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Here’s a trick that’s been around a long time, but you won’t see it too often. I’m not sure what you call this maneuver; looks like a collision in open country and that’s exactly what it is, except it is planned. The collision is planned to knock the cow off balance and change her direction. It seldom works with just one collision, it usually takes several and should be handled in a manner to convince the cow that she doesn’t know where she’s going and the opposite direction is more favorable.

It works in some cases and is worth a try if all the circumstances are favorable. Main favorable circumstance is a good stout horse with not too much cow. A horse with a lot of cow won’t be willing to hit the cow and will always be wanting to give ground to the cow. This is a very admirable trait and works on a lot of cattle. These types of horses always try to keep a cow in front of them and usually discourage the cow from going that direction and soon convinces her to go the other direction.

But some harder headed more spoiled cattle will not give to a horse and continue to run over or by the horse. This is when the cowboy has to resort to more severe measures, bumping her around sometimes sure knocks some sense into her. Cattle who know how to use their horns can make this a very dangerous idea and sure might cause the cowboy to go to plan C.

Experienced hands always have another trick to get the job done. Reminds me of a time when I had run out of tricks and this cow I was tryin’ to turn and take to the herd was gaining ground on me going the opposite direction, which was a serious infraction on my reputation. I have several last resorts and the rope is usually one of them. I was needing a little time to think and this ole gal wasn’t releasing any pressure on me, as she could see her beloved get-away right behind me.

So in desperation I roped her and was holding her without choking her any more than possible and try to get her mind changed into going the other direction. She was very handy with her horns and had a hair trigger when it came to using them so I wanted to keep my distance as I had already tried the bumping routine and she’d convinced me she didn’t wanna dance.

The rope wasn’t impressing her either and I was running out of time and getting farther behind on the drive so I was ready to go to the next plan. I had heard of a trick that I had never tried and this looked like the perfect situation to give it a whirl. I was as gentle as possible in laying her down on her side and letting my horse help me hold her so I could tie her feet and then fill her eyes with Bull Durham cigarette tobacco.

Just as I was about to let her go the Boss rode up and wanted to know what was going on! I told him that this cow had a vision impairment and that I was doing some corrective measures. Luck was with me as I let her up and the boss was not sure how to help but he wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to do any more doctoring on his cows.

The cow had enough time to consider her situation and her vision was impaired just enough so she couldn’t see where she was going, but she could hear me hollering and directing her of the proper way to go and she very politely walked in the right direction until she found other cows headed to the hold-up. All’s well ends well and I never have tried that trick again but don’t think I have forgot it. I promise you that cows and cowboys haven’t changed much since the first cow was unloaded off that ship from Spain.

Mike Capron is a featured columnist for High Minded Horseman. He’s a veteran rancher, award winning western artist and professional cowboy. You can usually find him horseback somewhere out in the Chihuahua Desert of West Texas; working his livestock, painting and living a life we all dream of.

Comments for A Six-Pack Says He'll Turn Her

  1. Reita Prewit on August 01, 2010

    Only Mike Capron could think of the bull durham trick! Loved the story, as I do all of them. Thank you, Mike, for giving me a good laugh to start the day.

  2. Beau on August 01, 2010

    Hi Mike. Do you think that Skoal would have the same effect? Some Cowboys don’t smoke… BBW Rosanky, TX

  3. Phyllis Gentry on August 01, 2010

    Always a fan of Mike. Loved the story as I always do. Thanks Mike.

  4. Frank Lindley on August 01, 2010

    Charlie Russell never had nothing on Mike Capron.

  5. Shelly Templeton on August 01, 2010

    I’ve never heard of that trick before…great story!!

  6. Ty Hogue on August 04, 2010

    Another display of your wonderfull talents Michael Wayne. Smoke would be proud.

  7. Milton Greeson on August 05, 2010

    Everytime I go into the office and see the painting I will chuckle it up thinking about the bovine ophthalmologist, the one and only, Michael Capron. The stories just keep getting better and the times as well, you got to love it. Keep it rollin Mikey!!!

  8. Butch Munson on August 12, 2010

    I saw my Dad do that trick but he didn’t use tobacco so he used dirt, Had the same result.

  9. David Kile on December 17, 2010 I had a ropin steer that kept jumping out of the arena. One night we tried the old tobacco in the eye trick. It kinda worked, he jumped the fence in a different spot that time.