Effort to turn ranchers into scofflaws nets just one so far-

Ammon Bundy has been trying to recruit livestock operators who have grazing permits on U.S. public lands to stop paying the rental (grazing fees) for their grazing allotment. He finally recruited one, or at least one showed up Saturday to renounce paying his grazing fees before an audience at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Adrian Sewell of Grant County, New Mexico told a gathering that he would stop paying his rent for the 85 cattle he said he was permitted to graze on his allotment of public land. Bundy is trying to push the idea that grazing on public land is a right not a privilege. As a right no one would have to pay grazing fees.

Bundy is wrong. Grazing allotments were created out of the public domain in the 1930s after the Taylor Grazing Act became law. The law was passed to bring conservation and order to the Western public range. It was a time of drought and dust storms and an economic and environment collapse of the livestock industry due to not just the weather but overgrazing. The public domain, now managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), was at the time an unmanaged commons, a big vacant lot. Ranchers with private property (ranches) competed with transient herders who wandered the public domain year round searching for any grass that grew. No one had rights or any expectation that there would be any livestock food available at all except inasmuch as they could use local tradition and force to secure livestock forage.

A U.S. Grazing Director was hired and with a small crew. Then 80-million acres of land was divided into grazing allotments for which a permit would now be needed to graze. To get a permit, the “permittee” needed to have some “base” (private property) where the cattle, sheep, or goats could be kept part of the year. The U.S. Grazing Service came into being to administer the law, and a fee per head of livestock was installed — the grazing fee. It was not much then and it is still just a token today, but it has to be paid. A grazing permittee can lose the grazing permit for non-payment. The Taylor Grazing Act specifically says that grazing permits “convey no right, title, or interest” to such lands.

The grazing permits have “terms and conditions” specifying the details of how, when and where the grazing is to be. Over time these terms have become more detailed. A grazing permit is renewed every ten years. Ammon Bundy’s father Cliven Bundy tore up his revised grazing permit in 1992 because he said he didn’t like the new terms. The Bunkerville grazing allotment which Bundy had used was then abolished by the U.S. government. Now he runs cattle with no permit on public lands larger than his old Bunkerville allotment and in numbers that exceed the original terms. This is why he is trespassing on the public lands. He didn’t pay his fees and he disobeyed orders from U.S. district court to remove his cattle and pay his back fees.

A 2014 effort by the BLM to roundup Cliven Bundy’s cattle and impound them was stopped by an armed mob that was recruited at least partly by social media.
A word about the BLM
The Grazing Service lasted about a decade. In 1946 there was a big dispute between the House and the Senate over grazing fees. The result was no appropriation for the Grazing Service. So it was paralyzed. Finally, in 1946 President Truman used his executive authority to cobble together a new agency, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to replace the old Grazing Service. The BLM had more authority than the Service because it was made from the remains of the  Grazing Service plus the Department of Interior’s General Land Office, one of the oldest agencies of government. This gave the new BLM jurisdiction also over public land minerals (worth far more than the grazing), over land transfers and disposals, and other matters.  The BLM finally got a rational, comprehensive, mission in 1976 with the passage of the “Federal Land Policy and Management Act” (FLPMA, flip ma). The Homestead Act and other land disposal laws were repealed by FLPMA, and federal policy became to keep all the remaining public lands and manage them for “multiple uses” (many uses and users) and “sustained yield” — make sure the grass grows back, etc. Old West reactionaries hate FLMPA. They have never gotten over it. Ammon Bundy is one of them.
Despite the loud complaints by some, having a grazing lease on U.S. public land is a great benefit. The fees are a small fraction of what it would cost to buy feed or rent private grazing land.  On top of that the federal government makes many range “improvements” and a federal agency named Wildlife Services services wildlife by gunning them down or trapping them — coyotes primarily, but also bears, cougar, wolves, bobcats to make a grazing allotment safer for the permittee.  Range “improvements” is in quotes because other users of public land often do not like them. For example, bulldozing a bubbling spring and making a muddy livestock pond out of it is considered an improvement.

Losing a grazing permit is a big blow to a ranch. It can happen for non-payment of fees, the loss or sale of a ranch (the required base property), and grazing permit violations. Most common is loss or sale of base property even though permit violation is very common. Usually a new grazing permit is issued to the new owner of the base property. If this New Mexican rancher loses his permit because of willing nonpayment, the permit might well be given to another rancher. If he doesn’t yield, then local law enforcement will probably step in.

