Put 'er down

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boondocks

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Had to field-kill our first cow today. She was a pretty friendly cow (age 3) until a few weeks ago, when we tried to run her through the chute (along with the others) for vaccinations. She got flighty and busted out a fence. She was in heat at the time so we were annoyed but figured she'd chill. Tried to catch her a few days ago and she pulled the same trick only worse (busted through one fence, landed in the water tank and broke it, got up and ran through a second fence. Almost took us with her).

Here's the weird thing. 3 guys met me to do the deed early this am. All experienced lifelong hunters; one is a cop (who's butchered every animal known) and one is the actual butcher. It took five (!!!!!) direct shots to the head at point blank range. Butcher said he'd never seen anything like it; so did the cop. She was walking around like it was a Nerf gun after 3 shots, slowed down a bit after the fourth, and fell after 5. They were all slack-jawed.

It didn't bother me that much; mostly I am glad we got her gone before she hurt someone. She left us no choice so my conscience is clean. (So, why do I feel a bit....somber?).
When I went to check on the rest of the herd this eve, they are all watching me very warily (as they witnessed the dirty deed; couldn't be helped). Will this make them more skittish, or will they forget about it? We don't treat them as pets but do spend time around them, breed for temperament and have been complimented several times lately (by folks who are real cow people) on our herd's docility. I really hope this one stupid cow hasn't hosed up just more than herself.....Will they get over witnesssing their herdmate shot right next to them, leaving blood on ground, 5 loud shots etc? If I'd known it would take that many, I might have tried to shoo some of them away. But then again, she might've bolted...When you have to field-cull for disposition, how do you do it without risking "turning" the more easy-going ones into new squirrelly ones?
 

Caustic Burno

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Her kind is the very reason I have a rat trap. Pen, trailer check and bye.
Put on a trailer get a check and let Lone Star turn her into Wolf Brand Chili.
This is where good infrastructure pays dividends.
 

Bright Raven

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Boondocks,

I have hunted almost everything including two cape buffalo and an elephant. I hammered the elephant through the brain and she went down like a lead balloon.

I got to tell you. They did not know what they were doing. The brain of a cow like most ungulates is higher in the cranium, if you launch a projectile through the brain - game over!!!

I got to think they were not hitting the brain. THERE IS SIMPLY NO WAY AN ANIMAL SUSTAINS A BRAIN SHOT AND KEEPS GOING.
 

Bright Raven

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callmefence":25wsp3zq said:
That sucks
A cows brain is small compared to it's head and easy to miss if you don't know where.
My boys would have caught her and hauled her to town. Split the check with you.

Exactly! When I was growing up, I was the executioner! I lived all summer with a rifle in my hands. Anyone who had an animal to put down called my dad and dad sent me to do the dirty deed. I have shot everything from dogs to horses. When you shoot a horse, draw an X, from left ear to right eye and right ear to left eye. Aim right at the center of the X. I used a 22 rim fire and they went down like they were poleaxed.
 

Bright Raven

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I saw CB's post. We are both on the same page. It is not profound. I don't care if the guy was a cop and the other was a butcher, they were not hitting the brain or the cow would have IMMEDIATELY gone down. There are simply no exceptions.
 

Lazy M

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With the sudden change in temperament I'd be a little concerned about anaplasmosis..
 

TCRanch

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Anaplasmosis was my first thought as well. Your sharp shooters must have hit the sinus cavity. Few years ago our neighbors had a bull that was mean as they come, a jumper and a traveler. Tracked him 3 miles away from his pen in another neighbors pasture and decided to end it. Shot him twice between the eyes with a 30-06 and that bull not only took off, he jumped a total of 4 fences & ran 1.5 miles before he made it to our place - and got away. Another neighbor called us a few days later, said he had a bull in his yard that was bleeding from the head (and subsequently ended it with an elephant gun).

Having said that, I had a cow with lymphoma and went out numerous times to put her down but just couldn't do it with the herd all around & her calf right there. So I totally understand! Fortunately (?) my girl spared me the drama.
 

Workinonit Farm

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Where I used to work, one of the bulls had sustained a broken rear leg, during a fight. Unfortunately, it caused the bull to be mean as he77, so the assistant herdsman was obliged to get the rifle, and "git 'er done". Well, each time he put a bullet into that bull, he dropped like a rock............. then got back up. It took him about 4 shots. Clearly the 1st three missed the brain. He was using a 30-30.

So yes, I've seen this happen before.
 

Lazy M

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Bright Raven":3nvm143t said:
callmefence":3nvm143t said:
That sucks
A cows brain is small compared to it's head and easy to miss if you don't know where.
My boys would have caught her and hauled her to town. Split the check with you.

Exactly! When I was growing up, I was the executioner! I lived all summer with a rifle in my hands. Anyone who had an animal to put down called my dad and dad sent me to do the dirty deed. I have shot everything from dogs to horses. When you shoot a horse, draw an X, from left ear to right eye and right ear to left eye. Aim right at the center of the X. I used a 22 rim fire and they went down like they were poleaxed.
22 LR is the gun to use regardless. From a decent range the round has enough velocity to penetrate and then bounces around instead of exiting. Even if you don't get a perfect shot, the round will still scramble their brains
 

farmerjan

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A little late in the season but Rabies? Have had several cases here in Va the last few years and everytime it has turned out they tested positive for rabies.
I have had to shoot a few and found that I had to put the round higher in their head than what I first thought. When I can get close enough I have put it in the side of the head and it seems to work better for me. And I usually use a 22 LR also.

