Baxter Black: On The Edge of Common Sense 8-27-12
August 27, 2012
Jerry had what was called a suspect herd. His next-door neighbors had Brucellosis problems and since Jerry shared a common fence, he too, was required to be tested. The neighbors sold out and let the land set the requisite time. Meanwhile, Jerry brought in 20 half-Gertrudis heifers to his place. He evaluated them and concluded two out of three had no brain.
The government showed up to test them. They insisted on using their clanging banging government-issue head catch, instead of what the cattle were used to. Thus a riot ensued in which all twenty crashed through four fences and three farms and crossed the Flint River. Two of the half-breeds were never found!
Six months went by. The neighbor restocked with Red Angus cows and a bull. Jerry continued to cruise the county in his spare time searching for his prodigal heifers and, sure enuf, one afternoon he saw one amidst the neighboring Red Angus! She must have found her way back and blended right in. Jerry called his neighbors, two older brothers who ran a tight ship and were proud of their operation. He explained about locating his heifer and asked if he could saddle up and cut her out. "Nope," said the brothers, "No, horses. Don't want no horses stirrin' up our cattle."
"How 'bout a tranquilizer dart gun?" asked Jerry.
"Okay, but don't you be trompin' around our pasture chasin' dem cattle. You can shoot from a fence and we'll carry her over in a bucket loader."
Jerry went to his local vet who outfitted him with a tranquilizer gun. He loaded the dart and gave Jerry the .22 caliber blank cartridge, and verbal instructions. The blank pushes the dart out of the barrel and a plunger injects the tranquilizer upon impact. For the next three weeks he did "drive-bys" morning and night in search of a clean shot at the heifer. He carried the weapon in his truck.
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One evening after teaching his 6th grade class, he drove by the pasture. There she lay under a tree chewing her cud! He pulled off the road, slipped on his coveralls, cradled the rifle in his arms and, army-style, did a low crawl like a sniper through the swamp grass and mud. Reaching the fence he observed, once again, how well the brothers built their fences; galvanized woven panels with a strand of barb wire both top and bottom. He never figured they would have put a hot wire on the inside. That was overkill. Retaining his prone position, he stealthily pushed the barrel of his tranquilizer gun through the fence. Well, he was wrong about them seeing no need to add hot wire.
Being well-grounded he made contact; gun barrel to hot wire. A jolt shot through his body so hard his porch light came on! Even with his soles on fire and his body buzzing like chain saw, he was determined. He slithered in the mud, limped and took his best shot. Unfortunately, the wadding in the blank had been exposed to the humid air so long, when he pulled the trigger, it puffed, popped out about 8 feet and nosed-dived into a hubcap sized cow-pie. The dart poofed daintily and injected 2cc of Rompun intrapoopily.
"That's how we do it in Tennessee," he said. ❖
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