Bull-headed cow gets noggin stuck in tree
By Alan Yarbrough
Daily News Journal
Imagine driving down a relaxing country road, only to see a 700-pound heifer's backside sticking out of a oak tree with its head stuck inside a narrow, hollow opening.
For Milton resident and cow owner Jerry Hughes that's exactly what his neighbor Shane Davenport saw three weeks ago while driving down Milton Road.
"When I first saw it, I caught a glimpse of it, but I didn't think much of it," Davenport said. "Then I drove back again, slowed down and, sure enough, the cow was still there. It was one of the strangest things I have ever seen."
As any good neighbor would do, he contacted Hughes and told him the cow either wanted to have its head in the tree or it was stuck. Hughes knew it was stuck and five minutes later started to try and rescue the cow with a rope.
After about an hour and a half of attempting to get the female cow to lower its head into a larger opening without success, Hughes finally called Lascassas veterinarian John Brunner.
"I was astounded, that's the reason why I grabbed the camera," said Brunner, who runs Noah's Friends Inc., a veterinary service for large and small animals.
Once Brunner made it to the site, the cow had already been in the tree for approximately two hours, but was surprisingly still calm.
"She had been there so long, I guess she had resigned herself to being there," he said.
After taking pictures of the unusual occurrence, which he only developed this week, Brunner started to earn his $80 rescue fee.
"What I did was put a tie on her, which paralyzes the cow," he said. "I was able to push her head down a little bit. They don't move a whole lot when the hitch is around them."
He used a burley-half hitch, which has one loop of rope around the neck, another loop just behind the front legs and one more loop in front of the rear legs. Moreover, mineral oil was applied to the tree and to the cow's head to lessen the tension it would feel when a tractor pulled it out.
"Even pulling with the tractor, it wasn't going to come without toggling," Brunner said.
Finally at 10:30 p.m. — after 20 minutes of pulling — the cow's three-hour ordeal was over with only a scrape on the back of its ear and no other apparent injuries.
"It's a nosey animal," said Hughes, about why the cow got stuck. "Maybe she saw a squirrel."
Even though the incident was surprising to Hughes, it wasn't the first time he has seen a cow get stuck in a tree. Around 15 years ago he rescued a cow from a forked tree. But he was able to cut down the tree to save it, an option he didn't have this time around because he didn't want to risk injury to the animal.
To make sure there won't be a repeat incident, Hughes and Brunner put logs in the hole so the cow won't have any more temptation to put its head in the tree.
"It probably won't happen again in a million years," Brunner said.