With beef prices up and smaller herds, Wyoming is experiencing an increase in cattle theft. Executive director of the Wyoming Beef Council, Ann Wittman said, “Nationally, we have the smallest cow herd in 60 years.” 

Wyoming Livestock Board investigator Jimmy Dean Siler said this year alone there have been an estimated five reported cases of missing cattle in the state.

This number may not seem significant but Wyoming is a state that reports one or two case a year and it’s only July. 

The Wyoming Tribune reports that a 50 to 100-pound calf can sell for up to $375 compared to $100 in 2000. Rustlers steal one or two cattle at a time, making it seem as though the rancher is experiencing natural loss. Border ranches are at higher risk, due to ease of access to state crossings.

It is tough to track stolen livestock because they often become food, but Wyoming investigators remain vigilant. Cattle theft is a felony and taken very seriously nationwide, it can come with a ten year prison sentence. "I've seen drug dealers not get as good a sentence as we would on a rustler," he said. "But if you ask any local, it (should be) hanging,” said Siler.

For more information on cattle theft prevention see the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association’s “Theft Prevention Tips” here.

Source: Wyoming Tribune Eagle