Excerpt From Samuel Moore's Memoirs

 

 

Six different cases came to my notice of the actions of my stock? Can they count? Can they figure out what to do in an emergency?

Well. I have my opinion after seeing their different acts and them repeating them. No, dear reader, I will tell you what I, my wife and my family saw and let you form your own opinion.

I had turned my cattle into the out-range that joined the ranch on the west and they seldom ever came down to the house during the summer as I salted them back there. If they did come, it was because I forgot to salt them on the out-range at the regular time and then they came in a bunch.

One morning my wife came to the barn and said, “There is cow down by the lane gate, bellowing terribly and so mournfully. You better see what is the matter.”

So I went to see. She was scratched over the head and neck badly and had the shell of one horn off and it was bleeding. I could see she had been in a terrible fight with some wild animal. As soon as she saw me she started back toward the out-range; then whirled, bawling all the time; then she started back again and seemed to be trying to tell me to follow her. So I got my horse and started after her. She started for the woods and I stopped six different times to see what she would do. This cow would come back to me and bellow and whirl back up the trail. I followed her two miles across two creeks and at the last creek were great big bear tracks in the mud. Then I knew what she had been fighting and I followed her about 40 rods farther and the cow ran up to her calf—put her nose to it then looked at me and made a low bellow-groan; it was pitiful. I got off the horse and examined the calf. The bear had bitten through its spine and broke its back. This cow never made a move at me when I examined her calf but just watched every move I made. I never had my hand on her except once and that was when I was branding her. There is not a human being who cannot talk who could have done better than this cow to express her wishes and sorrow. She had been in a big fight with the bear—the ground was torn up and the brush was broken down for rods around. She had put up a real fight for her calf and run him off.

I sent word to my father as he had two hound dogs. He joined to professional hunters who had four hounds. They were camping on an adjoining ranch. With the six hounds they struck the bear’s trail and chased it most of the night. He then left the out-range and went into King’s Valley where he was caught in a trap. It was said to have been the biggest bear ever caught in that vicinity.

This experience gave us something to think about. First: Why did the cow come over two miles through a hilly trail to home? Why did she lead me to her calf? Why did she come back time and time again to coax me to follow her? Why didn’t she attack me when I examined he calf?

Well, I have my opinion and you can form yours.

ABOUT SHEEP—

I had around 800 old sheep and 200 lambs and in the summer I would run them in different pastures. By changing then I found the grass grew better as it rested so many days and the sheep like the fresh pasture. So I figured it out I had four different pastures and I would turn them form one to the other pasture every five days. Each pasture had a gate into the farmyard. Out into the other fields I aimed to turn the sheep at 10 o’clock. After the four times turning I forgot that morning and my wife called to me; “You forgot to turn the sheep into the creek pasture but they didn’t forget.” I went to the gate and there were 500 head and all bleating as though they were scolding me for forgetting them.

I watched them and as long as I turned them from one pasture to another they were there at 10 sharp every fifth morning. They remembered the time better than I would and believe me they let me know it by their loud bleating.

How did they do it—tell time of day and count five days for greener pasture? They did this though and it is something for us to figure out—are sheep as dumb as they look? I say, “No!”

CAN CATTLE COUNT—

I have told you about sheep—now can cattle count?

There were thousands of acres of out-range pasture back of our ranch and in the spring I would drive the cattle out to the edge of this tract of land. Then I would salt them on an open spot. The next Sunday I would go up there and salt them about 10 o’clock. The first few weeks I would call them and they would come and get the salt. After a few weeks they would all be there on time. I would go in sight of the salting place during the week but never saw one of the cattle there except Sunday.

At 10 o’clock Sunday they were all there ahead of me. Well, I often wonder how they managed it but somehow they knew to come for their salt.

THE SHEPHERD DOG

We raised a shepherd dog and I do not know how the children happened to name him “Bryan.” He just liked to get into some devilment and he would get over into the hog lot and get hold of a sow’s ear; hang on to it and pull her around and finally the hog’s ears began getting sore because he pulled them so much. I had driven him out of the lot several times but he would watch me and then be at his old trick again.

One day I let a three-year old chesterwhite boar that weighed 300 pounds out of his pen. The first thing he saw was Bryan biting a sow’s ear. He made a run for him and ran right over the dog; rolled him over and over in the mud. You should have seen Bryan pick himself up and go over the fence before the boar could turn around. Oh, oh, you never saw such a looking dog—mud all over him and rolled into his body! As he lit near me on the ground I took one look at him and then I began to laugh and laugh. The dog would walk around me about 10 feet off and keep his head down. He knew I was laughing at him. He would look at me out of one eye; then had his head sidewise. I would say, “Bryan, will you bite any more sow’s ears?” Did he know what I said? Not once did he ever go into that pen again. He surely figured he got punished and it was a place to stay away from.

On Sunday in the year 1902, the clouds hung heavy and low; the air was moist. I could hear a pack of hounds trailing something up in the wooded hills in the out-range. Te air was ideal for trailing and they were making the old woods ring. It reminded me of the old stories I have heard of with the old planters of Old Virginia fox chases. It sort of lapped over the Ohio River into Ohio and father kept a pack of hounds.

Our old farm was situated on the bluff of the Ohio River. We could see into Virginia. We were all in the front room on the Soap Creek ranch in Oregon when my oldest daughter said; “Dad, a deer is going down through the sheep pasture.’ Our house was situated on a point of a hill overlooking the valley. Down the hill walked a big buck deer. He stopped when he saw the sheep and turned and walked through them. Then he saw the cattle. He jumped two fences and went through the cattle. Then he saw the hogs and jumped two more fences and went through them. (This was to lose the hounds by throwing them off his trail.) Then he went to the creek and took a good drink of water; then he trotted up a lane out into a field. Here he stopped and back-tracked about 40 rods and then jumped over into a plowed filed; then he went upon a point about 30 rods from the lane. There he stood and watched the hounds. They came through the sheep. Then over through the cattle; then over into the hog pasture. They ran slowly through the hogs and then struck up his trail up the lane and out into the pasture over the place the deer stopped and back-tracked—the hounds seemed lost. Far behind came an old experienced hound. When he came where the deer stopped he made a large circle; then a smaller one; then one a few rods around the stop of the deer trail. He made sure the deer had not gone beyond where he lost the trail. Down the back trail he went and the pack of hounds with him. The deer stood there watching the hounds and resting.

This old hound knew his stuff; as the pack rushed down the lane the old hound kept to one side and found the deer had jumped over the fence into the plowed field. The deer stood until the pack jumped the fence not 30 rods away. Then he turned and loped back toward the out-range.

The family and I stood there and saw the whole performance like looking at a panorama view. The deer knew his stuff and so did the old hound he would go clear around the herd of stock then—he always found the trail.

COWS AND HORSES

I had eight horses and each had its own stall. I would unhitch them, turn them loose, and they would go to the creek get a drink of water, then got to the barn to their own stall. Seldom ever did they make a mistake. A dairyman said he had over 40 cows and a stanchion for each one—all just alike—and after a few days a cow seldom missed her stanchion.

I have tried to tell about six instances where animals used their heads, or what would you call it. I will say that I got a lot of pleasure with my farm animals. I would speak to them and I know they liked to be noticed.

 

THE END

 


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