Here it is. It's been 4 days now and the thing has had food moved up slowly towards our pasture each day. She eats it and then runs into thick woods. These woods are about 600 acres with some open corn fields. We had a herd dog here this morning for 3= hrs. We would almost get her moving on a slow pace and them she would turn an run the other way. There's nothing to spoke her this way. I don't understand. My wife says it's time to have this 8 mnth old, 400 lb calf down and try another type. This is the one that's red and black angus. oscar you have helped us out sooooooooo much. It's soooooo nice of you and everyone to try to help so far away. But I think my wife is going to go out one more time tom. and thats it... Please any last to do's would be great. Sorry to have gone on and on... James

-- James (, January 15, 2002


Do you know anyone that ropes calves? If you could get a team of ropers in there on good cattle horses, they could get it out and rope it.

If you want calves, I would try Hereford. We have black angus and herefords, and I will take the Herefords any day.

-- beckie (, January 15, 2002.

Borrow a cow, use a lead and stake to keep her in an open pasture, shuffel the calf to within sight and watch the organic cow magnet work.

-- mitch hearn (, January 15, 2002.

put a halter and rope on it, find some hands, a tractor or truck and pull til it's home.

-- Dave (, January 15, 2002.

James, when they go wild like that it's a tough situation. I've seen two cases like that with cattle belonging to two different neighbors, both were Herefords, btw, but I doubt breed makes a big difference. In both cases animals had been delivered to new homes, and almost instantly broke through fences and ran. The first one was an adult cow who travelled miles each day back and forth around the area and was out for months. The others were a herd of six yearlings who ran and were loose most of the winter. Those we did not know where they were except in an area of 6000 acres. One of those heifers was trotting by my place one day and I managed to herd her in with my cows and she stayed with them happily. (The other five animals were discovered dead the next spring where they died of exposure.) The same thing happened with the loose cow: she was trotting by, the owner had had notice where she was, and we got her in with my cows and trucked her home. So my advice is, see if you can steer her to another farm with cows. You never realize how strong the desire to herd is until you see these lone animals move right into a herd of strangers where normally you'd think they'd want to avoid them. They instantly adapt to the herd values , i.e, instantly tame down. Also, I don't know where you live (climate) but there should be no rush about shooting her unless neighbors are having a fit over things or the weather is just too terrible for her to be on her own. From the sounds of things, she's not quite that wild. You know where she is, you can get relatively close, etc. If they really go wild, you couldn't get within a few hundred feet of her without her charging off. I'd give her more chances if you can possibly do it.

Sorry I can't be of more help to you. I wish you luck with her.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, January 15, 2002.

I would suggest don't do any more feeding in the woods. Stake a tame cow out like Mitch suggested but I think overnight would be best as they will probably be together at day break.

-- john hill (, January 15, 2002.

Obviously, you are going to need some help, probably lots of it. Before doing anything drastic, like putting the cow down, call your local sherrif, police department, county constable. Ask for help! Call your local high school and find out the names of people who work 4H projects with the local kids. Call those folks, explain your problem and again, ask for help.

Rural folks help each other! You aren't the first to have a cow get loose and you sure won't be the last. Your job is to get in touch with other local people and once you do, you may well end up with more help at hand than you can even imagine right now.

I've known a local sherrif who called off duty officers, who called their friends and ended up with over 25 people on horseback busy herding loose cattle back where they belonged. The local police department helped me with a horse crazy with colic pain. We helped neighbors down the road from us get 200 chickens back in a pen. People will lend a hand if you can just get to the right people who know how to reach those who can help you.

Loose cattle are dangerous, especially if they decide to amble smack down the middle of the road and someone hits them. Depending on what the law is where you live, you might well find yourself legally responsible for umpteen dollars of damage to a car that hits the cow. Not to mention medical bills if the driver is injured.

Ask for help. I'm sure you will get it. Might take a bit of time, but you will get help.

-- Carol - in Virginia (, January 15, 2002.

Ok here are a couple of suggestions.I have not read the other posts. You can check local vets for someone with a tranq gun and dope it up .Or when my 8 month old angus bull got out {raised in pasture with mama} I ran him down with the truck until he was very tired.Park the vechile by the woods and wait til the cow is up by the feed.Hope you get it back in.

-- Patty {NY State} (, January 15, 2002.

I would recomend NOT calling the Police, Sheriff or Animal Control, if the calf was to damaged someones property or worse yet get hit by an automobile and someone was to get hurt, the Police will contact you and you will be responceible for damages.

I like the idea of using another cow, that might work.

I hope you can get the job done without injury to anyone, including the Calf. I wish I was close I would gladly give you a hand. GOOD LUCK!

-- Mark in N.C. Fla. (, January 15, 2002.

We had a neighbor who's nearly butcher ready stear got loose into a huge open area where a small herd of cow/calf pairs was. It was out there for days unitl several of us with horses chased it down. Most of us did not own "cow horses", but I did have an older mare who had done ranch work all her life...I sorta just hung on for the ride! Another guy that went was a roper & was able to rope the steer, but it was so huge & heavy that it nearly toppled his horse over. Eventually he got the rope around a tree & left the steer there until the owner could come back with the trailer. Then we pushed & prodded the steer into the trailer. I think he was butchered later that week so i can't say if he would have tried to get out again.

-- ellie (, January 15, 2002.

