The Government is Shut Down. Post Your Livestock Trespass Stories Here

The last time that the government was shut down by the Republicans, during the Clinton Administration 17 years ago, ranchers all over the west released their livestock onto public lands for a free helping of public resources. Over the next few days you can help document what happens this time and ranchers can be held accountable for their illegal behavior. Post links to your photos and locations of livestock trespass here and then send them to the appropriate authorities when the mess is finally over.

To document trespass it helps to know whether the livestock are supposed to be where they are or not, but because most government websites are down during the shut down that may be difficult. Even when the websites are up it is hard to find this information. However, the agencies can sort that kind of thing out when they get back to work.

What you need to have is good photos of livestock that show brands or ear tags and the locations of where they are. If you already know whether the livestock are trespassing, all the better.

Maybe we can let them know we’re watching and remind them that their privilege only goes so far.






  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    The last time the government was shut down in 1995 the internet was in its infancy, and livestock owners’ actions could not be communicated easily.

    This time we have we have the potential of documenting the beginnings of anarchy in the form of illegal grazing on public lands — grass stealing.

  2. Larry Zuckerman Avatar
    Larry Zuckerman

    so if Federal govt shut down, would not ranchers have to remove permitted cattle and sheep, until it reopens?

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      That’s funny.

  3. snaildarter Avatar

    That’s what I was thinking. If I can’t go to a National Park or National Forest or National Monument or National Seashore then livestock needs to be barred from public lands. Now that would make me feel a lot better about this.

  4. Linda Jo Hunter Avatar

    There is a new camera ap for your phone or ipad called theodolite that puts date, time and gps coordinates on your photo. It would be handy for documentation.

  5. Matthew Koehler Avatar
    Matthew Koehler

    Here’s a snip from today’s Missoulian ( showing that while the government is shut down and closed, National Forests are open for logging. I can only assume it’s the same with grazing, oil/gas development, mining, etc.


    At Seeley Lake’s Pyramid Mountain Lumber Co. resource manager Gordy Sanders said his crews were working as usual on Tuesday with Forest Service supervision. But he didn’t know how long that would continue.

    “I understand there was a meeting yesterday in (Washington) D.C., and the intent of the Forest Service was to try and not interfere with ongoing operations or salvage work,” Sanders said Tuesday morning. “But they didn’t want any new projects starting up.”

    Sanders said Pyramid crews were active on a Bitterroot National Forest project at Bass Creek and on the Clearwater National Forest near Lolo Pass, with Forest Service supervisors in place.

    “The administrator is there today, and the contracting officer is working today,” Sanders said. “From our perspective, we fully intend to go forward and complete the projects in a timely way. At Bass Creek, we don’t have all the standing trees removed yet, but they’ll be cut and on the ground within a day. We’ve got a couple more weeks to go as far as the logging part goes.”

    In Columbia Falls, Plum Creek Timber Co. vice president Tom Ray said one load of logs from a Forest Service timber sale had arrived Tuesday morning. But he was unsure if any more were coming.

    “We don’t have any Forest Services right now, but we do have contractors who are selling logs to us that come from Forest Service sales,” Ray said. “We got an email last night that said they were not shutting down the contract logging as of today. That’s as much as I know. I guess we’ll see how it shakes out in the next day or so.”

    At the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, spokeswoman Leona Rodreick said contracting officers were making contact with their private clients to work out arrangements. All other calls were being referred to the federal Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C., Rodreick said.

    1. JB Avatar

      Interesting. That’s not the case in Ohio. No logging while the govt. is shut down here.

  6. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    Where exactly does the term ‘refuge’ come in?

    The Cull of the Wild


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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