Cattle poachers killed a Red Angus cross calf near Rock Springs, took most of its prime cuts of meat and left the rest of the carcass to rot.
Deputies found the carcass Wednesday in the desert near mile marker 3 on State Highway 430, according to the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office. It’s thought that the calf was killed elsewhere before being dumped at that site.
“’Disgusting’ is the word that comes to mind. This (cattle poaching) isn’t something new. We’ve had cases of this occasionally. I just hope to hell they catch them,” Wyoming Farm Bureau spokesman Brett Moline told Cowboy State Daily.
Sheriff’s Office Asks For Help
The sheriff’s office put out alerts on social media asking for the public’s help in nabbing the person or people responsible.
“The poached animal is described as a short-yearling (this year’s calf) male Red Angus cross cow-calf,” according to the sheriff’s office.
The perpetrator(s) took the animal’s front and rear quarters, backstraps and tenderloins before dumping the rest of the carcass. The calf’s left ear also was cut off and taken. Cows’ left ears are typically pieced with a small tag identifying the owners, according to the sheriff’s office.
“Any correspondence from the public related to this case will be handled with discretion,” the sheriff’s office syas.
Cattle Thievery Still A Thing
Poaching cows might seem like a holdover from the Wild West days, but it still goes on, Moline and other Wyoming ranching experts told Cowboy State Daily.
“I know of people a number of years ago who were taking a van out into the Red Desert, shooting a cow, winching it into the van and away they’d go,” said Casper-area rancher and Cowboy State Daily agriculture columnist Dennis Sun.
A yearling calf is worth roughly $2,000 on the current market, he added.
Cattle poaching doesn’t seem to be as common as it once was, but it does still happen, said Wyoming Stockgrowers Association Executive Vice President Jim Magagna.
“I don’t hear many stories about that in Wyoming too frequently,” he said.
The remote vastness of places in Wyoming such as Sweetwater County can make cattle poaching more tempting for bad actors looking for free beef, Moline said
“As isolated as a lot of livestock is in Wyoming, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often,” he said.
Sun agreed that the remoteness of the Red Desert can lend itself to dirty deeds.
“You’re a long way from civilization out there,” he said.
He added that he hasn’t had any problems with cattle poaching on his place near Casper lately.
“But when we were running cattle over there in the Red Desert, it seemed like we always had a few go missing,” Sun said.
Better Ways To Get Food
Moline said that unless and until the Sweetwater cattle poachers get caught, it’s tough to say whether they stole the beef out of desperation or just because they thought they could get away with it.
“The best we can hope for is they whoever did this will be stupid enough to brag to somebody about it,” he said.
“There’s ways to get food if you need it. There are always people who are ready to help. To have to stoop so low as to steal from the livelihood of somebody else, that’s a double-bad whammy,” Moline added. “Nine out of 10 ranchers, if they were that hard up and they asked, would have just opened the freezer and given them some beef.”
Mark Heinz can be reached at email@example.com.