“I’ve finally caught the wild bullock,” Marian told Dave over the phone. “Bring a big gun!” she said.
It was a bright summer morning when Dave pulled into Marian’s stock farm in the northern part of the New South Wales bush country. “He’s real nervous,” she explained. “He’s with the bull. Ya need the big gun ’cause ya won’t get a second shot. The bull will be maddened by the smell of blood and will charge ya!”
She hid Ken and Doug behind the woodshed. Dave sat in the left-hand passenger side of the ¼-ton Ute. Marian drove into the small pasture and eased to within about 65 feet of the suspicious pair of bovine.
The bull was large, but the 6-year-old Shorthorn bullock was extra large, at least 2,200 pounds.
“Now,” instructed Marian, “I can’t bear to watch, so as soon as you shoot, shout, ‘Got ’em!’ or ‘Drive like ’ell!’”
Dave leveled his .270 out the window of the Ute and felled the beast with one shot. Ken rushed out with his knife to cut the dead bullock’s throat. Doug accompanied him, waving a garden hoe at the blood-maddened bull who was now pawing and bellowing at the crazed party of graziers who were descending onto the carcass like it was a fumbled punt.
The bull managed to sling a little snot up Dave’s back and find Marian’s fight or flight zone, but their sheer Lilliputian numbers, which included the dog, finally drove the bull away. Using an axe, a crosscut saw (the chainsaw wouldn’t start) and a skinning knife, they were able to reduce the carcass into eight 200-pound pieces, a mountain of offal and a head the size of a cast-iron kitchen stove. It was a beefy horn of plenty. According to Dave, it fed half the district for a year, although he admitted it took a bit of chewing.
Marian’s most unsettling memory was the vision of a trailer bed of offal being driven off, the head of the giant beast staring at her at eye level over the tailgate. That and the cloud of blowflies that followed the disappearing truck across the paddock and over the horizon.
But Yallaroi school children today still talk about the ghastly scene they saw from the school bus that morning, a dragon of a beast that lay slain under a tree and the gallant knight chasing a second one along the fenceline brandishing a garden hoe.
Such is the stuff of which legends are made. PD
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