Ranchers and law enforcement officers say rustling has become a multimillion dollar problem in the U.S. as high beef prices have made cattle an attractive quick score for people struggling in the sluggish economy.
There's no clearinghouse that tracks thefts nationally. But the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association says some 4,500 cattle have been reported missing or stolen this year in Texas and
Oklahoma rancher Ryan Payne says he never expected to be a theft victim because his pasture is so far off the beaten path, "you need a helicopter to see it."
Then last month he found piles of entrails from two Black angus calves thieves slaughtered on site.
Cattle aren't the only target. Thousands of lambs and hogs also have been stolen from farms.