December 1, 2015



Once in awhile you run into a deal that you can’t possibly turn down. You know, one of those deals that are too good to be true. So it most likely isn’t. It may be a phone call about winning the lottery. It may be your phone number was chosen randomly and you have won a new TV or siding on your house. It may be that the guys blacktopping the highway have enough left over to do your driveway for almost nothing.
Or you may be having a drink with friends after the cow sale and someone offers to sell you a bull for two dollars. Not two dollars a pound. Not two dollars a hundred. But two dollars! Two dollars for an entire bull!
There was a little catch. The bull was in a relatively inaccessible area on the reservation. The bull was crippled. The bull was on the fight. It would be a challenge.
Shannon and I decided it would be an adventure. At our age, getting up at night to go to the bathroom is an adventure. Let alone going into the wilderness after a mad bull.
The next day, bright and early, about 11, we loaded up and headed north. Since we didn’t know where the bull was, we decided to take 4-wheelers instead of horses. We could spot the bull, determine if he was worth two dollars, and get him the next trip. Just in case, we took a couple of panels, two catch ropes, a halter, and a dart gun with some medication to put him to sleep. Oh yes, and a bale of hay. I figured we could dart him, halter him, tie him to a tree, give him a bale of hay, and get him the next day.
We unloaded, went over a cliff with the 4-wheelers, through a gate, and the search began. I explained to Shannon that if one of us spotted him, to circle your outfit until the other guy saw you. That was an old-time signal to come if you were horseback. Back before radios and cell phones.
By the time I saw Shannon, he said he had worn out the tires on one side of his outfit circling. I guess I should have explained to him that you have to get up on a hill.
He guided me to where he had found the bull. The bull was in bad shape. Not only was he crippled, but also he had gotten tangled up in some barbed wire. He was pretty much harnessed. And the wire had gotten wrapped up in a bulberry thicket. It looked like he had been there a few days. And he was mad!
Shannon was going to cut him loose, and I said, “Leave him! We’ll get the pickup (Shannon’s pickup) and trailer (Shannon’s trailer). Back up against the bull. And load him.”
That sounded simple enough but Shannon was worried about getting the outfit in and out of there. No problem. “You get in the pickup and I will find you a trail. Just follow me.” And he did. He’s not real smart sometimes.
We took a $30,000 pickup and a $15,000 trailer over rocks, hills, and trees. We slid down hills that you would have been nervous riding a horse down. But we got to the bull.
When I threw that mad bull a chunk of second-cutting alfalfa, he decided the human race was good after all. While he was eating we backed up against him, set our panels up around him, threw a little hay in the trailer, cut the wire, and slapped him on the butt. He climbed into the trailer!
Shannon the Coward would not try to go out the same trail I had found him going in. But I found another way out. Oh, I’m not saying it was easy. But I blamed him and his cheap tires for that. We did take down a few small trees. And maybe smudged a little paint on his new trailer.
But, we got the bull.
We called the owner and wanted a brand release so we could sell this bull after he recovered from his ordeal. He informed us that was just bar talk. He couldn’t give us the bull. But he would buy us a drink!
Dang, another deal too good to be true.