Don't Shoot Him Up the Arse

Feb 03, 2020
This happened about 45 years ago, it was a hot spring day and I was cultivating land ready for seeding on the farm in the UK. Suddenly I received a call on the two-way radio, it was Dad. “Bring your .30-06 and come to the yard NOW”. Let me explain a couple of things, at that time a call like that from Dad was like a “Royal Command”. Failure to comply meant dismissal, not that that was anything new. I lost count of the number of times that I was fired and hired, sometimes more than once in the same day, sadly we fought a lot in those days. Secondly my .30-06 was a Ruger No 1 which I was only allowed to use for “Deer stalking where it was safe to do so, and I had the owners permission”, this was spelt out on my FAC. I certainly was not approved to use her on our land.

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What the hell was going on? Had the Russians landed? I remember I looked out of the tractor cab windows expecting to see enemy paratroopers coming down. I drove across the field through the gateway into the next field and then I could park outside the farmhouse we lived in. I unlocked the gun room, put the Ruger into a case, picked up my cartridge belt, but had second thoughts, a belt of .30-06 ammo may look good in the US but was hardly acceptably in rural England, so I just shoved a handful of shells in my pocket. I climbed into the tractor where my faithful Collie was waiting, she got excited when she saw the rifle case, I can’t imagine why! 😊 And I headed off to the main yard at Park Farm.

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At that time in the sleepy village of Earsham, Jack Lambert owned a slaughterhouse. As the crow fly’s the slaughterhouse was about 3 miles from Park Farm. As it was a hot day the large outside doors which opened into the killing floor where wide open. The raceway from the holding yards led into the killing shute where the bullocks (Steers to you North Americans) were halted, a gate slid shut behind them, the slaughter man reached over the head gate and shot the animal between the eyes with a “humane killer”. This was a captive bolt gun, that had to be held almost touching the animals head. This bullock decided today was not a good day to die and started to thrash about, against all odds a front leg came up and hit the side door release lever. The floor of the shute was few feet up from the main slaughterhouse floor, so this wild bullock came crashing down onto the killing floor. Here I think another four men worked, blood and offal were on the floor, a hose was running so everything was wet and slippery. The bullock made a wild dash for freedom, bowling the slaughter men out of the way. They let go of their electric saws with the blades still turning and they bounced up and down on the bungy cords. No one was hurt but for a few moments it was sheer mayhem.

The bullock went trotting down the main street then up onto the pavement (Sidewalk). A young mother was pushing a pram towards the bullock, too late she realised something was wrong, with a toss of his head the pram and mother disappeared into the hedge row. Now people were yelling and screaming, time to get out of Dodge, so he headed cross country, his next stop was Park Farm. He charged our mechanic who raced into the workshop and called up Dad on the radio. At the same time Jack Lambert, the slaughterhouse owner drove in the yard. Jack was a great pheasant hunter, out came his side by side 12 bore , nothing an “Eley Grand Prix number six” couldn’t sort out”.  Dad now drove up in his Land Rover and another tractor came up to the workshop. Every one watched as Jack walked up to the bullock and took a bead right between his eyes. It was point blank range,but just as he fired the bullock tossed up his head, he took the blast of shot dead center on his horn boss, it broke the skin but did no damage. The bullock tossed Jack out of the way and galloped out of the yard and across the fields. This is when I got the call to bring my .30-06.

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Dad was waiting in the yard for me, we loaded my rifle into the Land Rover and headed after the “Circus” that was now in hot pursuit of this half-crazed bullock. We came to gate way of a ploughed field and I started to unpack my rifle, I wanted to get the shot fired and the rifle back home before any Police showed up. The bullock was trotting along the further headland of the field and coming up to a huge Oak tree, no one else knew this was my secret spot where I confirmed the zero on my rifle, 250 yds away, perfect. I checked with Dad where the other men were working, only one tractor to be concerned with and we could see him well out of harms way. I lay down, started to get comfortable then Jack was yelling “it’s too far you can’t shoot from here”. What could I say! Then I saw a slaughter man still in his white apron and rubber boots waving a carving knife in his hand and some how he was only 20 yds behind the bullock, OK I am not taking a shot from here.

We loaded up into the Land Rover, Dad, myself and Jack Lambert, there may have been two more, I don’t remember. Driving across a ploughed field on that “Heavy” land was a very slow process, the bullock turned into the field and the range shortened. At about 100 yds I told Dad to stop , I got out loaded up, got into my preferred crossed leg sitting position (In those days I could bend my back). The bullock turned and was looking straight away, with his head up. I took a hold on the back of his head, checked the background , all was good, I was in the final thought process of confirming the bullets trajectory at this range and starting to tighten the trigger.

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DON’T SHOOT HIM UP THE ARSE! Screamed Jack Lambert who had walked round the land Rover and come up behind me! Once was enough, but he continued to yell. Don’t shoot him up the arse! Jack was worried how much good steak I was going to ruin. Little did he know I could handle a rifle far better than I could shoot driven Pheasant. I lost it, I started to laugh until my sides hurt, I couldn’t have hit the broad side of a barn. The bullock angled towards us quartering away when the range closed to 50 yds, I slipped a rd in his heart and the job was done. I turned to Dad, he made a comment about Jack owing us a Scotch, I replied let’s get the hell out of here. The game keeper showed up and wanted to know what was going on, I heard some one had called the police to send a marksman, yes time to be going. I just paused to look at the bullock’s head to see where he had turned a point-blank blast from a shotgun. Just another early lesson in ballistics for me and I must remember. “Don’t shoot him up the arse”! Dad and I laughed all the way back to my tractor and I made myself and my rifle scarce.

Keep your powder dry, 
Mr. Wolverine
 

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