Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Deer Wrangler

Bear with me, it is an interesting story. One of which I forgot until I was in Argentina in November.

We were dining before a tango show and one of the gals at my table decided to begin the dinner/drink conversation with this question: "We've spent seven months together in class and traveled to Argentina as a group; what is one thing other participants don't know about you?"

For as boggled as my classmates appeared to be by the challenge, they sure offered up some incredible stories: 
1. As a young gal, one woman found a bear drinking fresh milk out of the can that her cows had just filled, so she got a gun and shot the bear...which proceeded to run around the Minnesota countryside with a metal milk can stuck on it's head. 
2. One guy was a hired man on a ranch in Texas where a triple-murder took place. He had to testify, then went on to help arrest the killer....who happened to be another ranch hand at that time. 
3. Me? I only tackled a deer. 

I was thirteen years old when a stray deer decided to jump into Momma and Dad's herd. And let me tell you: Cattle don't take too kindly to rigid, awkward visitors. 
In fact, when this particular deer jumped the fence and joined the BSG crew, it chased our animals and scared the cattle greatly - causing them to find any way out: Over or through fence. 

Since I was small, cattle getting out has sent me into complete shock. Crying, puking, shaking - no matter if I'm 13 or 30 - my reaction is the same: Bad. 

Darn that random deer, shaking up my world that day. And the thing about deer: they never really slow down. 
The deer ran. 
Across pastures. 
Over fences. 
Along borders. 
Until finally, Dad and brother Luke corralled it onto the feedlot floor. 

It was a scrappy thing, ramming and jamming into the red gate at the south end of the feedlot floor. The deer really wanted out of the situation (as did I), but seemed to have lost all sense (as did I). It repeatedly ran full force into red metal gates that were going nowhere. What an idiot. 

Luke and Dad were lined up one behind one another, preparing (kind of) for the deer's next move. 
Momma and I stood at the end of the feedlot floor, as spectators next to the barn. I wasn't the best spectator; my head was yakking between my knees. 

Below, a true-to-life sketch of the layout just before running. 
The deer (brown stick deer) is by the red gate between the south silos. 
Luke is the first green X. 
Dad, the second. 
Momma and I are to the left, by the barn. 

Back to me with my head between my knees: Suddenly, the deer calmed down a bit, as if scheming. Breathing. Preparing. 

And he turned around. 

The deer charged full steam ahead, northbound, head down, towards Luke and Dad. The hooves scrapped across the concrete bottom. Scampering. Scuffing. Speeding. 

Luke leaped towards the deer - missed him. 

Seconds later Dad did the same - and the deer flew by him, too. 

At this point in the day, I was frustrated, scared, freaked out, sick, confused, and mostly just flat out MAD
This deer was the reason that our cows were out all over the farm. 
I decided to take matters into my own hands. 

I stepped out in front of the the raging reindeer, grabbed the SOB by it's belly and took it down, rolling the animal on top of me. He was such an angry little elf carrier. It's legs flailed aimlessly (actually, he was trying to kill) and it's razor sharp hooves whipped around like knives. 

 I held the Edward Scissor Hands Jerk as close to me as I could while Luke yelled out, "Hold on to him, Jeany! I'm going to go get a halter!"
Yeah, thanks Luke. Least you could do. Literally: The. Least. You. Could. Do. 

I managed to hold the deer as tightly as I could onto my chest until Luke and Dad took him off my hands. They tied him up and - because he had an identification tag - called the DNR. When the officer arrived he gave me some long speech about how I should have never tackled the deer, how people die from getting cut by their hooves, what a risky decision it was, blah blah blah. I must have given the guy a really bad look looking during his dissertation because Momma squeezed my arm really hard.  

Much to my dismay, I was then known as "The Deer Wrangler" in places far and near. I just wanted to be a prom queen. 

Seventeen years later (wow), it is strange how I remember it all so vividly. I remember punching the deer once before they loaded him onto the trailer. Hateful? Maybe. But hell hath no fury like a thirteen year-old-gal who despises anything which causes the cattle to get out. 

Weeks ago, while I was in Argentina Cody left a gate unchained overnight and woke to a woman pounding on the front door, letting him know that there was a cow grazing in the front yard. 

"Yeah," he said - in his calm, cool, collected, Cody tone. "It was one of those mornings when it was a good thing you were countries away."

I nervously laughed as I sat in my Rosario hotel room, envisioning the entire event. He was totally right: No one wants to see a gal flat tackle her husband because he was the reason that the cows roamed boundlessly. 

But then again, 
maybe that comes in year three?

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