There was a time in my life, I did things the hard way just for the entertainment value of it.
I had a herd of Charolais cattle that were both wild and mean. It took a good horse and several hours of hard riding to bring them in. This, I thought at the time, was fun. After several years, and several close calls, I learned there are much easier ways of having fun. I now have Angus cattle that come running when they see the truck. They will attempt to get into the truck if given the opportunity, knowing there is probably a sack or two of corn in the back. The only danger involved is getting stepped on when they all crowd around to be fed.
My wife and I decided to get two chores done in one trip. We would change the memory cards on the deer trail cameras and check the cows while we were at it. We took the Gator so we could drive closer to some of the cameras than the truck should go. I have had the truck in some of those places, but I have also had to use my chain saw to cut myself out of places I should not have driven. This is another of those times a wise person learns from past experiences.
We changed out a couple of cameras and drove into the pasture with the cows. I do not usually use the Gator when I feed the cows, so they were not expecting a treat when they heard it. A couple of calls though was all it took to turn the placid herd lounging in the timber into a hungry mob looking for a free handout. We were able to check them out but when they did not receive the corn they were not pleased. We decided to start up the Gator and get out of the herd while we still could. As we sped away, only the most determined in the group continued to jog behind us.
We crossed the first of twin sluices and headed up the hill into the timber. We crested the big hill and saw a beautiful buck standing near the creek bottom, looking up at us with only mild curiosity. We stopped to admire the sleek, well-muscled buck with a perfect 10-point rack. He could be a worthy trophy for the upcoming bow season. Neither of us thought to bring a camera with us so the picture was only saved in our minds. When the more determined of the cows broke over the hill still hot on the trail of a treat, the buck turned and ran back into the timber. The cows dropped off the pursuit one by one and went back to leisurely munching on grass.
While driving the remainder of the farm, we saw several deer, mostly does and fawns, watching us from just inside the edge of the timber. They watched us slowly pass and would only spook if we stopped. A hen turkey with seven or eight almost-grown young ones darted across the path only feet in front of us. On the lake, geese glided across the glass like surface, keeping an eye on the passing vehicle. They were cautious, but not too cautious, as vehicles sometimes stop and spread corn for them.
By the time we checked the rest of the cameras and headed back to the truck, I had come to the conclusion things in our lives change for a reason. As we get older, we have found there are easier ways of doing things. They work just as well or better than doing them the hard way and it shows a lot of wisdom in finding a method of doing the same thing with less work or risk of injury. What used to be a half day of work checking the cattle and another half day with the cameras is now down to my wife and I enjoying a few pleasurable hours in the outdoors.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.