When cattle prices are high, a rise in cattle theft and other agricultural-related crime such as saddle theft accompany the good market. In 2014, special rangers recovered more than $5.7 million worth of farm and ranch property including saddles, tack and related ranch equipment.
While branding cattle to safeguard against theft may be high on your to-do list, don’t forget to protect other ranch equipment. If branding works for cattle, why not make your saddles and other ranch equipment equally identifiable?
According to TSCRA Special Ranger Wayne Goodman, the best way to make a saddle identifiable is to permanently stamp or mark a name or number unique to you.
Saddles can be as unique as the maker and rider, but none of this will matter if you don’t have proof of ownership. Take pictures of your saddles from all angles, and write down any identifying numbers or marks. Numbers stamped into a saddle may not be actual serial numbers–they could be the model number or indicate an individual maker.
Make it harder for thieves to target you
1. Permanently identify your saddles, tack and equipment. Record serial numbers and model numbers and take pictures of every part from multiple angles.
2. Don’t store saddles and riding equipment in unlocked trailers or barns. If you’re storing your saddles in a trailer, keep the trailer hidden from traffic. Locks may not prevent all theft, but it will require the thieves spend more time on your property, something they don’t like.
3. Halters and lead ropes left on corral gates or fences can invite thieves. Don’t hand them a halter to steal your horse! Keep equipment locked up and out of sight.
4. Keep an eye out for suspicious visitors or things that just don’t seem right. Trust your gut—it’s usually right. Sometimes the only ones who know your area and routines are thieves. Be vigilant for your own property and that of your neighbors.
5. Post “No Trespassing” and association membership signs such as TSCRA’s blue “Posted” sign. Many thieves have reported that they skip properties with the TSCRA sign to find a pasture without one.
6. Keep in touch with local law enforcement or TSCRA special rangers. They can give you a heads-up if your area is experiencing a rash of theft.
by Kristin Hawkins
photos courtesy of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers
TSCRA has 30 special rangers stationed strategically throughout Texas and Oklahoma who have in-depth knowledge of the cattle industry and are trained in all facets of law enforcement. All are commissioned as special rangers by the Texas Department of Public Safety and/or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
TSCRA is a 139-year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas. TSCRA has more than 17,000 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members. These members represent approximately 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma.