Cattle confiscation in Bunkerville comes to an abrupt end, but what comes next?

Cliven Bundy forks hay. (R-J photo by John Locher)

The Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze — a former aide to Sen. Harry Reid and a former Elko resident who just recently was named to head up the agency — released a statement today calling off the confiscation of privately owned cattle from public range land near Bunkerville. His statement implied a fear that continuing the operation might devolve into gunfire:

“As we have said from the beginning of the gather to remove illegal cattle from federal land consistent with court orders, a safe and peaceful operation is our number one priority. After one week, we have made progress in enforcing two recent court orders to remove the trespass cattle from public lands that belong to all Americans.

“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public. 

“We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner. 

“Ranching has always been an important part of our nation’s heritage and continues throughout the West on public lands that belong to all Americans. This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.”

Yes, it is a matter of fairness and equity. At one time there were 52 cattle ranchers in Clark County. Cliven Bundy, whose family has run cattle in the area since 1880, long before there was a BLM, is the last of the breed.

Twenty years ago the BLM, as it is wont to do, came to Bundy and flat out told him he could not graze his federal allotment in the spring to prevent his thousand-pound cows from stomping on little baby desert tortoises, as recounted by then-Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Vin Suprynowicz.

Up until then, Bundy paid the BLM so much per head per month to “manage” the public lands.

His cattle were being kicked off the range even though biologist Vern Bostic had demonstrated decades earlier that desert tortoises do better where cattle are grazed, the column said. He stopped paying for such “management.”

Bundy was also told to remove all his water tanks and the lines that feed them from local springs. Never mind that water rights are granted by the state and federal government is not allowed to interfere with those rights.

The column reported:

“But what’s real-world, empirical evidence provided by local yokels with calloused hands and funny western drawls, to ‘experts’ who’ve got the proper college degrees?

“The only time cattle will fatten on a desert range is in the springtime. Cliven explained to the BLM guys that he had no big feed lot on which to hold his cattle during the spring — even if he could afford to do so, with hay now at $400. The only option they were giving him was to sell his cattle for slaughter in February, and then to buy new stock and put them on the land in July. He says the BLM guys told him that would be fine.”

“But from mid-summer through February, cattle on a desert range LOSE weight. Besides which, ‘You can’t bring in cattle from elsewhere and start them in this desert,’ Bundy explains. ‘If they’re not raised on this range by their mamas, who show them what to eat, those cattle starve.'”

“But you can’t outlast the federal government, nor beat them with logic, principle, hard work or evidence.”

According to reports today, federal agents have brought in backhoes and torn up Bundy’s water pipes. Will the federal government reimburse him for his lost water rights? Sounds like a willful act of sabotage.

Also, there is no word as to what will happen to the 400 head of cattle the federal government has already rounded up.

Even though Bundy is in the headlines, the same thing is happening quietly all over the state.

J.J. Goicoechea — veterinarian, rancher, chairman of Eureka County Commission and past president of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association — says the federal land agencies are using drought, sage hens and wild horses and any other excuse to kick ranchers off the land.

Goicoechea estimates Nevada has lost half of its breeding cows over the past three years — approaching 300,000, down from more than a million in the 1980s.

“We’re on a bubble right now. If we get this reversed and we get some moisture and we get what we need to get a green up, some of these guys can survive,” Giocoechea said. “They can bring their cattle back and see over the next couple of years a rebuild. If they liquidate and go away that next generation isn’t going to be there to fill their shoes. … The next 12 months will be critical to the livestock industry in the state of Nevada, and that will dictate whether we’re here in 10 years or not.”

Fox News quoted Bundy as saying“Years ago, I used to have 52 neighboring ranchers. I’m the last man standing. How come? Because BLM regulated these people off the land and out of business.”

Bundy, 67, is the last rancher standing in Clark County. It is questionable, in the face of BLM mismanagement, how long he and others of his ilk can survive.


49 comments on “Cattle confiscation in Bunkerville comes to an abrupt end, but what comes next?

