Bull escapes in town

Len Engle knows how to talk bull.

The Coupeville farmer was one of eight or so farmers who helped corral a big Hereford bull that got loose in the middle of town Tuesday morning.

Engle talked the upset bull down from the edge, so to speak. “It needed to be calmed down,” he said. “I talked to it and it calmed down.”

According to Engle, Jim Arbuckle and Bob Bailey were hauling some cattle off the island. Coupeville Marshall Lenny Marlborough said the men didn’t notice that a latch on the trailer wasn’t working. When the truck stopped at the intersection of Highway 20 and Main Street, the bull decided to walk away.

“The driver said he looked at the mirror, saw a head sticking out of the trailer and thought, ‘Oh-oh,’” Marlborough said.

The men immediately shooed the bull off the highway. It roamed down South Main Street to the Terry Road area. A bunch of guys from Engles’ farm arrived to help catch the ton of beef.

Engle said the bull found some cows in the area and didn’t want to be separated from them. The bull started getting a little anxious when the men tried to take him away, so Engle had a little talk with the animal.

The secret, he said, is to speak in a quiet, calming tone.

“I talked to him like you would a pet. That helps,” Engle said. “At the same time, you don’t treat him like a pet. A bull is a bull.”

At nearly 2,000 pounds, an animal that size can be dangerous. Engle said the animal was “a good bull,” but the farmers still treated him with caution. Even a good bull can be unpredictable.

In the end, the bull was safely caught without injury to man or beast.

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