Mother cow lures wayward steer back to Epping farm
By Jason Schreiber Union Leader Correspondent
The steer ran off Sunday afternoon when it was being delivered to 9-year-old Ryan Hoelzel, who saved up his money to buy the animal in hopes of entering him in 4-H shows at local fairs this year. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
EPPING - The young steer that escaped from an Epping farm last Sunday night has come home.
The 1-year-old Belted Galloway returned to a hayfield at the Sanborn Farm on Fremont Road after an older mother cow was brought in to help lure it back.
The steer ran off Sunday afternoon when it was being delivered to 9-year-old Ryan Hoelzel, who saved up his money to buy the animal in hopes of entering him in 4-H shows at local fairs this year.
Several people saw the steer in the days since it escaped, but no one was able to catch it.
Ryan bought the steer from Dover farmer Peter Rousseau, who was unaware that it got took off when it was being delivered by a friend last Sunday.
Ryan's mother, Mary Hoelzel, said she thought the friend who delivered it for Rousseau had notified him. Rousseau learned that it was on the loose after a story appeared in Thursday's New Hampshire Union Leader and was quickly picked up by several radio and TV news stations.
Rousseau brought a mother cow to the Epping farm around 7:30 p.m. Thursday in an attempt to attract the steer. The cow was placed in a small pen. At about 10 p.m., Ryan's father went to check on things and saw that the cow had made her way out of the pen.
He quickly closed the gates and walked along a fence with a spotlight. Moments later, he found the cow and the steer together in a fenced in hayfield.
"It's such a relief that the cow didn't get hurt and nobody else did and there was no damage," Mary Hoelzel said. The experience made Ryan and his parents realize that it would be better for him to buy a younger and smaller calf for the shows.
The cow and steer were picked up this morning and returned to Rousseau's farm without a problem.
"It was fine. It was mellowed right out. It was calm and wanted to go home," Ryan said of the young steer.
Ryan's not sure what he'll do now. Rousseau offered Ryan a smaller steer and the Deerfield Fair Association offered to give him a 1- or 2-week-old Holstein bull, but he's weighing his options and waiting to get his money back.