I got caught with my pants down. Hate when that happens. Stumbling along up the hill on my beaten path with the morning sun in my eyes, the coffee tank only half full, I heard the drumming of hooves. Cattle, stupid as they are, were at least more awake than I was and I was practically in the middle of a herd of the damned things.
Can’t even say I didn’t see it coming. It’s practically the middle of March, and a warm March at that. A few cattle have wandered into our neck of the boonies, it was inevitable and indeed possibly overdue that the cattlemen would drive a whole herd into my yard.
And yup; there’s a half-grown calf. Cow with a calf like that is ready to be bred. And that’s the problem, of course. Cows don’t scare me. Cows, stupid as they are, have sense enough to run. But the purpose of these herdings is to make spring calves. And to make a baby cow you need a mama cow and a daddy cow. The daddy cows do not run. At least, it’s not their first choice. Being caught afoot with a daddy cow is a problem.
Here’s something I thought was really cool: Last January I had a houseguest, a friend of the blog. And he brought a gift of condiments and booze and ammo, the hermit’s friends. But he brought a second gift – more ammo – from another friend of the blog who wasn’t such a traveler. And this ammo, quite out of the blue, was Russian hardball practice ammo for the Makarov. I’m back to carrying the Mak since messing up my shoulder again several days ago, and as usual the magazines are loaded with expensive Hornady Super Explody 2000 rounds it would be a sin to expend as mere noisemakers. Now I will reload my belt mag with some of the last of that hardball, which I can expend for non-lifesaving purposes without shedding too many tears.
It doesn’t always work: The cattle are more impressed by Little Bear than they are by gunfire, and bulls aren’t usually impressed by either. Of course it would only be in an extreme case of the better-tried-by-twelve-than-carried-by-six variety that I would ever shoot a bull. Heaven forbid. In this state I’d get in less trouble burning down the county courthouse than harming a bull in ‘open range’ country, even on my own porch. They quite literally have more legal rights than I do. But sometimes they’ll move faster to avoid the annoying noise, and I swear that if I die of a goring the bull that does it will have some new holes in him, too.
You know what actually works better than a gun? I can’t really defend this, but I swear it’s true…
Don’t ask me to explain it. Maybe it’s just that they know what a big stick can do, but can’t see the threat in a gun. But a cow or bull who’d normally debate your right of passage will run like their fur’s on fire at the sight of a spear. I came up with this last June, and while walking with a long leash in one hand and a spear-headed walking stick in the other is kind of a pain in the ass, I’m gonna dust it off and start bringing it on walkies again. Because it actually works.