October 31, 2012

Insane Muster

I’ve said all along that I like mustering but our muster last Friday would have to rank as the best experience yet.

We had a very large (700 kg+), aggressive (and not very productive) bull roaming around CAMBREN for several months. Needing to get him to market, we managed to put him with our first-calf heifers for a few days. Last Thursday we set off to muster them all into the yards so that we could take the bull to sale and give the rest a vitamin B shot.

Well, that was the beginning of a very long day. That naughty bull must have been up to some mischief. We don’t know exactly what he did but whatever it was, he gave our two young bulls a very big scare. So much so that they pushed through the fence in several places into the large paddock next door called Back Hops (with a horde of compliant heifers in tow) to escape him. What should have taken only a morning to do, took us all day and we still had to return the next day to push the herd back to their “home” in Hops (without the naughty bull who was by then in the yards at Spring Creek).

I had been unsuccessful running down one of the young bulls in Back Hops the day before, so we decided to get him together.

That’s when the fun really started …

I managed to find him close to the back boundary … and so the chase began. Our normally lumbering sedate young bull (son of Ramesees who we used to pat on the head) had turned into a terrified charging beast. But I was on his tail, tearing across the Traprock, leaping logs and rocks in chase. Smart young bull that he was, he took for the heavier country and had me bush bashing though thick Peach and Rosemary. I laid a significant trail behind me, I have no doubt. But I had no time to look back. I had to keep that bull insight. I was in full chase.

Somehow I managed to steer him towards our goal – the gate into Hops (where he was supposed to be). Whether that was by good fortune or my skillful mustering ability, it’s difficult to say, but I prefer to believe the latter.

Chris joined me, thank goodness, just as he disappeared into a heavily timbered forest where neither the quad nor the two-wheeler could go. But he didn’t take off, he just stood and watched us … and waited.

And so the next part of the chase began …

Chris, on foot, managed to steer him out of the forest (the stock don’t really like forests) and from there we were either on our bikes fighting the throttle to keep pace, or on foot pushing him out of gullies or stacks but all the while working to steer him towards the fence (a great way to stop a running bull). In such a chase you loose track of where you are, especially in such a large paddock but we knew we were heading generally towards the fence. Once against the fence, it is always easier to push the stock in the direction you want.

It seemed to take forever to find that fence. But finally we came upon it and No. 99 stopped short and began a more gentle stroll towards the gate … he must have been buggered after all that running! We didn’t quite make it to the gate before he pushed through a weak spot in the fence but he was finally in Hops – where he was supposed to be. I eased my hand off the throttle, pulled up the quad and sat back feeling very satisfied as I stilled the adrenalin flow.

We got him!

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