Four Cattle Mysteriously Killed in Iron County

A reward of $2,000 is available to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) maliciously shooting livestock in Iron County.

Four cattle have been found killed in recent weeks, three in northeastern Iron County and one in western Iron County with additional cattle found shot in Box Elder and Utah counties. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Utah Farm Bureau and Utah Cattlemen’s Association are incentivizing information about and condemning the criminal activities.

“Every year we get some [animals killed], but not like this,” said Josh Carver with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “The cows that were shot that I investigated were gut shot.”

Carver, the investigator on three of the four instances in Iron County, has determined that two were shot and one was hit by a car.

This means each rancher can be compensated by insurance or associations, but there is a greater loss. Expecting one cow to average 2-4 calves over her lifetime with each weighing up to 1000 pounds at maturity, the loss grows exponentially.

Initially, Carver estimated the loss of each cow would be about $2,000.

“Some of these livestock lines go for top dollar because they are top producers,” said Carver. “A loss like that is not replaceable.”

The DWR believes that landowners are key to helping implement sustainable wildlife practices. The cooperation between the hunters’ harvest and the access cattlemen allow is paramount to wildlife populations.

“If they feel hunters are not respecting their livestock, they may shut down [the] ability to hunt on vital lands owned by cattlemen,” Carver warned. “I feel these are more targeted and someone is doing this for a reason.”

The wanton destruction of livestock, deemed to be worth more than $5,000, can be charged as a second-degree felony and therefore lead to a 15-year prison sentence and fines up to $10,000.

If you have any information regarding these crimes, call the Iron County Sheriff’s Office at 435-867-7500, the TIP line at 435-867-5878 or text 274-637.

Story by: Ben Pollchik
Photo courtesy of: Mitchell Quartz