The feds have rogue rancher Cliven Bundy behind bars, but corralling his million-dollar herd of ornery cattle is proving to be a much more daunting task.
The 69-year-old landowner, whose ranch 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas was the scene of a 2014 standoff with the Bureau of Land Management, was arrested last month on charges related to the Nevada incident when he left his ranch to travel to Oregon, where his sons were involved in another standoff with federal officials. Meanwhile, his 1,000 head of cattle are still roaming federal lands due, in part, to his absence and also to what officials call his “unconventional, if not bizarre” ranching methods.
“Rather than manage and control his cattle, he lets them run wild on the public lands with little, if any, human interaction until such time when he traps them and hauls them off to be sold or slaughtered,” said court documents filed by federal prosecutors last month. “He does not vaccinate or treat his cattle for disease; does not employ cowboys to control and herd them; does not manage or control breeding; has no knowledge of where all the cattle are located at any given time; rarely brands them.”
Although federal authorities backed off from the 2014 standoff, the FBI monitored Bundy’s movements and nabbed him at Portland International Airport Feb. 10 as he attempted to travel to Burns, Ore., to join his sons and others at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He was charged with crimes related to the Nevada standoff, including assault with a deadly weapon on a federal officer, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and other counts. He is being held without bail.