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Search continues for gadabout steer in Epping

Union Leader Correspondent

May 23. 2013 7:53PM
Ryan Hoelzel, 9, of Epping, is hoping the steer he bought returns to his family's Epping farm. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)

EPPING — A Dover farm owner who sold the 1-year-old steer that escaped when it was being delivered to an Epping boy last weekend is confident the animal will be found — with a little help.

Long-time farmer Peter Rousseau, owner of Rousseau Farm, said Thursday that he'll most likely bring another one of his Belted Galloways over to 9-year-old Ryan Hoelzel's family farm on Fremont Road in a last-ditch effort to lure the runaway steer out of the woods.

"Hopefully he would come to that one," Rousseau said.

The search began last Sunday when the young steer became spooked and took off when it was being delivered to Ryan's farm, known as Sanborn's Farm.

Ryan had saved up $350 to buy the steer, which he planned to name Panda, to show at fairs this summer and fall through 4-H.

The animal managed to get away from a family friend who had transported it in a trailer from Rousseau's Farm, which has a herd of about 50 Belted Galloways — a breed that's mostly black with a white stripe around the mid-section.

Rousseau said he didn't have any problems with the steer — a castrated male bovine — before it was purchased by Ryan and sent off to his farm.

"It wasn't that bad of an animal to handle. I've handled him a few times, but sometimes riding in a trailer they can get a little spooked. If I go over and I can find it I know I'll get it back," Rousseau said.

The animal has been spotted in the area a few times since Sunday, but no one has been able to catch it despite the many who have helped in the search.

Rousseau said he doesn't believe the steer will wander near the road.

"Usually if he's got grass to eat he's not going to move far," he said.

Ryan's mother, Mary Hoelzel, said that if the steer is found it will likely be returned to Rousseau so her son can find a younger one that would be easier to handle.

At the moment, Ryan is out his money and his steer, but Rousseau said he's willing to help him out. Even if the steer never returns, Rousseau said he'll work something out with Ryan.

"I can always get a smaller one for him. I'm not one of these guys who walks away," he said.

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