If someone like Bundy is successful destroying the established system of grazing on public lands so that none one is secure that they have food for their livestock, the old west with gun fights and force could quickly return.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

128 Responses to Bundy gets one rancher to renounce paying grazing fees

  1. Ken Cole says:

    Here are the Annual Operating Instructions for this guy’s allotment. http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3815513.pdf

    According to one article I read, he reportedly paid $1 million for his ranch a few years ago. So here we have a millionaire bitching about paying $77.74 a month to graze 46 cow calf pairs year round. What a pathetic whiner.

    • birdpond says:

      A million dollar ranch, huh? THAT is information worth sharing widely – That should sap any lingering public support of these morons pretty fast. Can those numbers be verified?

  2. Nancy says:

    Ralph, can you elaborate on section III. – Improvement Maintenance (in Ken’s link to allotment agreement) If I understand correctly, ranchers can cut trees down to make improvements to fence lines and in IV. General Instructions – Maintaining records of time/materials. Are ranchers, in addition to dirt cheap grazing fees, also getting reimbursed for any work done on those allotments?

  3. HLB says:

    Dr. Maughan,
    I am wondering what your position on the U.S. Constitution is.

    • Ralph Maughan says:


      You have to be more specific.

      • HLB says:

        Dr. Maughan,
        Briefly, the several sections that deal with Federal control or ownership of the land.

        • Rich says:


          I understand the provisions in the Constitution and abide by them. What is your position?

        • Ralph Maughan says:


          The constitutional basis for the U.S. public lands is the “property clause”. “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States”. . .. Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2. The Supreme Court has ruled the government may exercise this power over its property without limit. It can manage the lands, sell them, grant them, add to them and make laws and rules governing them.

          Some people believe the federal lands were somehow taken away from the states. Therefore, they say the states should get them back. This is just a political myth. The public lands were obtained by purchase (such as the Louisiana Purchase) conquest (the Mexican Cession) or treaty (Oregon Territory, which includes Idaho). They preceded most of the states. Originally these lands were often called “the public domain.” All but the original 13 states, Maine and Texas received land grants from out of the public domain. The states which were created out of the public domain are commonly known as the federal land states. In the West many of the state land grants remain, although Nevada sold its off. In return as a condition of statehood every state disavowed further claims to lands of the United States. This disclaimer is in the state constitutions. Utah is in violation of its state constitution by now claiming U.S. public lands.

          • Jay says:

            The irony of these “constitutionalists” attempt to steal public lands in violation of not only Federal, but state constitutions, is certainly lost on them.

          • Mal Adapted says:

            The SCOTUS ruling Ralph refers to is Kleppe v. New Mexico, 426 U.S. 529 (1976).

            Article Three of the US Constitution established the judiciary as one of three branches of the federal government, with the Supreme Court of the US the final authority on matters of federal constitutional law.

            IOW, the law is what SCOTUS says it is. Idiosyncratic textual analysis of the Constitution by transparently self-interested parties are of no lasting consequence.

            • Marc Bedner says:

              In general, the law is what the Supreme Court says it is. But there has been one notable exception.
              In the 19th century, Justice Taney ruled in the Dred Scott decision that states had the right to define slaves as property. The Civil War overruled the Court, facilitating the 13th-15th amendments, as well as firmly establishing the constitutional principle of federal supremacy. The senior Bundy has notoriously regretted the end of slavery; I’m not sure if his sons have expressed an opinion on slavery.
              Coincidentally(?) the same Taney had earlier issued a ruling on the public trust doctrine, which later hunter-conservationists interpreted as a principle that wildlife is the property of the states. Fortunately, Kleppe v New Mexico established the principle that the Federal government is not bound to observe state wildlife laws on federal public lands. Unfortunately, the Federal government has often ceded its authority to the states.

          • HLB says:

            Dr. Maughan,
            For these public lands to not lie afoul of the Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 17 requirement to be legislatively purchased from the state in which they reside, then these lands must be considered Territory or other Property. That path from initial acquisition to current holding would require legitimacy. While Federal courts have upheld the admission of states, conditional upon Federal retention of some of the land within, such would naturally be in their Federal self interest. It seems that the process of statehood is key to the constitutional aspect of this question of Federal ownership/control of these lands.

            • WM says:


              Your position might be more persuasive if you would cite authority for your opinion (with links if possible).