  1. Wendy Ellis says:

    This is more than heavy handed on the part of the Feds. I don’t think they would be doing this so easily if certain our State and Regionl officials (elected and unelected) were not complicit.

  2. Milty says:

    I guess the BLM people should have the read the Army’s manual on how to put down a domestic insurrection and keep us all subjugated.

  3. Bruce Feher says:

    I fear this is only the end of the beginning and that the Federal THUGS will be back.

  4. Steve says:

    AP reporting all 400 head released.

    The question, truly is, what comes next?

    We really need to hear the details of the agreement they reached today.

  5. Steve says:

    Steve Sebelius twit feed:
    Statement from @HarryReid, @repdinatitus and @RepHorsford doesn’t say “gov’t surrenders to protesters,” but that’s what it means.

  6. nyp says:

    I guess the only people permitted to violate the law with impunity are old white guys with guns.

  7. Steve says:

    “I guess the only people permitted to violate the law with impunity are old white guys with guns.”

    I think conservatives are learning from liberal tactics…protest in numbers works.

    Of course, the BLM didn’t have to escalate the situation by creating a “first amendment area” which was what really incensed patriots countrywide. The protest didn’t even get legs until that happened.

  8. nyp says:

    Lefties protesting at national political conventions get routinely herded into “first amendement areas.” I can’t recall Thomas Mitchell complaining.

    Is the lesson that the Occupy movement should take from this that next time they should bring guns?

  9. Steve says:

    I think OWS needs to do something about the need for “rape free” zones before it comes back to prominence.

    The fact you guys put up with that says a whole bunch about you. (not good)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Don’t know what you are talking about, but I know it is irrelevant.

  11. Steve says:

    Not sure if “Anonymous” is saying anything at all, or who the reply is for.
    So I know “Anonymous” post is irrelevant.

  12. Milty says:

    Nyp: What do you think the feds should have done in this situation?

  13. Steve says:

    I think Nyp believes the “first amendment area” is normal procedure….and that says tons about lefties…the fact they would put up with being herded into special zones to exercise their first amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.

    Lefties are used being herded.

    Lefties think the bill of rights is only applicable if their masters “allow” it.

    Conservatives just proved that is false.

  14. Milty says:

    “Lefties think the bill of rights is only applicable if their masters ‘allow’ it.”

    Lefties also think the Bill of Rights is applicable so long as it’s interpreted correctly, i.e., the way the lefties think it should be interpreted.

    Case in point: Retired Justice Stevens believes that the 2nd Amendment should be re-written, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.” This would make the wording of the amendment conform to the lefties’ interpretation of what it means.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Milty – you do realize, don’t you, that you managed in one sentence to disprove the (stupid) assertion that you made in the previous sentence?

  16. Steve says:

    “Anonymous” went for “stupid” first! This signals “anonymous” argument is incapable of holding water.

  17. Milty says:

    You do have a point, Nyp. I should applaud Justice Stevens for acknowledging that the Roberts Court has interpreted the 2nd Amendment correctly, and for advocating that the lefties’ only valid recourse is to have the amendment re-written to conform to their way of thinking.

    Thank you for correcting me on this.

    By the way, how many amendments in the Bill of Rights have been re-written?

  18. Milty says:

    So what do you think the feds should have done in response to the threats of violence, Nyp?

    And do you think President Putin has stopped laughing at the federal response to this situation yet?

  19. nyp says:

    I don’t know, since I’m a bit removed from the situation.

  20. Reziac says:

    The study on tortoises vs livestock is here (PDF)

    Boils down to… the more livestock, the more and healthier tortoises, cuz their primary source for water and for a balanced diet is… cow dung!!

  21. Steve says:

    “Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life.” ~Bob Marley –

    Perhaps Nyp’s peeps should listen to an original Liberal and abolish their own “first amendment areas” at all gatherings everywhere.

  22. nyp says:

    I’m flattered, but it is not clear to me that Bob Marley was a liberal.

  23. Milty says:

    My guess is that Bob Marley was a libertarian.

