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Phantom cow hides near Bonner Springs golf course

Saturday, June 16, 2012 | 8:37 p.m. CDT

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. — A cow has taken up residence at a northeast Kansas golf course since escaping a cattle truck accident six weeks ago.

Nicknamed Bessie, the animal spends its time hiding in the woods surrounding the Sunflower Hills Golf Course in Bonner Springs, leaving behind droppings and drinking from the ponds.

Try as they might, no one has managed to catch the cow.

Course golf professional Jeff Johnson told The Kansas City Star that she's "one happy cow."

Bessie also is a survivor. The cow was one of dozens being transported from a Carrollton farm to a Kansas feed yard in late April when the truck drove off an Interstate 70 bridge. The truck tore up nearly 200 feet of guardrail, fell to the street below the bridge and burst into flames, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. The injured driver died two weeks later.

Bessie was the only cow to escape. After spending some time hiding behind a stone wall near the course, she emerged a few days later for food and water.

The Bonner Springs Police Department, Wyandotte County park rangers and the course's maintenance staff descended en masse but failed to capture her.

Johnson said hoof prints suggest that Bessie seems content to hang out in the leafy outskirts of the property.

"I think it's scared of the greens," he said. "It takes a couple steps and then it backs off."

A cattleman who is a friend of the course offered up a pen to capture the cow. The pen is equipped with a bucket of corn, water and a salt lick.

"We think the deer are eating more of the corn than the cow is," Johnson said, laughing. He added: "We think it's running with the deer at night to keep from getting too lonely."


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