Like so many things, I had to learn by doing. I was unprepared for dealing with cattle. Soon after the cattle had been delivered, the bull turned up with a bad sore on his hip. That Saturday I went into Kallison’s Farm Store, and asked the guy there about the sore. “Your bull has screw worms,” was his response. I asked what that was and what did I have to do about it. He said it would only get worse if you don’t take care of it. You have to dig those worms out of that wound and put this black tar looking medicine into the wound. He said, just put him in your squeeze chute, and get busy. I respond, “I don’t have a squeeze chute.” He then said, “Well just rope him, and snub him up against a post and then doctor him.” I hated to tell him that I didn’t have a rope but I swallowed and then gave him the truth. He sort of wagged his head and sold me a new rope and the medicine. Then he sent me on my way, and wished me well.
I headed out to the farm and approached my bull with the rope. I’m sure he thought, “What do you think you are going to do with that?” After several tries, I finally got the bull roped around the neck and then I had another revelation. I had a 1600-pound animal on one end of that rope and me on the other. Not good! If you have almost a ton of bull trotting off to the east with your rope around his neck and you are on the other end of the rope you might as well recognize that you are going to be heading east, too. The bull starts trotting off, with me trotting along beside him, and then he begins to lope faster. I could tell right off I would have a big problem if he broke into a run.
This was one of those times in my life when I realized that you should think and then act, not the other way around. I see an electric pole coming up, and run as fast as I can to get to the pole before he does. I wrap the rope around that post about three times, but by that time, he goes beyond it, and hits the end of the rope. He has his head down with his nose close to the ground while he is lumbering along, and when he hits the end of that rope it throws him all the way over, and he lands on his back. He just lies there and I walk over thinking, “I done killed my bull.” He looks up at me and kind of rolls his eyes, probably thinking, “How did he do that?” Finally he struggles to his feet. I quickly take up the slack while he is clearing his head and snub him to the post. I then proceed to doctor him. Not a fun job cleaning out an open wound full of worms with him yelling and kicking. The hole in his hip was big enough to place a baseball in. After cleaning it out real good I loaded it up with that tar like medicine I had bought at the farm store. In a few weeks his wound had healed up good as new.
Photo of squeeze chute found here.
Photo of man next to bull found here.