Carnivore Cattle

by Jake Hershey on December 2, 2012

A fella never knows how things are gonna work out.  I got a call to go work cattle twice this week.  The two days could not have been any more different.  The first day was one of those deals that could have been good or bad, depending on a bunch of unknown factors.  We had to gather, pen, sort and work about 160 head off of a place that was 800 acres.  A lot of work any way you slice it, but the unknown factors are what make the difference.  Those factors are things like the type of country you’re gathering in, the temperament of the cattle, the guys (or gals) you’re working with, the condition of the pens and fences on the place, etc.  It couldn’t have gone any better.  We had plenty of good help, the cattle bunched up easy and were good, the fences and traps and pens were all great, etc.  We started in the morning, stopped to eat a quick bite in between working the cows and calves and were still done by early afternoon.

The second day sounded like it should be a pretty easy deal.  A friend had bought some bucking bred momma cows and calves a few weeks earlier.  He said that he was out of town, but that they were being delivered to the local vet, where he wanted them to get vaccinations, ear tags and their horns tipped.  Then, he wanted me to load them and haul them to their new home.  No problem, or so I thought.  This was on a Saturday, so the vet clinic closed at noon.  The cattle got there at 12:30.  I got there as soon as I could, which was at 12:40, but I figured all I’d have to do was let the vet and his techs do their job.  Wrong again.  The vet wasn’t there.  In fact, nobody was there except for the guy who delivered the cattle (who was on crutches from a recent broken leg incurred while picking up broncs), that guy’s wife and they’re hired hand.  I immediately noticed three things 1)The vet wasn’t there   2)There were more cattle than I was told should be there and 3) There was something different about these cattle.

I soon learned two things 1)The vet had left the vaccinations, etc., for me to work the cattle and 2)They couldn’t get everything sorted off when they loaded them, so we now had to sort off the extras.

No problem.  I jumped over the pipe railing into an alleyway where one of the cows was standing.  As soon as my feet hit the ground, that sucker came charging at me like I was carrying a football and she was a pro linebacker.  I climbed up the fence and looked around.  That’s when I realized that the folks who had brought the cattle had all strategically placed themselves either outside of the pens or above the ground.  That’s also when I realized what that “something different” was about these cattle.  They were carnivorous.  That’s right, meat eating cattle.  They had to be, because for the rest of the day, every single one of them tried to eat me.  As soon as we got the extras sorted off and loaded back onto the trailer they showed up on, the folks that had brought them left.  They said that they had to get home, but I think they didn’t want to get eaten.  That left myself, my crippled wife and my buddy’s wife.  Both these gals are cowgirls, but had no business handling man eating cattle.  So without them, that left me to sort, load, catch in the squeeze chute, vaccinate, tip, ear tag, load into the trailer and haul the meat eating beasts.  My wife and my buddy’s wife were more than willing to help, so I tried to lay out a plan on how we could get it all accomplished.  After being run up the fence a few times, I realized it just wasn’t gonna happen.  There simply wasn’t enough people to work all of the gates, etc.  We ended up loading everything onto the trailer and hauling them to their new home, to be worked another day.

This was a major bummer for me.  Like a lot of cowboys, I hate asking for help, or even admitting that I need it.  But the fact is, there are some things that we just can’t do on our own.  Although I knew everything that needed to be done and how to do it, I couldn’t do it on my own.  I needed the help of others.  We all do from time to time.  The only reason that things went so well working that other set of cattle was because we had plenty of help and we all worked together.  The only reason a much smaller set that was already penned couldn’t get worked was that there wasn’t enough folks working together.

In 1 Corinthians 12, the bible talks about how we all have different gifts that we should use to work together as the body of Christ.  Then there’s the part in Ecclesiastes that talks about two being better than one.

If you’re fiercely independent remember this: You can’t do it all on your own.  God’s word says it.  That means it’s true.  End of story.

And if you still need convincing, I know where there’s a set of carnivore cattle you can try and work by yourself.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands in not quickly broken.

 Ecclesiastes 4:9,12


Jake Hershey 12/2/12

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