Is there a cattleman association close or maybe you can go to a stockyard and ask who is a member. Sometimes they have a portable corral you can use. Set it up close to where the calf runs in the woods, herd with friends or use the dogs. leave a opening, herd it in. load on hauler right from encloser.lock up in barn for awhile.lexi

-- Lexi Green (, January 15, 2002.

Hi James,

Sounds like she has decided that she is a woodland heifer for the time being. You could probably get her in with the food in a few more days, but there is no sense prolonging this head ache.

Well, it would be a shame to just shoot her. I am not a proponent of calling the sheriff, only because they like to write tickets and when it comes to cattle they like to John Wayne it or play shoot em up and frankly that is plumb dangerous. It does not seem as though this animal is dangerous to others just yet since she is not on the move. Plus in DC you will probably get the helicopter camera going which will really help things along.

Borrowing another cow would be an excellent idea. She is squirrelly more than likely due to the move, weaning, and being alone.

Roping works if you can do it and I have never called the vet for a tranquilizer but I bet it would work. There are lots of ways to get her in if you can halter her...which gives me a crazy cartoonish idea.

Lay a loop or two around the feed, snub the bitter end(s) tightly around a tree or something substantial and snare her little butt when she comes to eat. If it goes around her neck or a foot, you will have a chance of getting a decent purchase on her and then to lead...more like drag her in. She won't be happy about it but she won't be dead either.

Othr than that I say to find someone around you that understands the mind of a lonely heifer and has plenty of cow experience. There are so many great suggestions here already.

I understand the frustration for sure.

If you do shoot her, snipe her like you might a deer, and field dress her right there and you will have something for your effort. Whatever you do, don't shoot her after you run her to hell and gone, or the meat will be much poorer in quality/flavor etc. Scared adrenaline ridden meat tastes scary in my opinion.

Finally, if this experience turns out to leave you with nothing but a bad taste in your mouth and some generally stiff muscles, don't sweat it. Chalk it up to experience and just push forward. Anyone who fools with large animals has a good wreck to tell about. Imagine taking on a couple of pot loads of 300 pound calves to eat the extra spring grass. Imagine just turing them out into the pasture like I did. Imagine the nucleus of an atom blowing up with 250 little protons blasting the heck out of there each on a random path to nowhere. There were 50 that I never got back and I quit looking after about a month. Think about how plumb stupid I felt and the tight finances to remind me of it for a year. I made that mistake after I thought I knew what I was doing. Ah well, the innocence of youth.

The best of luck to you. I admire your venturesome spirit and have no doubt that you are well on your way.


-- Oscar H. Will III (, January 15, 2002.

If she comes to the same place to eat all the time, put some cattle pannels up, make a corral. maybe 2 sides the first day, then make it 3-sided & deeper. should be able to rush the open end when she's eating & keep her in. Strong corner posts, she'll test it! wire it together well.


-- paul (, January 15, 2002.

This has happened to me many many times, with all kinds of critters, and I agree with Carol in VA, the best, fastest, most effecient way to recover a wayward animal is to get lots of help! Your neighbors will likely love to be asked.........its pretty easy to herd most anything with a bunch of experienced animal people. You might make some good friends in the process!

-- Earthmama (, January 15, 2002.

Oscar idea of a snare reminded me when I could not catch a heifer .I put a slip knot in the rope and made a loop.Layed it on the ground and put her favorite food in it {sticky buns} waited for her to start eating , then pulled it towards her back and got her .

-- Patty {NY State} (, January 15, 2002.

At a farm where I used to work we had to catch up a totally wild watusi cow. We did it by snaring her, then wrapping a large cloth tarp around her head so she couldn't see. It wasn't too hard after that to load her into a trailer and ship her out. (Of course, after snaring her and getting close enough to wrap a tarp around that well- horned head, nothing would seem difficult!!!) Good luck.

-- Sheryl in Me (, January 15, 2002.

Just a general comment. When I bring new cattle home they stay in a stout corral for several days, calves longer. The cattle are probably use to being moved around. Calves have to get over that 'momma isn't here anymore' time. If you can get calves to where they will come up to a feed trough with you standing there, chances are they won't run.

Folks who bring new livestock home and turn them out immediately into pasture are pretty well asking for trouble. A guy in the local area brought home 16 yearling steers. Turned them out into a pasture. They immediately headed to the back of the pasture, went through a fence, and basically disappeared. Last year I found a large heifer calf standing by the gate down to the creek. It was only after herding her into my herd I realized she wasn't mine. My neighbor came to look at her and said she wasn't his either. Apparently got out somewhere and wundered down the creek until she saw my herd.

Check to see if there are any horse clubs in your area. They may welcome an opportunity to come practice on your heifer.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, January 16, 2002.

I agree with an earlier post. Have a vet use a tranq gun. Then at least put a rope on her neck (tied to tree, or trailer) if not hobbles as well (if you couldn't get her moved before she was awake). From there it would be a matter of manuvering her (how about a movable pen so you could just push it back to her pen) back to her pen (without hobbles of course).

Good luck


-- animalfarms (, January 16, 2002.

Go after her neanderthal-style and set up a brush and log "funnel" to a corral, then use your friends and neighbors as "beaters" to bang on loud stuff and generally chase her in the general direction of the corral until she goes in. Then throw your spears, jump around, smear yourself with grease and paint hunting symbols on your chest...oooops, not that far back into Neanderthal-hood!

-- Soni (, January 16, 2002.

I have no experience whatsoever with cows....But I've been following your post & I'm just curious how you're doing????? I hope all's well!

-- hmm (, January 16, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