FURTHERMORE AND THE COW DECOYS
It may come as a surprise to you, but I have a younger sister. Itís true.
Mom and Dad didnít just give up in disgust after I was born. A real tribute
to the spirit of hope in the human species.
Anyway, my sister, Barbara, lives in Wyoming where she is a lawyer. This is
pretty much a great job. Only six people live in Wyoming and, apparently,
they are all in litigation against each other at any given moment. Hence
the need for at least one lawyeróand probably a great many more, knowing how
I give you all this extraneous detail about my secret family life because
it came up in discussion with Furthermore last night and Iím sure you wonít
take undue advantage of the information.
It seems that my sister, the lawyer, told me a story and I wanted to share
it with Furthermore because I found it so amazing.
My sister and I, by the way, are natives of Nebraska. I think this has
some bearing on the story but Iím not entirely certain.
It seems, according to my sister, that the newspaper in Cheyenne, Wyoming,
recently carried a story about hunters in that state. They, claimed the
newspaper, have adopted a trick from the more inventive hunters in Nebraska.
If the story is to be believed, these hunters are all after snow geese.
Iíd always thought snow geese were very beautiful birds. They are also,
apparently, dumb as fruit salad. This is Furthermoreís observation and I
see no reason to argue with it.
So, it seems that snow geese have no fear of cows. Indeed, cows and snow
geese seem to have some sort of friendly understanding. The geese wonít
give milk and the cows wonít fly. Or something like that. Anyway, they get
along and like to hang out together. Sort of a leather and feathers gang.
Sounds a bit like a fetish, but we wonít go there.
So, hunters have figured out that the way to sneak up on snow geese is to
look like a cow. I know. It sounds incredible. Or incredibly dumb. Or
So, the hunters are disguising themselves as cows. Thatís what the
newspaper story was all about. Wyoming hunters building life-sized cow
decoys. There were pictures. Trust me. Iím your Brother.
These decoys are homemade and two-dimensional. The really great ones are
hinged so, after a long day of popping snow geese, the hunters can fold up
the cow decoy and stick in the trunk or back of the pickup or wherever.
What they do, Iím told by my sister, is two hunters hide behind the cow
decoy and move slowly, acting like a cow, into the midst of a bunch of cows.
A bunch of cows is technically known as a herd. Anyway, they insinuate
themselves into a herd of cows, get close to the snow geese in the area and
blast cheerfully away, hopefully sparing the cows.
At first, this made no sense to me, whatsoever. If you want to catch snow
geese, you should dress up like snow geese. If you dress up like a cow, it
seems to me that youíre probably more interested in bagging a filet mignon
on the hoof, or at the very least, fresh hamburger.
I discussed this with Furthermore. At length. A three martini discussion.
At first, he was offended. The very idea of thinking that snow geese were so
stupid as to fall for this. Why, he screeched, it was an offense to all
Not so, I comforted him. I mean, look at human beings. Weíve got Wyoming
hunters making cow decoys on a pattern stolen from Nebraska. Not all humans
are that dumb. You just canít take offense at the idiocies of a small group,
you know? Birds or humans.
Which brings us to the final point: My sister, the lawyer. She told me
this story with a perfectly straight face. At no time did she crack a smile
or give any indication that this cow decoy story was anything but perfectly
true. Of course, thatís the lawyer genes coming through, I think. I mean,
theyíre trained to fake sincerity. Still, she is my baby sister, so I
listened and took notes like I really believed every word.
So, whoís dumber? The snow geese for their inability to tell the
difference between a Guernsey and a sheet of black and white plywood with
gunports? The cows, for even being a party to this scam? The hunters,
Wyoming or Nebraska, for thinking it up? Or me, for believing my sister the
lawyer, who is probably at this very moment regaling her friends and
colleagues with stories of her gullible brother and his equally witless
Anyway, on the off chance that this ploy really works, Furthermore and I
are building a two-dimension, life-sized model of a Porsche. We have no
idea what weíll catch, but, hey, you just never know, you know?