    There are left wing libertarians who were more prevalent during the 1960s (don’t draft me and don’t take away my drugs) and right wing libertarians who are more prevalent today (don’t tax me and don’t take away my guns). Marley seems like he would’ve been a left wing libertarian.

  24. Steve says:

    Bob Marley was most definitely a Liberal.

    Thing is Liberal used to mean something…today its been butchered into something very different.
    In many ways today’s liberalism has become the very thing Liberals were fighting so hard to eliminate.

    The political pendulum is reaching a peak and it appears today’s butchered meaning for the word “Liberal” is headed for the down swing.

  25. Milty says:

    Steve, I would agree with you that Bob Marley was a liberal if you apply past conceptions of what “liberal” meant.

    When I was in school way back when, I was taught that liberals believed in liberty, which as you pointed out is a far cry from what liberalism is today.

    That was why I said he was probably a libertarian. But back then, yes, he would’ve been considered a liberal.

  26. Steve says:

    We should always be reminding today’s libby peeps what Liberal used to mean and what it used to stand for…eliminating much of what today’s libs have become.

    What happened at Bunkerville today was a perfect example of old time liberal protest. (the only difference is they had loaded guns they did not use…unlike bombing buildings in Chicago) This protest was peaceful and informative. Even as tensions were at a peak all through it.

  27. Winston Smith says:

    I’m glad everything seems to have been worked out, but I doubt anyone will be shocked if we see a replay in a year or so, if not before.

    BTW, I try not to validate the false left/right paradigm, since it’s been seriously skewed over the last few decades (if not before). To me, at least, every society and culture on the planet has three types of people: tyrants, sheep and freemen. We just saw what happens when freemen resist the sheep that work for the tyrants.

    War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ignorance is Strength

  28. Ejf says:

    The govt bureaucrats are realizing (perhaps for the first time in a long time) that the first amendment area is called the USA

  29. Anonymous says:

    So liberalism was good during the ’60s and ’70s, but it is bad now.

  30. Steve says:

    Liberal was a very different thing back then Bob Marley’s day.

    Today “liberalism” has become the very thing those in Bob Marley’s day were fighting to eliminate.
    Today’s liberal has become its own enemy.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Yeah. I remember that back in the ’70s liberalism was all about liberty and the right to graze your cattle on public land without paying grazing fees. Oh, and ganja. Lots and lots of ganja.
    That’s why Bob Marley sang “I exercised my Second Amendment remedies on the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy.”

    Today’s liberalism is such a sad departure from that.

  32. Steve says:

    Good example of today’s liberal, that.

    Thanks for proving my point.

  33. nyp says:

    I see we had another Second Amendment moment today in Kansas.

  34. Steve says:

    “You’re on the Island of Conclusions.”
    “But how did we get here?” asked nyp.
    “You jumped, of course,” explained Canby. “That’s the way most everyone gets here. It’s really quite simple: every time you decide something without having a good reason, you jump to Conclusions whether you like it or not. It’s such an easy trip to make that you, nyp, have been here hundreds of times.”
    “But this is such an unpleasant looking place,” nyp remarked.
    “Yes, that’s true,” admitted Canby; “it does look much better from a distance.”
    As he spoke, at least eight or nine more modern libby’s sailed onto the island from every direction possible.

  35. Rincon says:

    How’s the view from that glass house of yours Steve?

  36. Steve says:

    Same as yours Rincon!

  37. A.D. Hopkins says:

    I knew Vern Bostic and read his research — not somebody else’s reports of his research, but his own papers. He was clearly a careful and objective scientist. Federal agencies RELIED on Vern Bostic’s research for other decisions. One suspects that in this case, they didn’t because his conclusions were not to their liking. But they were doubtless correct.

  38. Robert Frank says:

    Back to the basic question: what proof has there EVER been that range herds damage the abilities of such animals as turtles (any size), grouse, or anything else to “survive”? I grew up on a dairy farm and have observed cattle behavior in rural areas for thousands of hours for many years.

