cattle rustling

CULTURA RF / Getty Images

When one things of cattle rustling, images of the old west come to mind, but it’s happening in Oklahoma even today.

As National Geographic reports, roughly one percent of the Sooner State’s millions of head of cattle – worth from $1,200 to $1,500 per head - are stolen every year, mostly by drug addicts who take them to legal markets to sell them.


In recent years, Oklahoma has seen a resurgence of a very old crime: cattle rustling. The Times Record reports that, often, these modern rustlers steal cattle to fuel their drug habits.

As Beef Prices Rise, Rustlers Return

Aug 21, 2015
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.

During annual inventory, it was discovered that 1.121 steer calves were missing from the Braums 24,000 acre facility in the Texas Panhandle.

On Sept. 9, BJ Holloway's life savings were stolen. Six cows worth about $10,000 were taken in the dead of the night from his land in Spencer, Okla.

BJ started raising cows when he was just a teenager. His parents gave him the first two, and he raised those until they had calves he could sell off to buy some more. Over the years, he kept doing that, breeding the cows and selling off the little ones. Raising cows is a business for BJ, and all of his savings are wrapped up in them, which made the theft of the cows absolutely devastating.

Cattle Rustling: Oklahoma and Texas up 40%

Aug 20, 2013
Steve Ritter

Cattle rustling is up almost 40% this year in Oklahoma and Texas.  State Impact Texas reported there are a number of reasons: