

Today, we took the crowd out for another “walk.”  Even the cat came.  Beau spotted some Pronghorns (antelope) and Duke was glad.  They chased the fastest land animals in North America.  Beau gave up after awhile.  Duke did not.  The Pronghorns and Duke all disappeared from sight.  Sugar and I worried that we had made a mistake letting Duke off the leash.

To our relief, he eventually returned.  Sugar met him with joy.  The prodigal son returned.

In the house, Duke is a gentleman.  He has accepted us.  And we have accepted him.

Beau seems glad to have another buddy.  They are both “sporting dogs.”  So they have that in common.  They are supposed to be bird dogs, of course.  That is what the antelopes would like them to be.  The rabbits in the vicinity also feel strongly in favor of these dogs sticking with retrieving birds.

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Deer Sighting

Sugar and I see pronghorns (antelope) at our ranch nearly every day. Sometimes we see whitetail deer in the hay meadow. I have encountered elk while riding a horse in a canyon at our neighbor’s ranch. Once we saw a moose by the highway while driving to town.
Last weekend we saw wildlife in an unusual place.

We had stopped in a little town in Wyoming, Medicine Bow, population less than 300 as I recall the sign said. We parked in front of a church. We got out of the truck to stretch our legs. Sugar walked up the street toward a house next to the church. It had a fenced yard.

“Look,” she exclaimed, “They have a pet deer.”

I looked. Sure enough, there was a deer laying in the back yard. It was very still. I told her it was a statue. She pointed out that it was chewing. Sugar quietly approached the fence. She wanted a better look. She has a way with animals.

Suddenly, the deer rose up and jumped over the fence.

“Dang,” I thought, “Sugar scared the pet deer out of the yard. Those people will be upset.”

But there were no people to upset. The house was vacant. There was a foreclosure notice on the door.

Then Sugar noticed something else. There were twin fawns emerging from the garage to join their mother. The mother deer and her babies had made a home in the unoccupied house.

The foreclosure notice indicates that those deer had not made their mortgage payments for awhile. Deer can be very irresponsible financially.

I Hate It When That Happens

We have all had the experience that I had this morning.

You know how it is when you step out on your deck and trip on an antelope skull?  I hate it when that happens!

It happened to me this morning.

pronghornskull

Beau finds things.  He brings the things that he finds to the deck off the kitchen, where we feed him and Sadie.  He collects bones primarily.  He loves his possessions.  He often tries to bring them inside.  If prevented from that, he leaves them by the door.  That way, when he is next let in, perhaps when it is dark outside, a quick grab might be successful.  Sometimes it is.

His collection includes that one antelope (aka pronghorn) skull, the partial spine of a cow, a deer skull with one antler, and the leg of a cow, including the hoof.  (I can’t tell you where the other three legs are stored. Coyotes likely know.)

Beau and I have similar taste.  Personally, I use antlers in all of my decorating.  Miss Sugar, my trophy wife, is just a girl.  Girls are not the same as us guys.  You can look it up in the medical literature.  However, we live in harmony.  She allows me to hang antlers and cowhides and longhorns, and guns on the wall.  In a spirit of reciprocity, I allow her to hang up paintings and photos and stuff like that.  She has a collection of crosses, to counteract the guns and knives, I suppose.  Anyway, Sugar and I cooperate.  We have to do so.  We are married.  We live in the same house.

Longhorndisplayantlerslampropes

Beau is on his own as a decorator.  He is limited to decorating the deck and the courtyard.  Sadie, like Sugar, is a girl.  She is welcome to decorate the front porch, yet she does not.   She might be less artistic than the rest of us.

Rover, may he rest in peace, employed a larger venue to display his artistic creations.  The entire yard was his canvas.  https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/decorating-tips/

“And the Deer and the Antelope Play”

Above is pictured the rare double-headed antelope photographed by Miss Sugar.

This week I published two posts about buffaloes and where they used to roam. Now we’re going to continue with the Home on the Range theme.

Miss Sugar and I live where the deer and the antelope play.

I am not sure what the songwriter meant because in my experience the deer and antelope do not play together, but they do kinda play within their respective species.  While on the subject of species, I have been told that what the songwriter labeled as antelopes are technically pronghorns.  Miss Sugar has studied up on all this and corrects me when I say antelope instead of pronghorn.  I might have this wrong, but I think she said pronghorns are the fastest land animals in North America.  Actual antelopes live in Africa or someplace outside of the Greater Livermore Metropolitan Area.

