As Beef Prices Rise, Rustlers Return

Aug 21, 2015

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association special ranger Doug Hutchison makes a visit to the Giddings Livestock Commission, Monday, June 22, 2015, in Giddings, Texas. Hutchison, one of 30 Special Rangers with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, photographs suspected stolen livestock, accesses the association’s databases of livestock brands and reports of missing animals and consults with sheriff’s offices.
Credit Eric Gay / Associated Press

In regional news, cattle prices are at a record high. And with high prices comes the rise of an old concern in ranching: rustling. Through July this year, The Texas Rangers have worked nearly 400 theft cases, reports The Washington Post. Cases of rustling continue to rise, though stealing cattle is a felony.

The crime isn’t new; the first rustler was imprisoned in Texas in 1849. But the methods for catching them have improved. Rangers now use smart phones to photograph cattle and access databases of livestock brands. Larry Gray of the Texas Rangers says marked or branded cattle have an 80 percent chance of being recovered. If the animals aren’t branded, the recovery percentage drops to 40 percent.