Cattle Rustling Makes a Major Comeback

"I had a case a couple of years ago," Mast said. "Guy showed up in a little subcompact, opened up the trunk, and they pulled out two calves. That was kind of a clue they were stolen."

But, for the most part, stopping this crime is the responsibility of the rancher, which is why they've added another ritual to the day -- counting cattle. They do it religiously to make sure they haven't lost any more.

"I never did lock anything, but this is going to force us to," Allen said. "You lock up a gate and a cheap pair of pliers will cut the fence."

Emerson said, "We are going to force them to cut the fence. The good thing is we are patrolling the fences two or three times a day, day or night. If you find it cut, there's a pretty good chance they are in there right then."

And if a cattle rustler gets caught red-handed, look out.

"A man would hate to shoot somebody over a lousy cow, but I probably would," Allen said, "and I hit what I shoot at."

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