We see antelopes, I mean pronghorns, pretty much daily.  They have a territory within which they migrate around.  Our dogs like to alert us to the approach of pronghorns.  Miss Sugar has taken lots of photos of them, but she must do that when the dogs have not noticed the presence of these shy creatures.

The deer are less predictable in their appearances.  They stay in the trees more, it seems like, but sometimes they show up in the big hay meadow below our house.  We have also seen elk there but this post is not about elk or moose neither because they are not mentioned in the song.  Ask me sometime to tell y’all about our moose sighting and about the elk rack on our wall.  I use antlers in all of my decorating — my what a guy.

Back to pronghorns playing, we have a horse that might be the fastest land animal in North America.  I got Old Woody as a yearling with the idea that he’d make a good stud.  We abandoned that idea when we started riding him as a two-year old.  He makes a nice gelding.  As a stallion, he had trouble keeping his mind off the girls, so the vet performed what some call “brain surgery” (which procedure is performed far from his head)  in order to get his mind right.

One day Miss Sugar told me to look out the window.  Which I did.  What to our wondering eyes did we see but Woody sneaking up on some pronghorns.    The other horses did not seem to care whether pronghorns trespass in their personal pasture, but Woody decided to do something about it.  What he done required some critical thinking and problem solving, as well as athletic ability.

The pronghorned creatures were on a plateau grazing when Woody noticed them and Miss Sugar noticed him noticing them.  As the scene unfolded, Woody went out an open gate to get from the barn area out to the pasture.  He snuck up around the plateau without the prongs noticing.  Then he popped up on the top where they were, which startled them, so they took off.

As I hinted at above, pronghorns are pretty darn fast.  Well, so is Woody.  He hooked on to the herd and ran wherever they ran.  They sorta curve around as they run, like a wave.  The bunch don’t go in a straight line.  Woody kept up like he was part of the group until the pronghorns reached a barb wire fence.

Some folks might expect such graceful creatures to jump the fence.  However, when I’m watching, they usually go under.  There are places along our fences where you can see little paths where pronghorns duck through.  Woody lacks that ability but at least he is smart enough to know it so he stopped at the fence.  Then he trotted back to the other horses, kinda lookin proud.

Image

Woody The Pronghorn Chaser!  On this particular ride, we scared an elk out of a draw, but did not actually chase it.  We just surprised it.  It was bigger than Woody.

Rustlers

Some of you reading this might not have had the experience of living in the ranch country of the American West and might not believe all of the stories I write about, such as seeing buffaloes and pronghorns or killing rattlesnakes.  I want to assure you that all the blogs I have written so far are all true.  Today’s story is no exception.   

Today is June 30, 2012.  Miss Sugar and I had planned to go up to Cheyenne, Wyoming for the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) event known as Hell on Wheels.  That adventure was going to be the subject of today’s blog, but it will have to wait until tomorrow because I want to first write about what just happened when we got home.

So as we drove up the lane, we noticed a pickup truck with a  stock trailer backed up against a gate by the barn.   That is not an unusual sight.  We have a pickup and we have a stock trailer.  The trouble was, this particular pickup was not ours and this particular stock trailer was not ours but the barn and the gate are definitely ours. 

So the question that Miss Sugar articulated with her Texan candor concerned her suspicion that persons unknown might be up to no good.  Rustlers!  Rustlers?  That’s a hangin offense around these parts.

There were two cowboy types in our pen by the barn trying to convince a calf to join his friends in the trailer backed up to the gate.  Apparently, this calf was not that close of a friend in that he was very reluctant to join the other calves. 

You are probably wondering, “Was it your calf being rustled by badmen?  Did you shoot them per the Code of the West?  Did you use the Colt .45s you have for the SASS competition?”  Those are excellent questions, which I will answer for you.

No, it was not our calf, so, no, I thought it would not be proper to shoot them.

However, the question remains, why were the cowboys, calf, truck and trailer in our barnyard?

So I drove down to ask the cowboys that very question.

A young feller came over and introduced himself as Brad Hall.   Then Brad offered an explanation.  He said that he and this other feller, Ken, were hauling cattle when something happened to a tire on their trailer right in front of our place, which caused them to stop and unload the bunch in our pen.  He said that they knocked on our door but no one was home.  That was because we were up in Cheyenne at Hell on Wheels, which, like I said already, I will write about tomorrow.

Miss Sugar said, “Your trailer looks o.k. to me.”  Which it did.

So Brad said, “Oh, it ain’t this trailer.  After we unloaded, we took the other trailer with the bum tire to our place and came back with this one.  We got all the critters loaded in this trailer except this last stinker.  We been trying to get him in for more than an hour.  If I had a .45, I’d shoot him right here and give you the meat.”

