Blue Hawk And The Buffalo
I’ve done some dumb things in my life, in fact, several dumb things; but this is one of the dumbest things I ever did. In the summer of 1983, Mr. J.D. McGaha had a man working for him named Arnold Group. Mr. Groupe wanted to be called Blue Hawk, that was his nickname. One day Blue Hawk came down here and said that an old buffalo bull and buffalo cow had a baby calf that was over there in his pasture.
There was a man that lived over close to Buffalo Gap that had some buffalo and they just roamed the country. Sometimes they would come up this far. This old bull and buffalo cow had been roaming around up here. Blue Hawk said that the old buffalo cow had a calf and she had gone and taken a regular calf away from one of his cows. His regular calf following the buffalo cow and he wanted us to come up there and catch his calf, so we could put it back with its mama.
All of this sounded simple enough and it was on a Saturday evening. It was cool and misting rain just a little bit, so Donnie, Randy Flowers, Victor Merfeld, and I went up there. We went out there and caught that calf for Blue Hawk right quick. Blue Hawk had his pick up and trailer there and we just put that calf of Blue Hawk’s in the trailer. We thought we were done- - and we should have been.
Sometimes things just get to building up. The old buffalo cow and calf were standing right there. Blue Hawk said, “Ya’ll catch that buffalo calf. I’d like to raise it on the bottle.” We took off after it and Randy caught it. We put the little buffalo calf in Blue Hawk’s trailer with the other calf. That should have been enough and we started back.
That old buffalo bull and buffalo cow had run off, but that old buffalo bull just jumped out there right in front of us. We all had our ropes down and I don’t know why I did it, I just did. I was riding a little horse called Little Joe and I don’t know why, but I just roped that bull. When I roped him, he jumped up in the air and shook his head like an old buffalo will do. I had forgot that I wasn’t tied on and I sure didn’t dally, so there went my rope. I told Randy and Donnie that they needed to rope him so I could get my rope back. Donnie was riding Wrangler, a little gray horse of his. Wrangler wouldn’t get within a hundred yards of that buffalo bull. Randy was riding a brown horse of mine I called Sam and he wouldn’t get close to that bull either. I borrowed Donnie’s rope and Little Joe just ran right up on that bull.
Mr. Dale Bradshaw had told me a long time ago to not ever rope a buffalo bull because there never was a horse made that could stop one. I roped that bull again and I guess it was a good thing that I didn’t catch him clean around the neck, he got a foreleg in it. I couldn’t stop him anyway, but I pulled up on Little Joe to stop, I had just as well have tried to stop a freight train. I couldn’t stop him and Donnie and Randy couldn’t get their horses close enough up there to help me. I didn’t know what we were going to do. We were headed for the brakes, but that old bull was getting tired and he ran into a post oak thicket and stopped for just a minute. When he did, I was able to get several dallies on one of those trees and tie him off. Randy and Donnie got there and heeled him and we got our ropes off him.
I found out later on that buffaloes have a glass windpipe. I guess if I had caught him clean, I would have killed that old bull. I’ll guarantee you one thing, I’ll never rope another buffalo bull.