"This one will do to watch,” Harold stated as the red bull made his third lap around the corral before loading into the trailer with his two buddies.
 “He sure is fast,” I commented.
“I like to describe him as structurally sound with great ease of movement,” Harold replied wryly as I slammed the door shut on the trailer and wrote out the check for the purchase of three good, young bulls two years ago.
In conversations with Harold since the purchase, he confessed that he may have “inadvertently” contributed to the bull’s personality.  It seems that the red bull became more than a little obnoxious at the feed trough and charged him early one morning.  Harold grabbed the closest weapon he could (a loose, five-foot long, oak 2×4) and used it in self defense across the forehead of the young herd sire prospect.  “He hasn’t really liked people, since,” admitted the former owner.
I could sense problems the first winter I owned him.  While the other bulls came to the trough as soon as I entered the field, the red bull would stand off at a distance until I left.  
As soon as I left and closed the gate, he would run over and butt the others away until he was full.  If I made any re-entry in order to allow the others to eat, “old red” would make sure I realized, too, that HE was in charge of this pasture.
That spring, about a month before I usually distribute bulls to their appointed cows, old red jumped the fence to join a lovely herd of females.  After several vain attempts to get him back with the bulls, I decided that was the bunch of cows I had planned to put him with anyway.  Calving started in January instead of February at the farm that year.
That first year, when the cowboys came to work cattle, the red bull made an unexpected exit into the hayfield while everything else went where they were driven.  He missed his worming, shots, and still has no brand.  I didn’t even get him back in the bull pasture last fall—he simply jumped back in when he realized the bulls were back and receiving grain each day.  He didn’t even tear the fence up when he returned, so I assume we can add “jumping ability” to speed and agility.
Quite by accident, I captured him this spring during the bull gathering, although it did take the dog and me about an hour to load him into the trailer.  He didn’t damage the trailer too bad, and I did consider taking him straight to the auction then, but his first calves were really great, so I gambled on one more year.
I unloaded him on May 1 with a new set of cows at the creek farm.  By the middle of June he had most of the cows bred and decided to take up residence across the creek at my neighbor’s farm.  Between my neighbor and me, we’ve run him back across the creek and over the fence at least six times.  I have personally used an entire box of shotgun shells trying to reinforce, in his mind, where he belongs.  He’s always back at the neighbors by the next morning, fence intact.
Even though the neighbor assures me it’s not a problem for the bull to be on his place (I did summer a cow-calf pair for him all last year), I just can’t stand to have a bull that I can’t control.  
However, it wasn’t until I discovered a couple of open cows at that particular farm that made me make a call to the cowboys.  They assured me that there had never been a bull born that they couldn’t catch and load.  They’ll be here this week.
I can put up with a bull that’s mean.  I can even put up with a bull that doesn’t respect fences—for a little while.  But what I can’t put up with is a bull that prefers to hang out with his new buddies rather than pick up chicks.
If all goes well, he should be processed and packaged by this time next week.
Jerry Crownover farms in Lawrence County. He is a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University, and is an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry about his books, or to arrange speaking engagements, go to www.ozarksfn.com and click on 'Contact Us.'


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