Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “North America”

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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