Green’s Dictionary of Slang

punch cows v.

also punch bulls, ...cattle
[cow-puncher n.]

to be a cowboy.

Dly L.A. Herald 19 Nov. 2/3: It is quite a change to go West in a Pullman and then work your passage home by punching cattle.
[US]McCook Wkly Trib. (NE) 1 May 5/5: he would sooner be home crimping boots than punching cows.
[US]Dly Yellowstone Jrnl (Miles City, MO) 6 Aug. 3/2: Robertson [...] has been punching cows as hard as anybody during the past few days.
Wichita Daily Eagles (KS) 29 Oct. 4/5: The writer has known him for about twelve years [...] when he ‘punched cattle’ around this country.
[US]D.J. O’Malley ‘The Cowboy Wishes’ in Stock Grower’s Journal 7 Apr. [Internet] Oh, a rep is what I want to be, / And a rep, you bet, I’ll make. / At punching cows I know I’ll shine; / I’m sure I’ll take the cake.
[US]Eve. Star (DC) 24 Aug. n.p.: I have never seen him since he started across the prairie punchijng bulls.
[US]O. Wister Lin McLean 7: Been punching cattle long?
[US]News-Herald (Highland Co., OH) 31 Mar. 6/4: Hearty, ready for everything, from punching bulls to felling trees.
‘O. Henry’ ‘Hearts and Crosses’ Heart of the West 4: Me and you punched cows in the same outfit for years .
[US]R.A. Wason Happy Hawkins 10: You always was the most obstinate, high-headed, bull-intellected thin-skin ’at ever drew down top wages fer punchin’ cows.
[US]J. Lomax Cowboy Songs 58: And I’m goin’ punchin’ Texas cattle. [Ibid.] 61: I’ll quit punching cows in the sweet by and by.
[US]El Paso Herald (TX) 12 May 18/2: Frank Garrett says tghat he will ‘go punching cattle again’.
[US] ‘Joe Williams’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 185: I went to punching bulls for the Stock and Lumber Wood.
[US]C. Sandburg ‘The Lone Star Trail’ in Amer. Songbag 267: I’m the best dam cowboy that ever punched cattle.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 189: Went to the hoss, and slammed on my saddle, / Best damn rider that ever punched cattle.
[US]R.F. Adams Cowboy Lingo 237: Charley Cugar quit punchin’.
[US]S. Lewis World So Wide 183: ‘He would have been so useful as a singing cowboy – if he can sing.’ ‘If he can punch cattle.’.
[US] ‘Jimmie Tucker’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 67: Went to the hoss, and slammed on my saddle, / Best damn rider that ever punched cattle.