Cattle rustling is up almost 40% this year in Oklahoma and Texas. State Impact Texas reported there are a number of reasons:
- Cattle are worth more. Ranchers have reduced herd numbers because of the drought, and the remaining cattle are more valuable.
- Increased number of hobby ranchers. Hobby ranchers tend to check on their herds less frequently, making them more vulnerable to theft.
- Cattle are hungry, and can be lured in more easily. Once again, due to the drought.
- The economy. Recovery hasn’t occurred in many parts of Texas, and some are willing to rustle cattle.
Texas penalties for rustling were increased in 2009, but the current increase seems to suggest tougher laws are not a deterrent.