The first hauling of logs was done by oxen or bulls. They hauled the logs in the early days from the woods to the mill, later from the woods to the landing or dump. A bull team was generally composed of from six to eight yoke of oxen. A yoke was two oxen joined by a wooden yoke.
Oxen were generally Brindle Durham, Durham, or Durham with Ayrshire, or some other breed, rarely if every mixed with Jersey. They ranged in weight from fourteen to eighteen hundred pounds. The Bull team averaged about two miles per hour both to and from the mill or landing. They were fed hay and a cheap bran mixture. On Sundays, if pasture were avail¬able, they were put out; to graze; otherwise they spent the time in the Bull pens.
The vocabulary of Bull Team Logging is fast being lost to the world, so we will attempt to define and explain some of the terms, before going into further details.
The most important animals of the whole team were the leaders. They had to place the team in the position for working. They had to respond to the voice com¬mands of the bull punch.
This was the last yoke of oxen next to the load. This expression was common with both bull and horse teams. It was their duty to hold the logs or wagon back.
A goad was a small pole, usually of oak, live oak, or laurel, about an inch in diameter at the large end, and a half inch at the small end. It was about six feet long and in the smaller end it had a small nail driven into it, and filed to a point. It extended about a quarter of an inch. This was used to prick the animal's tough hide, particularly during the train¬ing, and on a well-broken team, in case of an emergency, to make the animals move in a hurry to save their lives from a rolling log, or other possible disaster. Of course, this depended upon the individual Bull Puncher. Some were able to control their animals without the goad, and some used the goad very cruelly.
This was the right side of the team.
This was the left side of the team.
A post to which a bull was pulled up short. The post was rounded and quite heavy. A rope was placed on the bull and he was encouraged to circle the post sev¬eral times. As the rope was taken up the bull was securely "snubbed" and could be handled in any way desired.
A "U" shaped piece of iron, with a hole bored through open end, an iron pin in¬serted through one end then through a chain and into the other end and it was then closed with a cotter pin.
The Bull Punch or driver of the bullteam, was the highest paid man in the camp. He received equal pay with the foreman. A Bull Puncher had to know how to handle the bulls. It was not what he said, it was how well he said it that made the bulls
When the Bull Punch yelled "Haw", he was ordering the team to turn left.
"Gee" was the command for turning right.
A load depended entirely on the weight of the logs. This could range from five to twenty-five logs. (There have been stories of as many as 35 logs, but this was not common). The terrain and the ability of the team had much to do with the size of the load. The logs in the load were arranged according to size, the largest first.
The first logs were fastened with a bridle and if the logs were extremely large the two subsequent logs also had bridles. The lighter logs were fastened with a single chain and a "dog" at each end. The bridle consisted of two lengths of chain three or four feet long with a ring connecting the two chains. Each chain had a "dog" at the end, which was driven into the log.The bridle kept the log directly behind the team, prohibiting it from sheering to either side. If the load was heavy the use of more bridles assured that the entire load would have an even pull.
This was a piece of iron with a ring in one end, and a bend, a little more than a right angle, which was driven into the log. It was about five inches long. The side that had the strain was flattened so that it could pull the log. In the front log, a bridle was used which consisted of a dog on each side of the log connected by a chain, with a ring in the middle. The pulling line was pulled into this ring. If the logs were large, two or as many as three bridles might be used. The lighter logs could be coupled together with a single chain, with a "dog" at each end. Generally on top, as every log should be put on its "ride".