Lee Pitts: Why Didn’t I Think Of That?
There have been a few inventions in the cattle business that made me say to myself, “Self, you big dummy, why didn’t you invent that?” I knew immediately that a gun you could shoot to vaccinate your cattle would be a winner. Now when you’re a little slow on the headgate and a crazy cow charges through, escaping the needle, instead of retrieving the witch on horseback all you do is load your gun or crossbow and shoot her, making sure it’s the vet gun and not the 30-30.
Another appealing invention is the Safety Zone Calf Catcher you attach to your ATV to catch a calf and then process it safely while the mother looks. I just don’t think it would work on any ranch I’ve ever leased because they were so rocky and steep you couldn’t climb them with an ATV. So I’m appealing to the inventor to make a mini-safety-corral you can attach to a horse.
A most recent invention I find intriguing should be popular with every rancher. It’s called the VaxMate® and it’s a cold box that keeps your vaccines between 35.6 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit and it sounds an alarm if conditions change. There are three places to hold your syringes, keeping them cold and out of harm’s way. You can even get a Sharps® device attached like you see in your doctor’s office to get rid of spent needles safely. I hate to think about how much medicine has been rendered useless because it was baking in a stainless steel syringe in the hot sun.
These all sound like great inventions and I’m not getting paid by anyone to say so.
I’ve had some great ideas myself. My first invention was “boxed beef” and I’m not talking about ribeyes in cardboard boxes. You’ve probably heard the government is trying to clamp down on the hours truckers drive so that cattle going from California to Nebraska might be left sitting while the driver takes a mandatory snooze. My idea is to create a system of modular boxes that can be lifted on and off just like the modules that haul everything else these days. A trucker would pick up the module at a ranch and when he reached his time limit he’d pull into a truck stop or auction market where his cargo would be lifted on to another flatbed and off another driver would go. The only problem I foresee is that the tower cranes I priced capable of lifting 55,000 pounds cost about a million and a half. That might be cost prohibitive for some ranches and auction markets and most of the truck stops I’ve ever eaten at.
We all know that someday the animal rightists will stop us from hot-iron branding. What I propose is using the same gun or crossbow you use to vaccinate, to deliver a paint ball filled with a weak acid whose impact will render a splatter pattern in the shape of your brand. (You’d better have good aim though or you’ll make life miserable for brand inspectors.) I haven’t worked out all the details yet.
Watching runners use their I phones for bio feedback I came up with the idea of using the same application on feedlot cattle and whenever an animal’s big red temperature light goes off over her head the pen rider will know to pull it. The only problem is it could get pricey putting I phones on 100,000 head.
My last idea is a horse trailer, but not just any horse trailer. I envision one that can be pulled by an ATV so that a cowboy can drive to a far flung corner of a ranch pulling a Gooseneck with his pickup, then switch to a four wheeler pulling his mini horse trailer until the terrain gets impossible at which time he’ll unload his horse. When he’s done he’ll reverse the process. This will save wear and tear on the horse who will probably show its appreciation by bucking off its rider the first chance it gets in retaliation for hitting every rock and pothole on the outbound segment of the journey. Then the downed cowboy can retrieve his saddle that got bucked off and instead of carrying it home he can haul it in Lee’s Out of the Ordinary Individual Equine Mini-Van. Our motto? The name’s longer than it is.