Cattle Rustlers Steal 80 Bred Cows in Baca County, Colorado

December 28, 2022

Steve McEndree runs cattle in the vast country of Baca County, Colorado, an hour from Kansas and an hour from Boise City, Oklahoma. Doctoring calves in dust and wind has been the priority as of late and has consumed a great deal of his time. The pasture of bred cows had feed and water and the calves took priority.

McEndree began feeding bred cows at the beginning of the month, and he noticed not all of them were coming to feed. After a thorough check in the area and from the air, he confirmed that 80 black-hided bred cows were missing and were reported stolen.

The pasture where 180 cows were located is just across the road from a good set of corrals. McEndree said the cattle were cake broke and he guesses they were led or pushed across the road and loaded onto two semis in the early days of December.

"It's a pretty good set of corrals so it would have been real easy to have done," McEndree said. "That was right after we weaned and we were doctoring calves and it was taking all day to get that done."

Blowing dirt and windy conditions destroyed any tracks that were left. McEndree said the cows would have made two heavy truckloads and that's what he suspects happened. With even just three experienced people, he said they could have been loaded and back on the road in an hour. This is, however, frustrating to think people involved in the cattle business could be at the root of the theft.

Due to calve beginning on May 1, the cows bear either the S JM (connected) or the Lazy TC connected followed by a quarter circle on their left hip. Most of the cattle are wearing blue Y-Tex ear tags and are predominantly black.

Colorado's Operation Livestock Thief program is offering an award up to $2,500 for information leading to the conviction of this criminal. All leads should be reported to the Baca County Sheriff’s office at 719-523-6677.

The Colorado Brand Board has been notified and Brand Commissioner Chris Whitney has informed surrounding states of the missing livestock. 

If you have any information regarding these cattle or have heard any information that could be helpful for this report, please contact the Baca County Sheriff’s office at 719-523-6677. 

Source: Rachel Gabel, The Fence Post Magazine