DAWSON -- Fresh fallen apples proved to be the cause of this steer's own down fall.
The 1,200-pound Black Angus may have thought he escaped his fate when a mix up occurred as the farmer who raised him backed his trailer up to the Country Butcher meat processing shop in Dawson on Monday morning.
Like a football running back, the steer spotted a gap between the trailer and entry to the butcher shop and took it. He gained about five or six city blocks on his "little jaunt'' to freedom.
"He probably had never been to town before,'' laughed Jill Storlien, who along with her husband John operate and own the local meat shop.
Storlien wasn't laughing yesterday. She was just driving into town and turning a corner when she saw the large steer on the loose and instantly knew where it really belonged.
"Not the way to start your day,'' she said.
The steer made his escape shortly after 8 a.m. Storlien jokingly said her husband and others quickly donned their cowboy hats and lassos (and pickup trucks) and began the round up.
Dawson Police officer Nick Vorvick took the call of a "cow on the loose.'' "I didn't believe it,'' the officer said.
At first everyone thought they might be able to guide the steer back to the butcher shop by pulling their vehicles in front of him, but the steer was not cooperating.
"We didn't have a rope or anything,'' said Vorvick.
The pursuers kept him in their sights, and the steer ambled through back yards before coming across the fresh fallen apples.
He stopped, and began munching on his last meal when the officer fired the shot that instantly put him down. City workers, who had been part of the posse in pursuit of the runaway, used a city front end loader to haul the body back to the butcher shop.
Storlien said she and her husband are relieved that no one was hurt in the incident.
The steer was promptly processed. Its next departure from the butcher shop will be as packaged steaks and ground beef.