    I believe a competent group of honest scientists have previously destroyed claims by government shills paid to create false science claiming that cattle cause serious harm to so-called “endangered species”. Where are the reports by HONEST/ETHICAL scientists to help inform the public on the truth of government criminal malfeasance?

  39. Steve says:

    Definitely NOT a Second Amendment moment in Kansas today.
    “OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Johnson County jail official says the man accused of killing three people outside of Jewish sites near Kansas City is Frazier Glenn Cross.

    The official confirmed that Cross is the suspect in Sunday’s attacks in Overland Park. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the case publicly.

    Public records show that the 73-year-old Cross also goes by the last name Miller. The Southern Poverty Law Center says he has long been an outspoken white supremacist and was once a “grand dragon” of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan”

    Most certainly a criminal action. Murder in cold blood.

    What we saw in Bunkerville last week was real Second Amendment action in direct defense of the First Amendment. I maintain as I have all along it was that corral meant to hold all exercising their first amendment rights that lead to the second amendment action….best of it showed the second is powerful in its use….bot one shot was fired, other then the taser shots by the government.

    What happened in Kansas is simply criminal and no gun laws would have had an iota of a chance at preventing it.

    Rincon, I hope your swim back from the island is cold and long! :mrgreen:

  40. Steve says:

    “best of it showed the second is powerful in its use….bot one shot was fired, other then the taser shots by the government.”
    Yuk, lets clear that fat finger up.

    Best of ALL it showed the second is powerful in its use….NOT one shot was fired, other than the taser shots by the government.

  41. nyp says:

    “I don’t recognize [the] United States Government as even existing.” Clive Bundy

  42. Steve says:

    You guys want this to be about the rancher who didn’t pay his bills, nyp.
    It most certainly COULD have been only about that.
    The trouble is the bureaucrats made it about the First Amendment by executing the court order in as horrible a way as they possible could.
    They clearly thought they were going to have troubles in the execution of that order, so what do they do?

    Escalate the situation and create a bigger problem for themselves….

    The rancher benefited directly from the lousy job the BLM did in the execution of their court order.
    Now that damage has been done they will have to wait if they intend to try again, or they will have to come up with a different answer.

    The thing that brought all the attention to this issue were those “first amendment areas”. Had the BLM taken the opposite tack and invited cameras and media along for the operation all of this would have been easily avoided….of course that would mean their “law enforcement” personnel would have been held to the high standards they all claim the operate under.

    Transparency and sunlight in this would have kept the peace and focused the public’s eye on the acts of the rancher, rather than the BLM’s screwups.

  43. […] Bureau of Land Management issued a statement when it backed down from an angry, armed mob and released Cliven Bundy’s confiscated […]

  44. Rincon says:

    “Transparency and sunlight in this would have kept the peace and focused the public’s eye on the acts of the rancher, rather than the BLM’s screw-ups.”
    Something liberals and conservatives can agree on. BTW, I don’t know about the cold swim since I haven’t left the island yet, but my glass house is nice and warm!

  45. Steve says:

    Staying on Conclusions is ill advised.

    Nothing grows there, the sewers stink and there are no food deliveries!

  46. […] of people have noted that the BLM was just carrying out a federal judge’s order when it bungled its attempt to roundup rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle from federal public land in the Gold Butte […]

  47. […] What has Obama’s response been?  Well, his thug Bureau of Land Management just literally tortured and executed cattle of the very last rancher in a county that used to be dominated by cattle ranching.  The BLM admitted to executing the cattle on the grounds that they were “rowdy.”  Which is probably the pretense Obama used to use his thug IRS to intimidate and harass tea party conservatives for being “rowdy” enough to think they had a right to exercise their constitutional rights.  In addition to at least two mass graves – many of the cattle being the mothers who give birth to calves to keep the business going – the Bundy family discovered that the BLM thugs had essentially vandalized many improvements to the l…. […]

  48. […] Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy was grabbing national headlines with an armed confrontation with agents from the Bureau of Land Management, dozens of other […]

  49. […] Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy was grabbing national headlines with an armed confrontation with agents from the Bureau of Land Management, dozens of other […]

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