When I was a boy, my father bought Barzona bull calves, which were nice critters but they did get waspy at times. Their stingers were long white horns as sharp as the tip of a knife.
Now my dad’s place is dang big by anyone’s standards. At that time, it covered some 400 sections of Arizona desert and it’s grown some since.
In that much country, each bull can rule his own little patch of land. No one saw them much. When you did, it was a split-second view of a bull’s head over a catclaw bush before he arrogantly trotted away.
Kinda daring you to follow him, I do believe.
Now there were a few of us boys who didn’t mind a challenge, but not many of us cared for a fight with a bull unless there was good reason. Generally, we just let ’em be.
My father finally decided that one red bull had more than enough years under his belt and needed to be shipped. He had been running around a 40-section pasture (for the city folk out there, 25,600 acres) for about three years. Every time this guy ran into greenhorns, they wisely declined the invite to do battle.
Dad saw this red sucker just a few days before we were set to gather cattle for shipping. When we split up that morning, he told me, “Craig, that red bull is running up in that far corner. If you can get him, I sure want to get him out on that truck.”
My pulse jumped about 20 beats as I thought about the exciting, yet dangerous task.
Sure enough, I found Mr. Red. Unfortunately, he was too much bull for the colt I was on. My pony soon got tired of dodging in his attempt to stay unpunctured, while I was figuring out how to skin this cat.
I knew if I dropped a loop over him I was going to kill my horse, because that bull would call my bluff.
So there we were in a Mexican standoff—with my pride on the line—when a thought hit me.
Out came my Ruger .357 revolver. First, I aimed between his eyes and eared back the hammer. Then I changed my mind and fired a bullet three inches from his skull through the base of his white horn.
Now that had an effect. He hit the ground like I had shot him in the brain.
I at first thought I had killed him, not that I was worried, except for not getting the job done.
But that was not the case. When I got a closer look, I saw that the bullet had punched a hole as straight as if it were drilled right where I had aimed.
I stepped back to see what would happen. After a few seconds, that bull started shaking a little before he finally got on his feet. But I tell you, the fight was out of this feller. He was an outlaw that had found religion.
He took one look at me and turned tail. I followed him at a trot and a lope for about three miles. When we reached the main drive, he knocked cows out of his way until he had bulled into the center of the herd. He stayed there all the way to the shipping pens before finally getting onto the truck.
My dad never did ask me how I got that job done, and I never did tell him.
At least ’til now.