RENO — Nevada ranchers are offering a $20,600 reward after the shootings of some 60 head of cattle across Northern Nevada since mid-summer.
Ten of the animals were killed and many of the rest were maimed or seriously wounded, said Ron Torell, president of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association.
The latest case was discovered Wednesday, he said, and the toll could climb as ranchers continue their fall removal of cattle from public rangelands.
The shooting spree has occurred in remote areas over a wide swath of northern Nevada stretching between the Winnemucca and Wells areas.
“This kind of vandalism is nothing new, but in this number it’s quite unique,” Torell told The Associated Press. “We’ve had pockets of similar shootings in the past, but certainly not over such a widely scattered area.”
The cattlemen’s association is working with local law enforcement authorities and the Nevada Department of Agriculture to try to track down those responsible.
In Elko County, the shootings have occurred north of Wells and in the Susie Creek area near Elko. In Humboldt County, shootings have been reported in the Martin Basin area north of Paradise Valley.
Ranchers estimate the value of the animals killed or injured so far may exceed $250,000. They are unsure of the motive and whether the shootings are connected.
“I don’t have any idea whether it’s someone with a vendetta against the livestock industry or young people out messing around,” Torell said.
The shootings appear to be an extension of similar crimes that have occurred near Tuscarora and Midas over the last three years, he added. The number of cows killed or wounded in the two Elko County towns was not available.
Because the shootings mostly have occurred in remote areas, the cattlemen’s association is asking for the public’s help to come up with leads for authorities.
The reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
“We’re trying to put the fear of God into whoever is doing this with the reward,” Torell said. “If we can convict someone, we’re going to try to set an example with them. We need the eyes and ears of people on the ground to help us.”