Give them a little time, and some grain treats, and they will hopefully calm down
 

Rafter S

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To answer your question about the rest of your cattle, as long as that cows behavior was an isolated incident and not the result of a contagious disease, they should be fine. The unusual activity may have them more nervous than usual for a little while, but they should settle down.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I agree with Rafter. The cattle don't associate with the fact that you KILLED their herdmate. They would get riled up over the commotion, but they should settle right down.
I don't think we have anaplasmosis in NY??? I believe it is more southern.
 
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boondocks

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Thanks for all the input. I do think they were aiming generally in the right spot (all of them have dropped many a cow on the first shot. Heck the butcher does it day in and out. I hear what ya'll are saying but this is a guy that surely knows where to put a shot??? The whole thing is weird.). The animal was standing still and the gun was literally nearly touching her. (Can you get TOO close???). Maybe her brain was pea-sized...
To set the stage more fully (I didn't want the original background to be too long), we had put a CIDR in her then couldn't get her in the barn to get it out. (As mentioned, she went thru fence when we tried to get her in). Vet came out and it took 5 darts of rompum to get her dopey enough to where we could walk up and pull it out. (Even then she didn't lay down). She didn't run away, or get aggressive; would just walk away calmly and not let us get quiiiiiite close enough to yank it out. The vet said she'd given her enough tranq to have performed general surgery on her, or to put down a large bull. Vet said she'd likely chill back out (she'd always been a good, calm cow) so we figured it was a heat-related phase and she'd soon be back to her usual self.
Re potential illnesses, she didn't seem ill at all. Good appetite, had just been seen by vet. I don't think ana is seen much if at all in NY, and they're vaccinated for rabies. Also, when we weren't trying to get her in the barn, she was still perfectly fine. Would not run away, even stood for a small pat, her usual self...She just got a bee in her bonnet about the barn (which led to a bullet in her bonnet, or five). Unfortunate. AI sire is supposedly high docility, of course!
 

dun

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Some years ago we had a heifer that raised twins, she was always calm and you could do anything with her or the calves. The day we weaned the calves she went nuts. Tore up equipment dam near put me in the hospital ran through or climbed over pipe corrals, went through fences, you get the idea. The pasture she was in was some distance from the house. Any time she heard a voice she would take off and run through/over anything in from of her. Finally got her (after a month) to the point that when we wen out and put out gran, by then she was in with a big old pet cow that we used to calm down calves and stockers we bought it. When we pulled up she wwould duck behind the barn and in a couple of minutes would peer around the corner of the bran. I dropped the butcher off and drove away, when she peaked round the corner he dropped her on the spot. The tame cow walked over to see why she was kicking then went over to the trough and started eating grain. Left the tame cow in the pen while the other cow was processed and she never should any signs of being concerned or nervous.
 
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boondocks

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dun":239vv236 said:
Some years ago we had a heifer that raised twins, she was always calm and you could do anything with her or the calves. The day we weaned the calves she went nuts. Tore up equipment dam near put me in the hospital ran through or climbed over pipe corrals, went through fences, you get the idea. The pasture she was in was some distance from the house. Any time she heard a voice she would take off and run through/over anything in from of her. Finally got her (after a month) to the point that when we wen out and put out gran, by then she was in with a big old pet cow that we used to calm down calves and stockers we bought it. When we pulled up she wwould duck behind the barn and in a couple of minutes would peer around the corner of the bran. I dropped the butcher off and drove away, when she peaked round the corner he dropped her on the spot. The tame cow walked over to see why she was kicking then went over to the trough and started eating grain. Left the tame cow in the pen while the other cow was processed and she never should any signs of being concerned or nervous.
The tame cow's reaction was interesting. Hopefully ours will forgive-n-forget! I keep wondering if we did anything "wrong" with her but I really don't think so (not her in particular anyway). We do have to shore up our corrals that lead to the barn. I think once she realized she could bust through one, it was game over.
 

Bright Raven

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boondocks":25mp9zme said:
Thanks for all the input. I do think they were aiming generally in the right spot (all of them have dropped many a cow on the first shot. Heck the butcher does it day in and out. I hear what ya'll are saying but this is a guy that surely knows where to put a shot??? The whole thing is weird.). The animal was standing still and the gun was literally nearly touching her. (Can you get TOO close???). Maybe her brain was pea-sized...

She just got a bee in her bonnet about the barn (which led to a bullet in her bonnet, or five). Unfortunate. AI sire is supposedly high docility, of course!

No. You can not get too close. I have shot hogs with the barrel literally on their head with .22 rimfire shorts.

A cow's brain is small. Enclosed in the bone mass of the skull. The brain of lower animals, unlike primates, is not composed of unused mass for higher functions. You hear about humans sustaining a projectile such as a bullet or nail from a nailing gun to the brain. If the projectile does not damage autonomic functions such as those that control breathing, heart beat, etc. they may survive. A lower animal's brain is different. The brain is vital to almost all autonomic functions including muscles. Damage from a bullet to the brain of a cow ends those functions.

It is only speculation at this point but if the cow was continuing to move, run, jump, etc. Her brain was functional. AND they were not hitting it!
 

M.Magis

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With a larger caliber gun, in THEORY it is possible to be too close. Occasionally you can get a projectile that hits a hard target so fast it it breaks into pieces to the point it nearly disintegrates. In an instance like this it would be highly unlikely, but I suppose it could happen on the first shot.
But the last 4 shots obviously didn't hit their mark. My guess is the first one didn't either.
 

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