The Cowboys of Hawaii
If the livestock ever arrives, it may not be as healthy as advertised. Yet sometimes the old ways of protecting livestock are the most effective.
Trying to find stolen cattle without a brand is like trying to find a stolen truck without a license plate. Smaller ranches east of Interstate 35, Gray said, may not brand their animals, putting them more at risk.
Ride On, Texas Ranger
Each ranger runs large chunks of the state, and the miles logged tracking cattle thieves add up. The Special Rangers will quickly wear out their association-owned trucks by driving up to 35, miles each year. Rangers must have five years in law enforcement before joining the force, but more important for Gray is experience working with cattle. Not only do the rangers know how to round up cows, most of the thieves do too. It takes a professional who knows their way around a pasture.
John Darrell Green was a lifelong cowboy before his arrest. Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese is happy with the results of this elite law enforcement unit that likes to dub themselves Cattle Cops. Ninety-nine percent of the time, rustled cattle are sold in legal markets. Oklahoma has roughly 50 markets to sell cattle. Most of the thieves bill the cattle in as their own, which in itself is a criminal offense. Ward said his department has worked with the investigative unit from eight to ten times in the last two years. Flowers joined the Agriculture Department's investigative unit in and became its chief in In , the unit numbered 13, but budgetary restraints forced the unit to be reduced to nine agents.
Though created in to cover the entire state, by it was spending most of its time in southeast Oklahoma investigating wildfire arson. Locals along the Tres Palacios River reported finding piles containing as many as of the butchered animals. In some cases, these death heaps consisted of only the charred remains of bovine skeletons. Despite having warrants out for their arrest, the Lunn brothers had managed to evade the Matagorda County Sheriff, so the ranchers took matters into their own hands.
Just a few days prior, the citizen posse caught four of the gang members and hung three of them on the spot. A posse member by the name of Edward Anderson stepped closer, demanding the door be opened.
Cattle rustling case reminiscent of the Old West - Houston Chronicle
Suddenly, the end of a double-barreled shotgun emerged from the window and blasted Anderson straight to his grave. The posse unloaded a barrage of gunfire. Inside, they found only the body of Joe Grimes, perforated by 14 bullet holes. Cattle ranching is in the marrow of Texas identity. By the latter half of the 19th century, cattle ranchers could be found in almost every corner of the state and on either side of the Rio Grande. They operate throughout Texas and in some parts of Oklahoma, and are commissioned as peace officers by those states.
Michael the Texas Ranger and the Cattle Rustler
While they have the full power of the law, they are not paid for by taxpayers but by the TSCRA member base of more than 17, ranchers and businesses. Under such circumstances, cattle theft has become an ever more lucrative calling for modern-day outlaws. In many cases, those cattle are recovered when they go up for sale, says Barr. Cattle theft is a felony, and thieves in Texas face serious jail time. No one is hung for cattle rustling anymore, but some have been sentenced to years behind bars.
Today, Wells and Barr wind around the country roads, looking for any indication of what might have happened to the missing cattle.
- The Official Historical Center of the Texas Rangers by Appointment of the State of Texas.
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They turn off one back road and into a Christian summer camp, wondering if the rustlers made their escape through the campgrounds. Barr ponders the puzzle before him.
He was recently transferred to the area and is still getting the lay of the land. A newcomer just bought that property. It involves driving, making phone calls, more driving, then observing, and maybe stopping to knock on a door or two to look for witnesses. After a few hours, the men drive back to town, and Wells and Barr reminisce about the cattle-ranching days of their youth, when one or two big ranches stretched for thousands of acres and cowboys were living on the land.