How To Properly Gather A Resistant Goat

 by Rusty Fleming
Out in the west of Texas, and prob’ly all over the free world, there are weekly publications, free of charge, that go by a variety of names, such as in this case, the Thrifty Nickel, that can be found at the entrance of every convenience store and coin-operated laundermat or drug stores,  I guess just about anywhere.

These Thrifty Nickle’s make great and entertaining reading ’cause there’ll be ads in there for just about anything from self-autographed slightly used, third handed Elvis owned chrom-eated hub caps to used Maytag washer lids for sale and the likes of services available like “Toenail Tattoos by Tootsie”,,,,formerly from Orla, Texas,  where she first started her business, but customers were usually in too big a hurry to get to Carlsbad or Pecos or Mentone to stop by and witness Tootsie’s art,,,she had relocated to Odessa,,,,she claimed there was a much greater market for her work,,,and a higher class of clientele,,,,,
,,,,,back to the story,,,,in the Thrifty Nickle I saw an ad that caught my eye,,,
I was intrigued ’cause it sounded a challenge,,,, I took the bait, called the number,,,come to find out, the goats belonged to a part time, semi-experienced goat rancher that had a full time job as a trust officer at a bank in Angelo, who had seized the opportunity to lease a ranch owned by a trust he managed, and stocked it with 300+ head of fine, but questionable ancestory, of goats,,,,at this point, let it be known, this was about 2002 and the goat market was in great leaps of growth and popularity and EVERYBODY wanted in the goat business,,,,and for the purpose of this documentary, this trust office shall be hereinafter known as “goat guy”.
The family owning the ranch (in trust) had decided to sell the ranch and the fledgling goat rancher, “goat guy”, had to remove ALL livestock, as the place had tentatively been sold to deer hunters who harbored no great affections for the remnant goat population, no matter how scant or few the flock. In an effort to gather all the goats, over a period of time, like 2 months or so, “goat guy” had solicited scores of round-up oriented attempts, and had learned a valuable lesson: it’s relatively easy to buy goats at the San Angelo sheep and goat sale, easy to load them in a trailer and easy to transport them to their destined designation and really easy to turn them “out”, to the non-goat-oriented, the rest of the equation can part company from “easy” right there. 
After several attempts by arena type town cowboys, barely qualified to own an equine, saddle and a rope, “goat guy” had successfully captured some, but not all, of the flock,,,,so you can imagine, those goats that remained were progressively somewhat smarter, experienced, and well educated/trained at NOT being gathered,,,,I called the phone number listed,,,, agreed to meet “goat guy” early the next morning, being Saturday, and I’d bring dogs, then catch and own the remnants, which now numbered one seasoned nannie and her twin kids, all crossbred (that could have gone unsaid, couldn’t it),,,,a buck kid weighing about 60 Lbs, and his doeling twin sister weighing about 40 Lbs,,,all healthy and in prime condition,,,,
This ranch had a set of historical corrals at the headquarters that were of rock construction, looked to have been constructed by the same engineering squad that earlier might have built La Bahia at Goliad and the Alamo,,,complete with the inside braces of the corral corners having a pile of rocks that slopped to the INSIDE of the pens, to prevent the rock fence from falling over,,,,,obviously it worked as designed, the rock wall had never fallen over, but also served as a launch pad for penned and escape minded goats,,,in  the gate and out over the walls,,,if you ever been around a non-domesticated goat you can imagine,,,,,
I loaded up our two top fetch oriented border collies, a couple of “kid” ropes (yes, pun intended) which are better described as 5/16 scant nylon ropes, 25 ft. long, a belt full of goat tie strings ,,,and a goat cage in the back of the pickup to transport the soon to be captured victims. I loaded up and headed out early Saturday morning and met “goat guy” at the rancho, he had his grandson with him , a nice mannered, quiet, bashful, red headed kid with freckles appearing to be about 6 or 7 years old,,,, I got there, we met, looked over the pens and “goat guy” asks me just how I expected to catch these three goats with no more armament than I had,,,,
I smiled,,,,I asked if he could show me the goats,,,,,,we loaded up in his Mule or Gator or some type of ATV with Nan and Jake in the back and off we went, with “goat guy” reeking of doubt of me and my dogs abilities and methods,,,,never forget, “goat guy” was new at this,,,,
We idled around the pasture and POOF,,,,there they were, we spotted them under a deer feeder vacuuming up lots of deer corn and I said let me out and yall please go bring my pickup, it was in the cool of the morning, the oaks had had a fantastic mast of acorns, and mister, let me tell you them goats SHINED, slick and fat,,,,,fed well on acorns and deer corn,,,,in my mind, I could smell cabrito roasting over mesquite coals as these goats did not have a future as “breeders”,,,,, “goat guy” and grandson drive off, but pause and watch the start of the show,,,,,
They let me and the dogs out and I says,,,,’way to me, that’s border collie speak,,,and they had the goats in their sights,,,,the dogs got around and were all thundering straight to me,,,I briefly entertained the idea of roping one as they came by me at the speed of lightning fast goats, suddenly changing my mind and set off afoot following the procession,,, off the flats they flew and into a shallow draw and all 3 goats spotted a live oak tree in the draw with low limbs and they treed prettier than Roy McBride’s lion dogs could have done with a family of bobcats,,,, I knew I had to rope the nannie first and get her tied down and if by chance, the kids jumped out, they’d come back to “mom”,,,and would stay with her, kinda, remember, I have 2 good dogs with me,,,, roping a goat uphill in an oak tree sounds lots easier than it is,,,after a half dozen failed loops, the nannie was climbing higher,,, I finally got her lasso’d, jerked out of the tree and tied down,,,really tied down, I couldn’t afford her to get loose,,,
“Goat guy” and grandson found me, arrived with my pickup, and backed it as close as they could get it to the edge of the draw, and I was sitting by this tied goat catching my breath,,,,they got out of the pickup, looked the situation over and I told them to please stay back,,,I didn’t need anymore advisors just yet,,,,,I got up and began roping those kids out of the tree one by one and tying them down,,,then me and “goat guy” packed them to the pickup and loaded them in the cage, still tied,,,,don’t take any chances now,,,, we loaded up, drove back to headquarters, I unloaded Jake and Nan, let them water and cool down in the water trough, and I thanked “goat guy” for all his help,,, 
“Goat guy” being a banker at heart says, Whoa now, wait,,,that was too easy,,,,I think you oughta pay me for those goats,,,, I said no, we had a deal, I walked to the pickup, dropped the tailgate and banker “goat guy” says WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? I told him I’m about to let them loose, we had a deal,,,,he quickly changes his mind and grumbles, no, you’re right, we had a deal, they’re your goats,,,,, I loaded my dogs in the bed of the pickup where they could stare at the goats on the way home,,,ready to get away from “goat guy”,,, as I was getting in the pickup I turned and said to “goat guy”,,,,come Monday morning that he’d better stay close to his phone,,,’cause once his grandson got to school, no doubt he’d start telling his school buds and maybe his teacher about dogs putting goats up trees and roping and tying and such and I’d be willing to bet,,,,grandson’s teacher would be calling about the kids vast imagination and huge ficticious story telling and that kid’s gonna be needing grandpa to protect his reputation.  Those 2 kids ate really good, having been well fed, acorn and corn finished and that wild doe brought about $100 at the sale the following Tuesday,,,,
I couldn’t have been prouder of those dogs,,,,


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