State Officials Investigating String Of Cattle Shootings In Nowata County

Monday, October 21st 2013, 6:23 pm
By: News On 6

Someone is taking aim at Oklahoma cattle, costing Nowata County ranchers tens of thousands of dollars.

The recent string of cattle shootings has caught the eye of the state Department of Agriculture.

Since we first told you about the shootings near Delaware, more ranchers have come forward claiming their animals have been targets.

The most recent shooting happened on Saturday. All of the victims live within a 15-mile radius of one another.

Monday, Department of Agriculture agents met with some of the victims, and the department says it hasn't seen a string of shootings like this in four years.

A makeshift meeting point inside a quiet county maintenance office served as the jumping off point for special agents

Ranchers who have lost cattle, dating back to the spring, shared their stories, hoping something might point investigators in the right direction.

10/19/2013 Related Story: More Cattle Shot In Nowata County

"There is an issue with that person, somebody that can just shoot an innocent animal or somebody's livelihood, for fun. There's some problems there that could generally lead to something more serious," said Special Agent Eddie Virden.

Virden said the number of livestock related deaths could be up to 10. He said shooting cattle can carry up to a $5,000 fine and five years in prison.

"It's a pretty senseless act. You know, right now the cattle prices are high and, I mean, they're worth anywhere from $1,500 to two-grand, you know?" said Special Agent Dusty Goforth.

Special Agent Dusty Goforth also spent the day going to the victims' land, taking pictures, collecting information and examining the bodies of livestock.

"It's how they make their living, and its a big amount off their income for the year," Goforth said.

"I'm encouraged to know that they are taking an interest in this," said rancher Rich Auer.

Auer said he hopes bringing in the state investigators will put a stop to this, hopefully in the form of an arrest.

Auer said he lost a cow about two weeks ago.

"It just makes you sick to think that somebody could do this," he said.

The Nowata County Sheriff's Office told us they suspect young adults, and someone that lives in the area.

The Department of Agriculture says it's too early to tell, but that they won't stop until all options are exhausted.

Special agents say public input can often make or break a case. If you know anything, you're asked to contact the Department of Agriculture, or call the Nowata County Sheriff's Office at 918-273-2287.