Emotions run high as BLM closes 600,000 acres for cattle roundup

Clive Bundy

One cattle rancher who is illegally using public land to graze his cattle has been given preference to the laws of the land until now. It is bad enough to have legal land leases pushing the wild horses and other wild life into smaller and smaller areas. ~ HfH

From: Las Vegas Review-Journal
By: Henry Brean

Clive Bundy

Federal officials plan to impound several hundred cattle left on public lands by Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy, shown here in 2012

Federal authorities will restrict access to almost 600,000 acres of public land for the next seven weeks as they prepare to round up what they call “trespass cattle” in the desert 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The Bureau of Land Management’s temporary closure of the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa and Bunkerville Flats areas takes effect today and lasts through May 12. During that time, federal officials and contract cowboys plan to impound several hundred cattle left on the range by Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy as part of a dispute that is about to come to a head after more than 20 years.

Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said will “do whatever it takes” to protect his cattle and his property rights.

Federal officials have repeatedly ordered him to remove his livestock from a federal grazing allotment he stopped paying the government for in 1993. The BLM officially closed the former Bunkerville allotment to grazing in 1999 out of concern for the federally protected desert tortoise, but Bundy’s cattle remain.

The BLM made a similar move to impound the rogue livestock in 2012, but the operation was hastily canceled the day before it was set to begin in part out of fear of a violent confrontation.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie met with Bundy several times as the 2012 roundup was being organized, and he has been in contact with the rancher ever since. He visited the Bundy family at their spread along the Virgin River a few weeks ago, when it became clear that no compromise could be found to stave off federal action.

Gillespie said he hoped to convince the family to keep their protests peaceful.

“I didn’t get any assurances,” he said.

Nor did he have any assurances to give.

Metro has no role to play in the roundup, which will unfold on federal land under the supervision of federal law enforcement agents. There is nothing a county sheriff can do to stop it, Gillespie said.

“I have sympathy and understanding for Mr. Bundy, but I also understand that sometimes court decisions go against that feeling you have. I work within the confines of the law,” he said.

State agriculture officials are taking a similar approach. Spokesman Bob Conrad said the Nevada Department of Agriculture has no plan to intervene in what it considers a federal matter.

The department’s only role will come as cattle are rounded up and state brand inspectors are called on to examine the animals to try to establish ownership, as required by Nevada law and federal court order.

If nobody can make a reasonable claim to an unmarked animal, it becomes state property to be sold at auction, Conrad said.

The Nevada Cattlemen’s Association hasn’t taken an official position on the seizure of Bundy’s cattle, but that could soon change. President Ron Torell said the association’s executive committee will discuss the situation at a special meeting next week.

“We’re watching that very carefully,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re taking the right action.”

The temporary closure was announced in a Federal Register notice posted online Wednesday and slated for publication today.

According to the notice, the public will be kept out of pockets of land within the described closure area during the impound operation, but the remainder of the 578,724 acres will remain open.

The closure area includes almost all of Clark County’s northeastern corner, from Overton east to the Arizona border and from the Lincoln County line south to the northern tip of Lake Mead.

Starting today, the bureau will post daily updates and a map online showing what in the closure area is off-limits. The website is: http://tinyurl.com/leokzah

No exact start date for the roundup has been announced, but it is likely to be soon. The closure will last 46 days. The operation is expected to take about three weeks but could drag on for a month depending on weather, the dispersal of the cattle and how easily they can be caught.

The latest BLM count, conducted by helicopter in December, logged 568 cattle scattered across a 90-mile swath of federal land in the Gold Butte area, north and east of Lake Mead’s Overton Arm, but previous surveys have placed the number at more than 900.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • Lisa

    I know it is controversial, but they -the cattle barons– first want to kill all the elk and bison, THEN they blame the wolves for the shortage so they want to kill all the wolves, make sure the public hates the vicious villains called wolves, when all along it is the greedy cattle barons and timber magnates. I am sure I will hear from many about my opinion, and that I am wrong– but I have studied wolves for over 40 years, and the wolves are NOT the reason for lowered elk and bison numbers. Not even POSSIBLE. Like I tell my boyfriend when he inflates the amount of hay my horses can consume in a feeding,,, the stomach is only so big, it can only hold a certain amount of food at any given time- theses wolf and mustang haters would have us believe that 500 wolves have accounted for the demise of tens of thousands of elk and bison–just NOT possible. Horses have not cleared the environment of feed stuffs, they move and graze, in a feral state– so, again, greedy greedy greedy humans still believe in fairytails of the big bad wolf, huffing and puffing and killing a million deer. yeah. right.

