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Short Saturday

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I was headed out to a pond early Saturday morning. There were storms coming that should be hitting about mid-morning. They showed a lot of red and orange in the wide line that was coming through on the weather channel. I thought if I got out early I could have some time and be back before the bad weather hit.

The best laid plans get waylaid at times. I came over the top of a hill and managed not to hit the cow that was in the middle of the road. I think that I missed by less than an inch, but the adrenaline going through my body could influence my judgment just a little bit. Understand that this is 45 minutes before the sun is going to come up. It is still dark at 5:15 am.

I get out of the pickup to see if I can chase the cow back into the field where she belongs. At this point things go down hill very fast and a long ways. Someone left a gate open and there are cows all over the place. This is usually a fairly heavily traveled road, and I worry about someone else hitting one of these cows. I reach back into the pickup and put the hazard lights on. There are no houses for about three miles in any direction, and I don't think I have time to get to one of them and get back before another car comes by.

I planned to have the next car that shows up go to one of the houses and get help. A car should be by in just a few minutes. It was a great plan, except the next car did not come for a long time. I would have had time to go to a house to find someone, but most of the people were gone for the weekend, unknown to me.

I did manage to get several of the cows back into the field. I just moved slowly and they walked away from me for the most part. Got part of the herd near the gate and then went to the other end of the batch and started back. I did this a few times and had most of the cows back into the field. I shut the gate so they could not get out.

Now the real "fun" started. There were another dozen cows out that had been fairly skittish and had not gone with the rest of the cows. I knew by experience that it would be one cow at a time and that I would need something to hold them. I took one of the ropes off the canoe and went to get my first cow. This rope does have a loop in the end of it so I could make a small noose to go around the neck of the cow.

The first one was the easiest, and then it went down hill for the rest. I got the rope on her and led her to the gate. I had to tie her to the post of the gate and chase the other cows back so they did not get out while taking this one in. I am still waiting for another car to come by.

I am leading the third cow down the road when I see a set of headlights coming. It is light enough that he can see what is going on. He opens the gate for me and helps get this cow in.

He has three ropes with him and can toss a lasso so it is fairly easy to get the rest of the cows in. He wanted me to stay there until and county police officer can get there to take my statement. I am not sure that he believed that I did not open the gate.

Thankfully the officer finally shows up and vouches for me. I am free to head for the pond. I can see the clouds building in the west. I know that my time is short, so I leave the canoe on the rack and grab a rod. I get to the pond and get to fish for about 20 minutes before I hear the rumble of thunder.

That is my to signal to leave, for someone who has a lead butt and waves a graphite pole in the air. I would leave even if I was using a boo rod.

I got home and had just enough time to fillet the five fish I had caught. It then poured rain. It was a beautiful sight for folks that are in a drought. We got almost three inches of rain.

Monday night I did get a call from the owner of the cattle, thanking me for getting them back into the field. I may get a few more ponds to fish out of this.

I did a good deed, got a lot of exercise and did manage to wet a line. Hopefully the next trip will leave the cow part out.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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