NEWFOUNDLAND, WAYNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Raising livestock can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. But, one local teenager, got more challenges than he bargained for when raising one steer this year, but he never quit.

Hunter Johnson of Union Dale, Pennsylvania, has been in 4-H for several years. He has been raising pigs for six years, but this was his first year trying to raise beef steer in the program.

“There’s animal projects and non-animal projects. This year I chose to do a market hog and a beef project,” said Hunter Johnson, steer wrangler of Union Dale.

His steer’s name is Chocolate Swirl, which he raised for the last year, but just days before the Harford Fair Showing and Auction, the steer was nowhere to be found.

“We got called, ‘Hey your cow is on the loose running around Union Dale.’ We were like ‘Okay we’re on our way.’ We find that his halter was taken completely off of him,” Johnson explained.

So the search for Chocolate Swirl began.

The community came together to help, searching for the lost steer through acres of land.

“Our one neighbor, we were on her property for three days straight. From sunup to sundown, from 5:30, 7:30 in the morning to midnight looking for him,” said Hunter’s mom, Carrie Reeder.

After days of searching, Johnson honed in on where Chocolate Swirl had been seen and set up fencing and another friendly cow to catch him.

“I went down to look over there and I come back and he’s just sitting there. Right in front of where the trailer was, right where I was,” Johnson said.

With a little help from mom, they were finally able to catch the wayward steer, But not until after the Harford Fair.

“The amazing people here at the GDS Fair got a hold of me and said ‘We would love to have Hunter come out and have a chance to show his steer.’,” Reeder said.

He was able to show and sell Chocolate Swirl, but even that wasn’t easy.

“We only had two days to get him from running in the pasture for eleven days and not running wild, to show ready. So to go from that to that is, people said it wasn’t gonna be done. But he didn’t give up,” Reeder explained.

Even though he lost money due to the steer’s wandering ways, he’s excited to get a new calf and start a new year.

Hunter hopes that anyone interested in raising their own livestock will jump at the opportunity.

“It’s fun, just if you have any questions make sure to ask people that have done it for years,” Johnson said.

Here’s to you, Hunter!

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