    March 28, 2014
  • Sue

    He breaks the law for 20 years and gets away with it. A woman here in FL stole a pack of cigarettes over 30 years ago & they arrested her.

    March 28, 2014
    • Angelica Thayer

      I think your all dismissing the fact that EVERY single other rancher that was once his neighboring ranch owner is now gone. This is part of the AGENDA 21 issue that the people of this great country are blissfully unaware of. They cover up their actions and what they are doing with pretty words like “sustainable development” and “biodiversity” when in reality there is a very real objective going on that involves taking away 90% of the public’s lands, that is land owned by us and giving it to the UN. If you think I’m crazy then prove me wrong.

      April 8, 2014
  • Ashley O'Brien

    @Lisa I thinks you grossly underestimate the amount of people who agree with your perspective. A large number of the population are absolutely disgusted and fed up with being ignored by the officials elected to represent the tax payers with are funding their paychecks: while they turn profits on tormenting anything thing that will whimper, directly contradicting the the objective terms for.which they were hired to fulfill. Grr.

    March 29, 2014
  • Callie83

    This man has threatened bodily harm, as in shooting, anyone who steps one toe on his alleged property. This needs to be resolved and the land be turned over to Wild horses and Burros. They will get the Cattle, but they will not replace them with Wild Horses and Burros.

    March 29, 2014
  • Kcal coleman

    I agree with and stand with Lisa 🙂

    April 7, 2014
  • parandle

    Snipers, tactical gear, automatic weapons, at a cattle round up, on land that this family has owned since 1877, before the BLM even existed, while the federal government seizes an american citizens’ private property at gunpoint, and you’re either looking the other way or looking at the rancher or the people protesting against this as the enemy? Again, the US federal government is stealing land from a US citizen, and giving that American-owned land to a foreign country, China.. And you’re supporting that?
    I hope all of you who support this illegal land grab from a US citizen and the militarized tactics employed so US Senator Harry Reid and his son Rory earn mutimillion dollar profits from a $5B china owned solar manufacturing plant (signed in 2012, planned for Mar 2014.. look it up) where Mr Bundy’s cattle graze, although being told it was to protect a rare tortoise that’s not rare (look it up), 1400 of which the federal government is euthanizing (look it up), and support this out of control, , unconstitutional federal government, believe anything you’re told without the slightest clue or interest in finding your own facts, using your own critical thinking, and being your own investigator, but instead putting loyalty and ideology above truth, facts and integrity, get every bit of the big government, false narrative media, and all that that emplies, you so wantingly have begged for and deserve. We critical thinkers will do our own fact-finding, will continue verifying everything, trusting nothing coming from the government or the media without doing a whole lot of homework, will work tirelessly to: undo the corruption in our political system, without regard or loyalty to any political party or ideology, to restore our constitution, to return all land to its rightful owner (the people/the states), never settling for a “fenced off protest area” in place of our constitutional right to protest without restriction, to restore power back to the people, to restore the freedoms we were guaranteed under our constitution and bill of rights, and recognize that sadly, some folks have just been too dumbed down to realize that they’ve been sold out and lied to for a very long time and about most if not all of what they believe. Naively, they betray not only themselves but their own children and future generations out of misguided loyalty, by supporting and cheering on their very own enemy, while undermining the very people who are tirelessly trying to defeat it. For those worried about the tortoise, read “The Desert Tortoise in Relation to Cattle Grazing” Vernon Bostick, University of Arizona. They’ve known this since 1990, but still used the tortoise in 1998 as the excuse to turn private land owned by citizens of the state of NV into federal land, and all with the support of cheering environmentalist who hadn’t use their critical thinking or done their own reading, but put their loyalty to cause above everything else.

    April 13, 2014
    • jfinch

      Interesting rambling, but you forget – this site is about the horses, something not mentioned in your narrative, and your group wants them off their “rightful” property. Interesting that what applies to you doesn’t apply to other living things. While you might have found support with the horse people, who face the same issues with our government, you lost us with the vows to destroy the horses.

      April 13, 2014