At-large mare finally corralled
By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor
Pictured: Originally purchased at a US Bureau of Land Management sale, this lovely sorrel mare eluded deputies for nearly five weeks until she was finally captured on Tuesday, July 8.
In addition to investigating burglaries, stolen vehicles, assaults et al, deputies with the Bandera County Sheriff's Office were recently required to report for duty in the best Cowboy Capital tradition.
Since May 28, county law enforcement officers had attempted to corral a mustang originally purchased at a Bureau of Land Management auction. After a series of somewhat lax owners, the mustang found itself on the lam - and lovin' it - in Bandera County.
According to Sheriff Daniel "Dan" Butts, after much travail, the marauding mare was eventually corralled on Tuesday, July 8, on a 200-acre property on Lower Mason Creek Loop. She is now tucked in safe and sound on a ranch near Tarpley.
BCSO Capt. Shane Merritt said that the sorrel mare was originally reported loose on property in the 500 block of Lower Mason Creek Road. After being dispatched to the area, Deputies Rick Neely and Charles Haffer quickly spotted the horse, which stands 14 to 15 hands high. "It was really 'spooky' and they were unable to get it at that time," Merritt said - nor, as it turned out, on many subsequent visits to the area.
"The horse was going back and forth between two or three properties in that area," Merritt added, "It must have thought it was in heaven. It was belly deep in grass and had plenty of water."
On July 3, deputies set up portable panels, forming a round pen and began tempting the horse with a bucket of grain. However, each time the deputies began closing in, the skittish and smart horse would shy away. On July 8, she was finally corralled.
"I went out with Lt. Danny Bowermaster and when I got her in the pen with a bucket of sweet feed, Danny closed the panel and we had her," Merritt recalled. Glenn Rainey, appointed Bandera County wrangler, was called and he and his son, Cody, loaded the recalcitrant mare into a horse trailer. "The horse actually chased Cody into the trailer," Merritt said.
The mare was taken to an impound facility on Kyle Ranch Road where she will remain until July 28. If the mustang is not claimed by that date, she will be sold at public auction.
According to Merritt, mustangs adopted from BLM have identifying freezemarks below the mane on the left side of the neck. Through that brand, he traced ownership of the mustang - up to a point. A Hondo resident had originally adopted the mare.
BLM rules state that after a year, the adopter actually "owns" the animal. The original owner apparently traded the mare after keeping her for a year to someone who, in turn, traded her to an unknown individual. "No one apparently remembers any names or anything else so we couldn't make a connection as to a final owner," Merritt said.
Reporting to the commissioners on Thursday, July 10, Butts described the mare as "wild as all get out," praising his deputies for their perseverance and tenacity. "I wanted to take her directly to the sale, but we have to go in accordance with the law," Butts told the court.
After impounding the mare for the requisite time period, county authorities will transport her either to the Gillespie County Livestock Auction or the Medina County Livestock Auction in Hondo - "whichever sale is being held the closest to when her hold period is up," Merritt explained.
Whatever the little mare's fate will be, at least she had five weeks of freedom on 200 acres of the beautiful Texas Hill County grazing in grass that was "stirrup high."