Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Washington ranchers increase reward for cow shooters

A reward offered by a cattlemen’s group for tips leading to a conviction for shooting cattle in Stevens and Ferry counties has been increased to $15,000. Ranchers say shooting cattle is on the upswing. They suspect it’s fallout over the conflicts with wolves. A Western Washington man, who wants to remain anonymous, contributed $10,000 to the reward fund, Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association President Justin Hedrick said Monday. The contribution, combined with other donations, allowed the cattlemen’s association to increase its standing reward from $2,500. The association will pay a maximum of $15,000 a year for tips that lead to a conviction. Hedrick said he hoped the bigger reward will draw out useful information. “At $2,500, we never got any bites,” he said. Hedrick, a partner in the family-owned Diamond M Ranch, estimated that about 50 cows have been shot on private and public lands in the two counties during the past five years. Previously, it was a more rare occurrence, he said. “Through the years we’ve always had some, but not like it’s been the last five years,” Hedrick said. “I’m going to speculate that it’s wolf-related.” Hedrick said a dozen of the ranch’s cattle were shot in one recent year. One was butchered for the meat, he said, while the others were not. The cows were commonly shot in the stomach with small-caliber firearms, Hedrick said. “It’s a very slow, cruel, miserable death.”...MORE

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