At last the day came when Dad and I went to the big
Taylor and Bowman Ranch to cut the cattle that were to be driven to
the Ranch around the lake. All of the cows that were to be divided
were in a big corral. Uncle Harvey Taylor gave instructions of how we
were to do it. The cows were to be put through the Cutting Chute and
divided. The cows that were to go the Lake Ranch were cut into the
south corral while the cows to remain on the big ranch were cut into
the lane. Our little son Keith LaRae was sitting on Chanate in the
lane watching the proceedings. Uncle Harvey said to me with his little
Mischievous smile, "put that little guy out there on the black horse
to turn the cows down the lane". I went out proudly to tell little
Kiko what to do.
Kiko was a little blonde boy of 5 years mounted on his
Grandpa Haynie's pet horse Chanate. He was sitting straight in his
little saddle that I had made him from a tanned hide of a big Buck
Mule Deer. It was a flat piece of leather that went over the back of
the horse and down the sides to end in stirrups and was cinched onto a
saddle blanket. That little guy could really ride and Chanate knew
exactly what he was about and he really took good care of his
When the cows came into the lane many of them were
pretty snuffy and would try to charge Chanate. The horse would jump
out and with his ears back drive them down the lane. When the cows
were angry and stubborn he would bite then or even turn and kick them
with both hind feet. Kiko and Chanate were putting on a show for us
out in the lane. I can still remember Uncle Harvey's and uncle Loren's
Hearty laugh and yell of encouragement. "Atta boy Kiko turn 'em down
the lane". It was really a sight to watch the little 5 year old boy on
his pretty black horse turn those wild cows down the lane.
After a while a Sr. Morales decided that he wanted the
job of turning the cows down the lane. He mounted his tall long legged
Sorrel Horse and went out to take over Kiko's job. When the next cow
came out he jumped his horse out and turned the cow down the lane
losing his brand new felt hat in the process. He immediately got off
his horse to retrieve his precious hat. The men from the corral yelled
a warning which he did not heed. That cow turned and came back and hit
Sr. Morales in the seat of the pants while he was trying to retrieve
his new hat. He was a short man with a big round belly and the cow
followed in and rolled him over and over. She didn't have any horns
but was doing a good job of mauling him and slobbering all over him.
Kiko and Chanate came to the rescue and drove the cow on down the
lane. Sr. Morales got up slowly and found his dirty trampled hat, and
tried in vain to brush the messy dirt from his new clothes, mounted
his horse and silently road out of the ranch.
We finished cutting the cows and prepared to drive the
cows from the south corral down to the ranch around the lake. Kiko was
right in there with all of the cowboys to help drive the cows down to
the Lake Ranch to their new home.
The lake ranch had been overgrazed for many years by
the herds of horses and cattle from the Ejido but had grown back some
since we had fenced it. The cattle wintered well that winter and in
the spring the Bermuda Grass came green all around the lake where the
water had gone down as the water was used for the town. This supplied
the needed green feed for the cattle when they needed it the most.
When we would ride around the lake looking at the
cattle trying to glean some green feed from the short Bermuda Grass we
noticed that the grass was interspersed every where with rabbit
pellets. I had been reading that Jack Rabbits were a problem for
ranchers and that 13 Jack Rabbits could eat as much as one cow.
Judging by the amount of rabbit manure there must be a great number of
rabbits in competition with our precious cows. We decided that
something must be done.
We had raised two dogs from little puppies that had
been fathered by a big beautiful dog that adopted us while we were
living on the Rancho Verde out on the flat. They both had good heavy
coats of fur and their hair was rather long. I don't know what breeds
were crossed to make these beautiful big dogs and I guess that doesn't
really matter. One was a light brown in color and seemed to dominate
the other one in some ways so we called him Tuffy. The other was a
darker color with black and grey hair mixed in a beautiful combination
so we called him Smokey. They were very good with the little children
and were well trained. All the family loved our dogs.
We decided to train our dogs to hunt rabbits to help
lower the rabbit population on the ranch. We put them in the back of
the pickup and went to the ranch. As we drove around the ranch there
were many White Sides on the ranch at that time. The White Sides
always ran in pairs and when chased they would cross back and forth to
lure the dogs from one to the other giving each other a rest and the
dogs very seldom could catch one in the day time. These rabbits were
similar to Jack Rabbits but they had white fur on each side and they
always ran in pairs. They seemed to be a cleaner rabbit than the
regular Jack Rabbit and didn't have grubs or parasites on them.
