When Kyle Hoselton’s father came to him and suggested that they start keeping reindeer, Kyle didn’t ask why. Rather, he asked “Why not?” This is known as the laid-back approach to life. The Hoselton men agreed to the plan and went out and got their first three does: Maggie, Reba (as in McEntire, but no relation), and a lovely piebald named Panda. They found their new bulbous nosed pets charming, and enjoyed their company very much.“They’re happiest when it’s cold out,” said Kyle. “They frolic when they find the weather right for it, stamping around their pen and throwing their heads around. We have a shady patch of field that always holds on to the last bit of snow every year. They way they all gang up on eachother to lie on it, it’s like a giant game of Twister. When it’s hot out, they’re much more content in the shade.”
“They’re playful,” Kyle continued. “Once I was in the pen, fixing a piece of fence or something, and I kicked a ball that happened to be in there out of the way. One of the deer booked past me, caught it, and kicked it back. I never thought soccer could be in the reindeer vocabulary.”
“They’re loyal, too. One time my boy told me that one of the reindeer was standing at the door to the house. Sure enough there was Reba, just waiting on the porch like she wanted to sell me a vacuum cleaner. I don’t know how she got out of her pen, but with all of North Dakota laid out before her to explore, the first thing she did was to come check in on what I was up to. She’s a good girl.”
As good as Kyle’s reindeer are, though, it took a little while to figure out how they could help to earn their keep. Whittling their antlers into pens after they’d fallen off every year seemed like a sound plan at first, but the bone is hard, and it smells.
Kyle’s reindeer finally found their jobs on the farm, however, and now spend the holiday season shipping off to places throughout North Dakota in order to make them more festive. “We visit a lot of schools and nursing homes,” explained Kyle. “The reactions are always priceless. I once had a 105 year old woman come up to Reba, slowly turn around, and announce that she had spent her whole life up until then thinking that reindeer weren’t real. The little kids often ask me if my reindeer can fly. I tell them that I don’t know — that I’m always sleeping on Christmas Eve, so I couldn’t say if they do.”
To this day Kyle isn’t certain what initially drove his father’s line of thinking, but he doesn’t regret its outcome — Reindeer Ranch in Drayton, North Dakota is thriving, because demand for the beasts is rising. Kyle wants to grow his herd to a thousand head within the next five years, and then start shipping them out to other people who want to keep them as pets, or to show during Christmas.
Do you see the future as I do? A thousand reindeer, each cocoa-colored and adorned with a saucy set of antlers, all tramping around Kyle’s ranch like a small army ready to be split into invading forces for missions to far away lands. There they’ll settle, win over the locals with their ruminant charisma, and establish hoof-holds for even thorougher dominion. America will soon belong to Kyle’s reindeer. The spirit of Christmas will be ensured in tow.
If you would like to arrange for Kyle’s reindeer to come to your home, school, or place of business (they are very magnetic and will draw people in), then you can visit facebook.com/reindeerranchnd to learn more.
By David Scheller