We discover that an XT1 makes a poor defense against a charging Highland bull
Yesterday's run took Chase and me past the wood duck pond. It looks much different in the early spring than in the summer, when the duckweed covers every inch. Now, you can actually see water. No wood duck babies yet, but the duck houses are occupied and we are hoping!
We headed out toward the big lake, where Chase locked up on point from the shore, having scented some mallard ducks way out on the water.
Knowing the outcome, I released Chase to go “get” the ducks. As usual, he swam after them for a few hundred yards in the ice cold water, chugging along for all he was worth, while the ducks leisurely stayed just out of reach. Eventually he gave up and swam back to shore. The score remains: ducks – 10,000; Chase 0.
He had a good shake to recover from the loss of prestige - AAAHHHH!
We headed back into farm country and away from the lake. I was carrying my little .221 rifle because I am supposed to shoot groundhogs in the spring and summer as a sort of price of admission to use the land. With Chase coursing ahead of me, the chances of a groundhog being dumb enough to stay out of his hole to be shot at are next to nil. As usual, the rifle was mostly for show in case the farmers came along and the camera got the work out. The rifle was slung over my shoulder as our day's adventures proceeded.
We went to a new area and discovered some cattle that I think are Scottish Highland cattle kept as hobby critters. They are really cool looking animals, especially the ones with the long reddish hair. As I was trying to get some pics of the pretty reddish colored cattle, a couple black versions came up to me. So, I switched subjects and took advantage of the opportunity to get a close shot of these guys:
Suddenly the big one put his head down and started grunting and pawing the ground, getting closer and getting ready to charge (you can see the dirt flying on one of the pics)! Oops! I made a BIG mistake and didn’t check for an intact bull before going into the field. Back when I was a kid, most farmers kept intact bulls and I learned (the hard way, of course) to carefully check a field before hopping over the fence. For the past 40 plus years, most farmers no longer keep intact bulls. Artificial insemination is much better and less expensive for many reasons, plus there’s a big safety factor. So, I have gotten out of the habit of approaching unknown cattle carefully. I realized, way too late, that this big black fellow was an intact bull and he didn’t like me sticking my steenkin’ little camera in his face one bit!!!
ACK! It was a long way to the fence and my days of agilely hopping over fences are gone. I had the little rifle, but I didn’t REALLY want to shoot someone’s prize bull that I had been stupid enough to annoy and besides it would have probably just made him mad unless I could put the bullet in his eye or ear. He was moving way too fast for that. I thought about giving him a bash on the head with my wonderful new TX1 and decided I didn’t want to do that either - I like the camera too much. So, I did the only sensible thing and ran for it – the fence was in rather bad shape, so I was able to clear it in one bound (to the extent a 67 year old man can “bound”).
I while running, that there was no small, brave brown and white bird dog who was rushing in to sacrifice himself to save his master, like in the movies. Mrs. Chase didn't have any dumb puppies!!
Obviously, I made it or I wouldn't be posting these images. Afterward, the bull was so unhappy about having let his slow, stupid prey slip through his fingers (er... horns) that he took it out on his female companion - beat her up pretty good.
I felt sorry for her, but since she outweighed me by at least half a ton, I figured she was better able to take the hit.
As always, thanks for looking. Chase and I hope you enjoyed coming along.
Nice images and great story, Birddogman! Were I to find myself in your position, I imagine the story ending with me tangled in barbed wire, probably inverted, and severely gored.
I live in Central Oregon near lots of cattle ranches. The cattle are usually behind barbed wire fences—but not always. Last year, a colleague of mine was driving down the highway in his large red minivan when he approached a small group of cattle grazing along the outside of the fence. Before he knew it, a large bull emerged from the group and came charging at the side of his van. The thing caved in the drivers side of the van, shattered nearly all the windows, and, in the process, knocked itself unconscious. His experience has changed the way I view bulls—and stories like yours.
Gush that sounded close! Keep the stories (and photos) coming.
Fuji XE-2, Canon FD 300 4L, Fuji 55-200, Fuji 56 1.2, Fuji 27 2.8, Fuji 23 1.4, Fuji 14 2.8, Bower 8 2.8
I doubt you missed that info since it was not there. To me, the story and the images are much more important than the tools, but I guess this is a gear BB. Looking at the EXIF should get you close.
My off-season field kit generally consists of the camera body and three zooms - the 10-24mm, the 18-55mm and the 55-200mm - all carried in a small Domke F-5XB courier type shoulder bag. I generally leave the primes at home, but will sometimes substitute the 56mm F1.2 for the 18-55 if I have a narrow DOF shot in mind. As I recall, I used the 10-24mm on the wood duck pond, the 18-55mm for the shot of Chase on point and the rifle by the creek; and the 55-200 for all the others.
I love reading/seeing your adventures and rambles! You should really compile them into a book. It would be a good seller, I'd think. I always look for your posts.
You are obviously a fit, agile, young 67.
Cool pictures and funny story. You gave me a good laugh.
I just imagined you running, one hand on your hat in the other the swinging camera, always looking over your shoulder and then tumbling over the fence with an expression of big relief on your face ...