I know what you are thinking, gentle reader.  You are thinking, “Al, didn’t you just say you have two Colt .45 pistols for your SASS competition?”  

No, I did not offer Brad the use of one of my .45 sixshooters.

Instead, we offered to help him load the calf.

I wish I could say our help was valuable.  It was not.  That dang calf got around Ken (not me) and took off out of the pen into the pasture.

I know what you are thinking.  “Didn’t you write in Where the Deer and the Antelope Play that your buckskin gelding, Woody, is perhaps the fastest land animal in North America?  And didn’t you write in Wonder Horses that Scamp is a real smart trick horse like Trigger?  Wouldn’t Roy Rogers use Trigger to chase that calf right into the trailer?  Or would you just rope him and drag him?  Didn’t you say you have participated in roundups and cattle drives and brandings?”

We four were not mounted on cowhorses.  We just chased the calf on foot into a different pen, our stud pen, which is six feet high and made of pipe and cable.  It is a good thing it was available.  (Remember, Woody used to be a stallion, but no more.) 

So Brad go out a rope and roped the little calf in our stud pen.  Ken helped him hold the calf while Brad tied the calf’s hind legs.  Then they dragged him to the trailer and lifted him into it and that was that.   

They thanked us and left.

Miss Sugar and I walked from the barn to the house.  There we found a note taped for us in case we came home and wondered about our new calves before Brad and Ken returned.  It said, “Dear Folks, Sorry about the issue at hand but we were forced to unload these calves.  (Two phone numbers were next).  Please give us a call.  We will return ASAP.  Going to Middle Cherokee Park.  Thanks, Brad.”

What a fine young man!  I’m glad I didn’t shoot first and ask questions later.

Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

Above is pictured the rare double-headed antelope photographed by Miss Sugar. 

The past two posts I have written about buffaloes and where they used to roam. Now we’re going to continue with the Home on the Range theme. Miss Sugar and I live where the deer and the antelope play.

I am not sure what the songwriter meant, but in my experience the deer and antelope do not play together, but they do kinda play.within their respective species.  While on the subject of species, I have been told that what the songwriter labeled as antelopes are technically pronghorns.  Miss Sugar has studied up on all this and corrects me when I say antelope instead of pronghorn.  I might have this wrong, but I think she said pronghorns are the fastest land animals in North America.  Actual antelopes live in Africa or someplace outside of the Greater Livermore Metropolitan Area. 

We see antelopes, I mean pronghorns, pretty much daily.  They have a territory within which they migrate around.  Our dogs like to alert us to the approach of pronghorns.  Miss Sugar has taken lots of photos of them, but she must do that when the dogs have not noticed the presence of these shy creatures. 

The deer are less predictable in their appearances.  They stay in the trees more, it seems like, but sometimes they show up in the big hay meadow below our house.  We have also seen elk there but this post is not about elk or moose neither because they are not mentioned in the song.  Ask me sometime to tell y’all about our moose sighting and about the elk rack on our wall.  I use antlers in all of my decorating — my what a guy. 

Back to pronghorns playing, we have a horse that might be the fastest land animal in North America.  I got Old Woody as a yearling with the idea that he’d make a good stud.  We abandoned that idea when we started riding him as a two-year old.  He makes a nice gelding.  As a stallion, he had trouble keeping his mind off the girls, so the vet performed what some call brain surgery in order to get his mind right.

One day Miss Sugar told me to look out the window.  Which I did.  What to our wondering eyes did we see but Woody sneaking up on some pronghorns.    The other horses did not seem to care whether pronghorns trespass in their personal pasture, but Woody decided to do something about it.  What he done required some critical thinking and problem solving, as well as athletic ability.

The pronghorned creatures were on a plateau grazing when Woody noticed them and Miss Sugar noticed him noticing them.  As the scene unfolded, Woody went out an open gate to get from the barn area out to the pasture.  He snuck up around the plateau without the prongs noticing.  Then he popped up on the top where they were, which startled them, so they took off. 

As I hinted at above, pronghorns are pretty darn fast.  Well, so is Woody.  He hooked on to the herd and ran wherever they ran.  They sorta curve around as they run, like a wave.  The bunch don’t go in a straight line.  Woody kept up like he was part of the group until the pronghorns reached a barb wire fence. 

Some folks might expect such graceful creatures to jump the fence.  However, when I’m watching, they usually go under.  There are places along our fences where you can see little paths where pronghorns duck through.  Woody lacks that ability but at least he is smart enough to know it so he stopped at the fence.  Then he trotted back to the other horses, kinda lookin proud. 

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