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0708 PD: On the Edge of Common Sense: Moose roping

Baxter Black Published on 25 April 2008

Most cowboys go to great lengths to keep from losing their rope.

And yet that same cowboy might rope a freight train, a four-wheeler or a polar bear without a second thought. That thought, of course is, ‘How do I get my rope back?’

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Randy and Roy were makin’ a final circle on a big ranch north of the Anaconda Mountains. They were down to tracking singles. One set of tracks led them up a little canyon. The snow was a foot deep and the footprints were well-defined punctures in the snow, not the foot draggin’ bovine kind. It didn’t take them long to come upon a big cow moose idly scraping a spot in the shelter of a pine tree looking for a little nibble.

Randy and Roy rode up to get a better look. Probably mistake number one. The moose stared at them curiously. As they approached she started to move away. Roy took down his rope and peeled off his glove. Randy gave him a question mark look. Roy replied with a nod toward the moose and a ‘Whattya think?’

If there had been any forethought to his next move, it might have flickered through his brain that, if needed, he could choke her down and retrieve his twine. But it’s safe to assume that no forethought occurred at all.

He threw a pretty loop right down over her hornless head. He dallied, she turned and started chugging up the side of the canyon. Pulling back, Roy intended to turn her around. He got an anatomy lesson; the neck of a moose blends so smoothly into their body that the loop settled down around her chest like the breast collar on a horse!

She was hooked to the load, had good snow traction and the strength of a draft horse. Roy and his 5-year old almost-broke saddle horse were no match for her! Finally, after dragging them a hundred yards, she turned in irritation and started back up the rope! Roy was tryin’ to gather slack as his horse stumbled and danced on the rocky, snow-covered hillside.

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Randy watched helplessly as Roy’s horse went down and rolled clear over him! She rose in the deep snow. To Randy’s amazement he saw Roy underneath, his rope lashing him to the horse’s belly! The moose ran backwards, the horse was blown’ big rollers, and Roy, pinned between the horse’s legs, was peeking upside down at the mad moose!

Randy also noted that Roy’s rope was still dallied round the horn and he was holding on for dear life.

“Let yer dallies go!” hollered Randy.

“I can’t!” said Roy, showing he was still of sound mind and body, “It’s a new rope!” PD

By Baxter Black

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