Jack Knox: Rogue Cow of Metchosin wooed back to herd

Jack Knox mugshot genericTurns out the Rogue has been captured after all. Or, to be precise, she surrendered.

On Friday, I reported that the Rogue Cow of Metchosin, a young heifer who escaped from her Happy Valley Road home this spring, was still on the loose.

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That was wrong.

She has, in fact, been back in cowstody for a month.

It’s just that no one reported her return to the authorities, who didn’t learn of her apprehension until Tuesday.

It seems that the farmer who spent the summer chasing the elusive bovine around the wilds of the West Shore finally found the key to reining her in: loneliness.

The Rogue returned on her own, lured to the field from which she escaped by a small herd of cattle brought in specifically to entice her back.

The black Hereford-Angus cross just showed up at six one morning, no worse for wear. Not exactly fat, but not skinny, either, which seemed remarkable seeing how long she was gone.

It was in early May that the Rogue, a previously placid type, suddenly headed for the hills, leaping over a hedge like an East Berliner vaulting the wall.

No one knows why she bolted. Maybe she caught a glimpse of a grocery store flier, got a hint of what was to come. Or maybe she just had that gene that makes some folks peer over the hayfield horizon.

In any event, she spent the summer living wild, Huck Finn-ing off the land — grazing in convenient fields, spearing catfish, shoplifting produce and hot-wiring unsecured farm vehicles.

Sometimes she would be spotted hanging out with the deer (for real) or taunting cattle and horses from the free side of a fence. One horse was spooked so badly that it broke out of its paddock and had to get its hips adjusted by an equine chiropractor. (Hands up everyone who didn’t know there was such a thing as an equine chiropractor.)

The Rogue had a bit of El Chapo in her, thumbing her nose at The Man by periodically popping up in public — surprising Galloping Goose trail hikers, or scaring the manure out of drivers when her ninja-black bulk would suddenly loom in the middle of a darkened road.

Then she would slip into the woods before the Bossy posse would arrive. The farmer chased her for kilometre upon kilometre to no avail, though he did discover where every black bear in Metchosin lived.

And here’s the thing: The longer the Rogue ran loose, the greater her legend grew. A Nanaimo reader wrote in last weekend to compare her to the capybaras that remained at large for six weeks after busting out of a Toronto zoo in 2016.

To others, the Rogue’s escapades were reminiscent of those of Lucy the Emu, a flightless bird who nonetheless took flight from her Nanaimo-area farm in 2014. Lucy, who resembled a man-sized, nerdy chicken, gained folk-hero status while Thelma-and-Louise-ing it through the bush for six days before he (yes, Lucy was a he) could be recaptured.

It seems some people harbour a grudging, or perhaps not-so-grudging, admiration for a cow who decides to not go gentle into that good night and, instead, turns into a four-footed fugitive. Remember Cincinnati Freedom, the Charolais saved by artist Peter Max after it fled an Ohio slaughterhouse in 2002. And remember Yvonne, the German dairy cow who became a media darling in 2011 after evading capture for three months, despite a 10,000-euro bounty on her horns and an attempt to lure her with what was called “the George Clooney of bulls.”

No word on whether it was a Canadian cattle Clooney equivalent used to woo the Rogue. In any case, we can be sure the news of her surrender will leaden the hearts of those readers who may have preferred that she disappear for good, joining the vanished-into-thin-air likes of D.B. Cowper or Jimmy Hoofa.

As for the farmer, he says he’s not taking any chances. The Rogue is getting transferred to a farm in Duncan — the bovine equivalent of being shipped from William Head Prison to Shawshanksteak Penitentiary.

The Rogue’s run is done.

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