One day we were hunting and jumped a Coyote. The dogs
began to whine and bark so I let them jump out of the truck to chase
the Coyote. Smokey ran in from the side and hit the Coyote with his
chest and Tuffy went in for the kill. Between the two of them they
killed the Coyote. After that we started hunting Coyotes instead of
Rabbits. One day a big male Coyote grabbed Tuffy by the nose and hung
on making him yelp with pain, I jumped out and shot the Coyote as soon
a I could.
Early one morning, about three weeks later, I heard
Smokey growling and went out to see what was going on. Tuffy was
laying on the ground trembling in agony and frothing at the mouth. As
I approached to see what was wrong with Tuffy Smokey moved in front of
me holding me back, still growling and whining. I started to go around
him but he would move with me and push me back. I then realized that
Tuffy was in the last stages of Rabies and Smokey new the danger.
Tuffy died a little later without regaining consciousness and we
carefully disposed of the body. We Realized that the bite of the
Coyote on Tuffy's nose had infected him with a very large dose of
Rabies. That ended our using Smokey to hunt Coyotes.
We started hunting rabbits at night in the head lights
of the truck. We would drive around the lake and pick a pair of
rabbits in the headlights. We would stop and shoot one of the rabbits.
Smokey would wait until the shot was fired then would leap out of the
truck and run silently through the darkness to appear swiftly in the
light. The surprised rabbit some times would jump high in the air and
Smokey became very skilled at jumping up and catching the rabbit in
mid air. I saw him at times jump into the air to catch the rabbit and
go over a mesquite bush and come down on the other side with the
rabbit securely caught in his powerful jaws. After crunching the
rabbit a few times he would bring it back and jump into the back of
the pick up with it and be ready for the next one. We would drive on
and have him pick up the one we had shot and continue on around the
I remember one night when Chato Bluth and I were
hunting Old Smokey put 54 rabbits in the back of the pick up in about
two hours of hunting. We took them over to the farm on the flat where
we had our pigs in a big Adobe Corral. Chato counted the rabbits as we
threw them into the corral and they were 54 big Jackrabbits.
Smokey was the kids pet and pal they would even have
him pull them in their little coaster wagon. He was always patient,
loving and faithful and took very good care of the
After about ten years of faithful service I guess Old
Smokey just wore out. One morning about 11:00 A.M. we heard a long
mournful howl outside our door. We went out and found our beloved dog
Smokey dead by the kids playhouse. I guess that long mournful howl was
his goodbye to all of us.
The Rabbit hunts continued but with the kids in the
back of the pickup leaning on the cab for a rest aim for their 22
Rifles. Since 22 bullets were hard to get and we didn't want to waste
them. The kids would take turns shooting so as not to shoot more than
one at a time. They all learned to shoot very well and the girls could
shoot as well as the boys. In order to use only one bullet per rabbit
when a rabbit was only wounded all of the kids would jump out of the
truck and surround the rabbit and see who could kick the rabbit as it
tried to escape the ring. As I remember they all got good at kicking
but Sam had the fastest foot work and missed less than the
others. You need to have the experience of trying to kick a
dodging rabbit to realize how quickly they can dodge and jump.
When groups of scouts or explorers would come down the
kids would always suggest a rabbit hunt. I have seen some of those big
boys kick so hard that their feet would go out from under them and
they would land flat on their back. I think many of our Dublan boys
will remember those rabbit hunts.
The Coyotes continued to be a plague and kill some of
the little new born calves or leave one or two without a tail. I began
to hunt them horseback with my 3006 rifle in the scabbard on the
saddle. We would ride around the ranch and when we would spot a
Coyote I would run my horse to within shooting distance of the
Coyote, take out my rifle, slide to a stop, hop off my horse and shoot
the Coyote on the run. I had a little heavyset Grey horse that was
fast and could stop very easily. He was a big help in shooting
Coyotes. One day he took off so fast that the rifle slipped out of the
scabbard and fell into the dirt. I got off, dusted off the rifle and
took a long shot at the Coyote. I later found that that shot had
bulged the barrel of my beautiful 3006 hunting rifle and ruined it. I
didn't realize that the barrel had gotten dust in it when it fell into
One day were driving around in the east side of the
ranch in our Volkswagen Van and we saw a cow that had just had her
calf. Near by in a clump of mesquites two big Coyotes waited to try to
get a meal. We drove toward them and they immediately split and ran on
each side of us toward the east fence. I whirled the van around and
raced to head one of them off. It ran flat out parallel with the van
trying to go around in front of me. I glanced at the speedometer
and it was hovering between 50 and 60 Kilometers per hour. Soon
the Coyote stopped suddenly and cut around behind the van and
started for the fence again. I turned the van in a big arc and headed
him off again. Back and forth we went until his pace slowed and his
steps began to lag. Seeing this I turned the Van into him and ran over
him. I got out and finished him off with my lug wrench.
