Hooboy. That could have gone badly.

Yesterday afternoon was a fairly typical Monsoon day. It barely rained at all but boomer cells passed to the north and south and it was hot and muggy. I live in the southwest high desert: I don’t mind hot so much but I don’t do muggy. So when I say I wasn’t wearing a gun, just understand that’s because I wasn’t wearing pants.

In fact I was pretty much wearing Caractacus’s uniform when I heard a crash, looked outside and saw like a dozen cattle on a leisurely stroll through the yard, chewing what could be chewed, knocking over what could be knocked over, and shitting on the rest.

A guy could really grow to hate cattle.

I grabbed my cattle-chasing stick…

…and stomped outside, yelling at the top of my lungs. The yelling didn’t make any impression until they got a load of this naked one-legged wildly-gesticulating old lunatic coming at them with a spear, at which point fringe elements of the herd abruptly decided to relocate. I saw that and was encouraged to redouble my efforts, heading right toward what I took to be the center of the herd, half-hidden in the brush…

…and that was when I was informed of my tactical error.

As a matter of policy I avoid situations involving confrontations with breed bulls while I’m on foot. Times two, I suppose, when I’m on foot, naked, and essentially unarmed. I truly hadn’t planned this encounter well at all.

I swear to the gods, this bull had testicles the size of my head. He looked up at the commotion, and just sort of loomed. He wasn’t moving. He wasn’t impressed. In fact he seemed barely interested at all.

Sweartagod I didn’t know the rancher had released any breed bulls. Must have had some earlier misfires or something, I don’t know…

I had a spearhead mounted on a flimsy paint pole. I also had two very distinct mental images, sort of superimposed: The perfectly good rifle leaning against the cabin wall, and this stupid spear penetrating just enough bull muscle to really piss him off, just before the pole shattered.

There was nothing to do but carry on – or at least nothing else occurred to me at the time. I barely dared continue, but I really didn’t dare turn my back on him, retreating to rearm and try again. If I could get him moving he’d keep moving and so would the herd. If I couldn’t, though, I didn’t have much of a Step 2.

So I kept walking and yelling and gesticulating with my silly flimsy stick. And to my everlasting joy he blinked first.

But two things for the future: Reconnoiter, then attack. Also, find somebody with a welding rig because I want a pointy stick based on a nice heavy walled pipe

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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17 Responses to Hooboy. That could have gone badly.

  1. Mark Matis says:

    You REALLY need you at least one of these:

    I realize it might be too soon, but those dogs innately do an excellent job convincing livestock to relocate.

    Although a Jack Russell terror would be a reasonable alternative. One of them could dance around well enough to stay alive, and when he’d get a chance to grab him a mouthful of Rocky Mountain Oysters, well let’s just say Bully wouldn’t be spending much time around your territory no more. Although you might have to explain the fang marks to the cattle dude if they don’t heal before he next sees Bully. But then you could always blame that on them damn bobcats…

  2. Joel says:

    That’s the kind of dog I specifically don’t want. My increasingly sedentary lifestyle would drive a border collie or cattle dog to madness. And cattlemen have carte blanche to shoot cattle-chasing dogs on sight – and do.

  3. Kentucky says:

    Ah, if only this encounter had taken place in front of the game camera . . .

    😉 😉 😉

  4. Dennis says:

    Might consider replacing your stick with an electric cattle prod…one of the long ones.

  5. Joel says:

    Considered that till I researched the price.

  6. Norman says:

    I’ll put in another vote for a long cattle prod because while it may be infinitely more satisfying to administer an ounce or so of non-precious metal at reasonably high velocity, the mark it’ll leave can’t be written off to “bob cat activity” and while having a supermarket meat department right outside your front door may sound attractive, most will decompose before it gets eaten. And, since the Lair isn’t quite bull-proof, associating your place with “not quite as comfortable as elsewhere” instead of “royally pissed off” might be advantageous in the long run.

    Although, just out of curiosity, what is your state’s law on applying self-defense measures against bovines?

  7. Judy says:

    LOL – Kentucky, even if it had happened in front of the game camera bet money, marbles, and chalk Joel wouldn’t show us the film.

    Them Mormons need to get out there for some proselytizing and post-hole digging. You guys need a 5-strand barb wire fences to hold them off of you.

  8. Joel says:

    Norman, if I ever kill a cow, no matter the circumstances, I am responsible at a minimum for its commercial value and probably for criminal penalties as well. If a cow and calf got inside my fence -if I had a fence – and died there I’d owe the rancher for the loss. If I deliberately killed one I’d go to jail. If I felt Quixotic enough to plead self defense I’d need the whole Mormon Tabernacle Choir there as witnesses. And since I’m a gentile they’d probably testify against me anyway.

  9. jabrwok says:

    There’s a sweet-looking prod-on-a-stick on Amazon. Price is just shy of $60.00, so not trivial, but probably within blegging territory.

  10. Joel says:

    Huh. I could be tempted to put that on the wishlist.

  11. Mike says:

    Going up against a bull with nothing but a pseudo spear, man you are a very lucky guy. I suggest that the next time you go to town get a lottery ticket. To paraphrase Otto von Bismarck: “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and one-legged wildly-gesticulating old lunatics.”

  12. “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and one-legged wildly-gesticulating naked old lunatics.” Thanks for the giggle.

  13. terrapod says:

    Posts, insulators, wire and a high voltage low amperage source (some are solar too) and some nails or screws. This would allow you to have a “fence” so to speak. I figure you can scrounge posts and the rest is probably cheap enough if purchased used. Works on horses, should work on bovines.

  14. Mark Matis says:

    Hot fence voltage requirements:

    Do note that electric fences are not necessarily as simple as they seem. Especially since you have calves that can end up rolling under the bottom wire of the fence and then be “trapped” on the other side. Mommy cow can make a mess of a fence in such a case, and if one or more of them get tangled in the wire, you’ve got the same problem as if you shot them.

  15. Zelda says:

    What Kentucky said. There would be a break down the doors demand for that video. And Joel, you would be er….famous.

  16. Buck. says:

    These annoy the shit out of walking beef, they are cheap, ammo is free and reusable:


  17. Anonymous says:

    Working in a heavy fabrication shop as I do, I could whip up a proper pig-sticker for you if you so choose.

    Something akin to one of these… https://tinyurl.com/yb4rp6mk but not quite so fancy.

    Of course you’d have to source a proper haft for it, but I’m thinking a 1″ round pole from a big-box hardware store would suffice.

To the stake with the heretic!