The Versatility of Bessie Moo Cow
The three of us eased ever closer to the drainage where an hour before we’d spotted the group of mule deer bucks bedded. A lot of the Nebraska landscape is open so that the spot-and-stalk method of hunting is about your only option. That is unless you’re a crack shot with a rifle and have no problem shooting at targets several hundred yards away. We were bowhunting.
If trying to fling an arrow at a wiley muley on the Nebraska prairie isn’t tough enough, the landscape is ridiculously hard to traverse. It may look open and easy, yet it’s anything but. There are several species of cacti there that would take turns putting their sharp little spines into our hands and knees every time we lowered ourselves to the ground.
In the short-grass prairies of western Nebraska, you will also find a plant that looks like a palm (actual name undetermined) and sounds like a covey of quail erupting when you barely brush it. So with three grown men doing their best to get within bow range of the group of bucks, we needed to tilt the odds in our favor. Bessie Moo Cow rose to the occasion.
Cows & Wild Game
You may know Big Red. He’s our red angus stalking decoy that’s been around for some time. This year, we’re introducing his counterpart, Bessie. Bessie Moo Cow.
Bessie is a slightly different take on our previous stalking shield concept. Unlike Big Red, who appears to be standing broadside, Bessie’s is a face-forward pose. She exudes a curious posture.
If you’ve ever studied cows, especially those with young ones, then you’ve probably noticed they aren’t much different from a momma bear or moose when it comes to protecting their offspring. Like any herd animal, cows feel most comfortable in a group. When an unfamiliar critter gets too close, or if they smell something suspicious, some of the alpha cows won’t hesitate to investigate. This is most true among the free-ranging herds you’ll find throughout the western United States.
Mule deer, whitetails, turkey, and elk cohabitate with cattle some of the year. So Bessie fits right in to these areas. It’s not uncommon for this cohabitation to lead to somewhat aggressive standoffs, most often instigated by the cow. As physical contact is rare between a cow and a wild game animal, the latter will see Bessie Moo Cow’s aggressive posture as a normal part of their daily interactions.
Bessie Moo Cow
“Incorporating Bessie Moo Cow into our decoy lineup was a no-brainer,” said Jerry McPherson, Montana Decoy’s founder and lead product designer. “The face-forward pose lends itself to stalking toward a wild game animal while the handle (on the back of the decoy) makes moving with a decoy easier than ever.”
Bessie is slightly smaller than Big Red. This makes her easier to handle on the oft-windy days you’ll experience out in the open. Plus, adding a black angus to our line of stalking decoys gives hunters an additional option depending on the surrounding cattle population.
Unfolded, Bessie Moo Cow is 32 inches wide and 50 inches long. Folded, she’s a compact 12 by 24 inches. Best of all is her weight. We’ve shaved a few ounces off this stalking shield to just 43 ounces, and that’s including the leg poles.
Back to the Hunt
There was one old buck in particular we were after. Man, he never knew what hit him. All three of us were able to squeeze in behind Bessie mostly thanks to the built-in handles on the back. It was windy that day and those handles allowed the lead guy, holding the decoy, to keep it upright.
Even though every deer in the group was at first on high alert, they quickly let their guard down once they discovered it was just another black angus ambling around the area. Even though the wind was swirling a bit, it remained mostly in our favor. Bessie’s size made it easy to draw back and let an arrow fly. The buck went 40 yards and moved no more.
“When all else fails on a hunt, the bovine is usually given free range to move among just about any wild game animal,” said Jerry.