After that we usually carried a 22 rifle and my pistol
to run the Coyotes. Many times we would go on special Coyote hunts
with one of the family or a visitor sitting in the back seat of the
Van. When the Coyote was jumped and the chase was on, the shooter in
the back seat would open the side door and shoot the Coyote with the
Shot Gun or rifle or whatever he or she had. At that speed the
Coyote would really roll when hit.
I remember one year early in the year when the cows
were calving, we got word from the neighbors that they were losing
little calves from the Coyotes. This was after I had retired from
school teaching. I would get up very early in the morning and go to
the ranch and pick up Yagui, our Cowboy, and go to patrol the ranch.
We would go around the ranch searching out the cows that had calved. I
remember one morning we came on to a cow who was just giving birth to
twin calves. There not too far away was a pair of Coyotes waiting. As
soon as the second calf dropped the cow nervously went of with the
first born calf following along with her. The second little calf just
lay there with big pieces of afterbirth still on him. What a meal he
would have made for that pair of Coyotes. They were reluctant to leave
so I shot the big male. Then quickly shot the female as she ran away.
She jumped a little like she was hit but didn't slow her pace any. We
were in a rough Toboso Grass draw so we could not give chase. We put
the little calf in the van and took him to the ranch corral to be
raised on the milk cow.
The next day over on the east side of the ranch we
jumped a Coyote and boy did she run. I had a hard time getting enough
speed in the rough terrain to finally come abreast of her. Yagui shot
her out the window of the van and she jumped and rolled over and over
and lay still. When we examined her we found the she was the one we
had shot the day before and that she had been running that fast on
That month we patrolled the ranch every day except
Sunday and we piled up in a big pile 29 Coyotes as a warning to the
Coyotes to stay away from our little calves.
The Coyotes and the rabbits were not the only pests we
had to deal with. We found a little calf that had dried blood on his
neck and ears. On examination we concluded, because of the claw marks.
that it could only have been scratched by a big Bob Cat. A few days
later we found a partially eaten new born calf that had been buried
under grass and leaves in a Mesquite bush.
Soon after that we were riding out on the east side of
the ranch toward the hills when I heard our little son Tracy yell. I
looked around and saw him running his horse, as fast as he could go.
after a big Bob Cat. The Bob Cat holed up in a big Mesquite Bush. As I
galloped up little Tracy called excitedly, "Rope him Daddy I want his
leathers". Well, we did rope the Bob Cat and Tracy got his
Another time we were riding and came upon a pair
of big Golden Eagles eating a new born calf. We thought that they
probably had found it dead and were taking advantage of the good meat.
A few days later we found a little calf with big talon marks on each
side of it's rib cage. We could only conclude that one of the Eagles
had tried to kill that calf by burying it's talons through the rib
cage into the little calf's lungs and heart. This little calf had
managed to get away but would always bear the scars of those big
A few days after that I was hunting Deer out in the
Malpais east of the Ranch. I looked cautiously over the rim of a high
ridge and there not 50 feet from me was a big Golden Eagle perched on
a big rock. I shot him and cut off his feet to take home to show the
feet and talons. They measured 8 inches from the back talon to the
longest front talon.
If anyone should try to fine me for killing that eagle
or the Coyotes etc. I guess I could use Elmer Thaynes escape
Elmer Thayne was one of the older colonists here in
Dublan. He was a hunter and miner and anything else you wanted to talk
about. In his later years he developed palsy and his hands shook and
so did his voice but he still loved to talk and tell his tales of
Adventure. One day in a restaurant in Casas Grandes he sat down by a
man and in his shaky voice began to tell of his exploits. He said he
had killed five Deer Two Turkey and one Bear all in one day. After the
man listened a while he asked Elmer, "Do you know who I am". Elmer
answered, "No who are you"? The man said importantly, I am the
Forestal officer (the game warden). Elmer then said without missing a
beat, "Do you know who I am"? The officer answered, "No who are you"?
Elmer answered in his shaky voice, " I am the biggest liar in Casas
Grandes". NO PROOF NO PENALTY.