Double Standard: Cattle Rustlers and Wolves

It seems cattle rustling is a problem in the Great Basin, where three states converge (Oregon, Nevada and Idaho)  Cattle are being stolen but ranchers have been reluctant to point fingers.  Hmmmm. That seems odd.  When wolves are accused of killing livestock, Wildlife Services is called in to remove so called “depredating wolves” quicker then you can say holy cow…BUT when ranchers lose cows to theft…mums the word?

“Out of pride and a reluctance to point a finger at neighbors, ranchers in the vast Great Basin outback where Oregon, Idaho and Nevada come together have been slow to admit that someone in their midst, perhaps even someone they know from barbecues and brandings, has been stealing cattle. Just who is doing it, and how they have gotten away with it for at least three years, remains a mystery.”

It wasn’t until last summer that ranchers overcame their reluctance to talk to the law and each other about the problem.  It was discovered that 1200 cattle have disappeared, who can’t be accounted for from natural mortality.  

Ranchers don’t seem to have a problem reporting wolves for cattle losses.  I guess there’s a double standard going on here.

“Ranchers are keeping closer watch on their cattle, even with hidden cameras, and taking counts every time a herd moves through a gate, so they can report a theft sooner.”

So ranchers will take steps to keep a closer eye on their cattle when rustlers are involved and spend the money needed to protect their investment.  Interesting isn’t it?

And they admit turning their cows loose on the wide open range, unsupervised.  What a surprise.

“Bred cows are turned loose on rangeland far from home and left on their own for months at a time. The only good count of what the weather, predators, disease, poisonous weeds and now rustlers have left comes at the fall gather.”

“Jordan Valley ranchers Rand and Jane Collins swim their cows across the Owyhee River to get them to their federal allotment in February, and don’t see them again until June or July, when they brand the new calves.”

So let me get this straight.  Rustlers are stealing cattle on large open ranges, where cattle are left unsupervised but it wasn’t until recently that ranchers were willing to admit to the problem?  Yet there is no reluctance to report suspected wolf predation?

“It’s not the kind of thing you like to admit,” Rand Collins said. “There’s always the chance as the season goes along that the cattle will turn up, and then you look like a fool for crying wolf.”

Crying wolf seems to be what many ranchers can’t stop doing.


Rustlers ride wideopen range of Great BasinRustlers ride wideopen range of Great Basin

Rustlers take advantage of vast empty Great Basin country to plague cattle ranchers,0,3642978.story

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, public land degredation by livestock

Tags: cattle rustling, wolves or livestock

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kevin Stewart, Nabeki. Nabeki said: Double Standard: Cattle Rustlers and Wolves: […]


  2. This goes to the heart of the matter. Wildlife needs to have priorty over livestock on public lands. Many ranchers practice what I call release and forget ranching on public land. Our land! The pay a small fee that has not increased in many, many year. Name me one thing that has not increased in cost from one or two years ago? Not only do the release their cattle on “Our Land” , They do so while many are being subsidised with our tax dollars. Oh my the poor rancher my butt! I should have it so good. Only when wildlife have priorty over cattle will wolves stand a chance. Marc


    • I completely agree Marc. Thing is they’ve been getting away with this year after year…BUT now the light is shining on them because wolves are being hunted as game animals. The double whammy. WS is as big of a threat to the wolves as hunting, probably bigger. WS is the rancher’s private wolf extermination service with tax dollars.


  3. Where’s the gunship going over the local town shooting down people in the street suspected of rustling? Heck don’t stop with the one person, wipe out the entire family – kids and all because you can’t be too careful! Even if they don’t get the right ones – surely it’d teach those who survive to behave.


  4. dansk. At udsætte kvæg i vildmarken, er det samme som at tage selv bord , fra andre dyr— menneske-kvæg-tyve. Hvis man elsker sine KVÆG, holder man jo øje med dem, og optællingen skal jo ikke foregå hvert 1/2 år. = risiko for tab, af sin besætning.!!!— STOP krigen— mod ulvene, det er farmenes skyld, og min ven ulven , som jeg elsker så højt, må have fred fra farmene, = stop krigen, med at forbyde uansvarlige farmer med at flytte ud til ulvens land, og give ulvene hele skylden, for drab på dyr, menneskene er de værste ROVDYR—- morder—- HVOR ULVENE LEVER– der trives skoven.


  5. ulvene skal have deres land tilbage—– farmene UD = krigen stoppes.Jeg elsker ulve—– alle dyr. retfærdighed for ULVEN. DANSK- DANICH


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