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On the Edge of Common Sense: Jumper

Contributed by Baxter Black Published on 24 August 2017

Betty said her dad had a bull that kept jumpin’ the fence. She wondered if I knew any surefire cures for fence-jumpin’ bulls. I asked her what they’d tried already.

“Well,” she said, “One of Fred’s friends (Fred was her dad) suggested tyin’ a chain to the ring in his nose. So Dad did: a 10-foot log chain. Didn’t faze him. That bull could stand flat-footed and jump a five-wire fence.

“Dad improved on the idea by wiring a 10-pound window weight to the end of the chain.”

“How did that work?” I asked.

“No better,” she answered, “But it made him easier to track. Dad revised the idea by replacing the window weight with a gunny sack. The bull still jumped the fence, but the sack hung up in the bob wire. At least they could find him the next mornin’.”

Maybe, I thought to myself, we’re hangin’ the weight a little far forward. “So,” I asked Betty, “What kinda bull is it?”

“Purebred Angus. Modern breeding, big and tall. I don’t know his registered name, but Dad calls him Jumper.”

“Did you try one of those old-fashioned yokes?” I asked, remembering how we kept the milk cow from poking her head too far through a fence.

“That would sure make our cows uncomfortable when he went to breed one,” she pointed out. “In all fairness, the neighbors don’t object too much. He’s a pretty good bull.”

“Hmmm,” I said, “You might could take advantage of that. If he’s not breedin’ your cows, maybe Fred could make a little off him when he’s ‘on the road’ so to speak.”

“Like what?’ she asked, her ears perkin’ up.

“How ’bout a sign on his side advertising Fred’s Mobile All-Natural Insemination Service. ‘If you see this bull breeding your cow, please call BR 549 Covington, Oklahoma.’”

“I doubt it,” said Betty, shakin’ her head, “I’m afraid he’s destined to be meatloaf if Dad can’t keep him home.”

“But what if Jumper finds out your intentions and escapes for good?” I asked.

“You don’t know my dad. He’d find him eventually. He’d put out an APB. Then, some mornin’, I’d be settin’ at the breakfast table in a stupor reading the label on a milk carton – and there he’d be.

Beneath his photograph would read: If you see this bull draggin’ a 10-foot log chain in his nose, please call this number. He answers to the name Jumper.”  end mark