A man who sawed logs into lengths. Directions for buckers were laid down by Camp Boss, who announced what lengths were wanted. He also stated the rules such as where to cut in the vicinity of branches, also that crooked trees were to be cut in the middle of crooked portion.
When the log was down, the Buckers and Barkers (sometimes called Peelers) came in to work. Generally, the choppers were through with the immediate area when the Buckers and Barkers came in, because of the danger from the falling trees. Either the Buckers or Barkers, depending on the immediate situation, would re-move the limbs from the trees.
In the earliest days, Buckers worked in pairs but eventually they preferred to work alone. It was found that a man, working alone, could accomplish more in the long run than a pair. Probably, because he set his own pace and did not have to wait each time for his partner to return the saw (across the log).
A heavy mat of brush and limbs to make a bed on which to fall the tree.
Steers were never used as work oxen as their necks were too thin and they could not stand the pressure of the yoke on their necks under pulling conditions.
The most important animals of the whole team were the leaders. Upon the lead-ers depended the driver's ability to place his team in the necessary position to do the work; controlled only by the driver's voice, giving directions, assisted by the judicial use, but not abuse of the goad stick. Where the leaders went, the rest of the team had to follow. So it behooved the driver to have a perfectly controlled pair of leaders, which took plenty of time and patience to accomplish.
The yoke, to which the bull must be broken, depends upon the size of the bull and the work that he was to do in the team. The largest bulls were used to make up the swing and wheelers of the team. A yoke consisted of a piece of timber about eight by twenty-tour inches and about five feet long, according to the size of the animal to be used. The lighter the animal the lighter the yoke and vice versa.
The best timber for yokes was found to be Bull (Bishop)- Pine, It was not straight grained like pine or fir, and did not split easily, dried fairly light. The pitch it contained preserved it and kept the yokes from rotting out easily in the winter slack season. The pitch in the wood had a toughening effect on the bull's neck and helped prevent gall sores. Probably the pine tar had a therapeutic effect. The timbers for the yokes were mi11-sawed. Then heavy iron eye bolts and rings were put through the center of each yoke.
The block of wood is cut out on a curve near each end and very carefully smoothed to fit over the animal's neck; holes are bored through the yoke on the end of each curve about one to one and a half inches in diameter to accommodate a U shaped piece of wood called a bow, which was made of second-growth ash, which was steam bent and fitted. The curved portion of the yoke is placed on the animal's neck, then the bow is shoved up from the bottom holes in the yoke and pins of wood are inserted through holes in the bow, above the yoke to keep them from falling down and off. The yokes were generally hoisted up on a block and tackle and dropped down on the both animals' necks at the same time, and pinned into position.
The easiest method of breaking oxen was to use a broken ox for the first leader. Then it was easier to break your range bull for the "off" side, when looking at the team from the rear. The range bull was snubbed close to the snubbing post in the corral. Then a hole was punched through his nostrils and a bull ring was inserted. The halter chain was snapped on the bull ring to control him. It was remarkable to see what control a man could have over a fairly mean bull, by pulling on the tender nostril tissue. It didn't take long for them to learn that it was less painful to behave than it was to fight the ring.
The animal was then roped and thrown. It often took three men and a boy to ac-complish this, He was then "hog tied" and the yoke was placed on his neck and the bow put in position and well secured to the yoke. He was then led into position and his end of the yoke was secured to him.
Previously, an old stump had been prepared, to which had been spiked a young ash sapling to be used as a pole, about four inches in diameter, at the smallest end through which was attached a ring bolt to be connected to another ring bolt which was down through the center of the yoke between the two animals. This was dragged with a team "chain up" parallel to the creature's body and attached by a shackle to the yoke.
Then the broken ox was yoked up to the "wild" one and their tails securely fastened together with baling wire, so that he could not move his rear end away from the tongue or pole, in which case he would have snapped the bow like a match stick and would have been free of the yoke.