            • Jay says:

              How can the Federal government legislatively purchase land that they already purchased/acquired from other governments from a state that doesn’t yet exist (as is the case for almost all land in the west; e.g., Louisiana purchase, Oregon Territory treaty)? Furthermore, if the courts have upheld admission of states conditional upon retention of Federal lands (as in the cases like Oregon, WA, Idaho, etc., that were established on land that the Federal Gvt. already possessed), then where is the question of legality?

              • Marc Bedner says:

                I also wonder what legal principle would authorize Congress to purchase land the Federal government already owns. This seems to be the basis of the “for sale by tenant” provision of the proposed Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA).

        • WM says:


          Not to horn in on your conversation with Ralph, but you might consider the following law review article (typically these kinds of detailed scholarly papers are written by folks that give careful study to a topic and some are even experts in the field). It is kind of a synopsis with a little more detail on what Ralph has given to you.

          Or, if you really want to study the topic, this law school case book by Coggins and Wilkinson, et al., is THE definitive text on the topic by some of the best and most respected law professors on the topic in the entire US. Here is a link to an Amazon purchase site, and yes this Public Lands Law book is expensive. It will cost you a couple hundred bucks, but then real knowledge can be expensive:


          This, I believe, is the latest (7th) edition. It may have a supplement of newer cases. And, don’t forget the statute supplement for another $50 or so.

          See, the thing about this vile gibber-jabber that Bundy and company spew is that most of them know nothing about the US Constitution of 1787 or the bills passed by Congress and signed into law by 44 Presidents, or the huge land purchases or treaty acquisitions by THE UNITED STATES on America over our 229 year history as a sovereign nation.

          And you might also give some deference to Ralph’s areas of teaching experience as a professor of political science, which includes the very topic about which you inquire.

          • WM says:

            Reference to paragraph 1 – Primer on Public Lands Law:


            Maybe Bundy and the morons as Malhuer have an internet connection and some free time. That presumes of course they can read at or above 6th grade comprehension.

          • JB says:

            I heard an interesting analysis this morning on NPR, noting that the populist movements in both parties have strong, ‘anti-elite’ elements. In the case of the Democrats, anti-elitism is personified by Bernie Sanders’ rejection of the “billionaire class”. On the Republican side, however, the billionaire class is embraced. Republicans, rather, are contemptuous of intellectuals and their own party leaders. The Bundys seem to very much fit this mold. They seem to have no respect for authority of any kind save that which agrees with their views.

            As much as I want this ridiculous standoff to end, the more time that passes the crazier these seditionists look. Waiting may actually have been a brilliant move, as they prove less and less sympathetic every day.

    • Jay says:

      I’m for it.

    • Mal Adapted says:


      Your position might be more persuasive if you would cite authority for your opinion (with links if possible).

      HLB can only cite ipse dixit, since under article 3 of the U.S. Constitution there is no higher authority than the SCOTUS.

      His only remedy would almost certainly require the sort of extralegal intervention Marc Bedner mentioned.

  4. The original grazing allotments were often awarded to grazing associations which included several ranchers. As time went by, because of conflicts between the ranchers that made up the grazing associations, most allotments were divided up so that each rancher had his own specific allotment.
    I can remember my rancher father in law complaining about the “poor” bulls that “Harvey” turned out on the common allotment. I helped him fence his individual BLM and USFS allotments when the common allotments were divided up by the grazing association ranchers.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Larry Thorngren,

      Yes, grazing allotments held by grazing associations are still a commons of sorts, subject to the same pathologies. Some members do a good job and some other members tend to free ride off of them.

  5. Yvette says:

    Imagine a world, if you will, of a pack of ranchers who scream loudly enough they are heard by city folk all over America. The city folk’s heads raise; goosebumps cover their bodies; their ears perk to distinguish the unfamiliar sound of the piercing cry from the pack of ranchers. Are they a threat? Are the city folk more like a deer ready to run from the threat or are they more like a bobcat cornered and ready to fight?

    There may be an advantage to this screaming pack of ranchers who are drawing attention to the rules governing the public lands of the West.

    Keep screeching, ranchers. You are being heard from afar.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Yeah, all one of ’em. Ha! 🙂

    • Marc Bedner says:

      We should take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Bundy Gang as they are now literally tearing up the grand compromise of public land ranching. Instead of real estate frauds where ranchers are allowed to sell public land (REVA), we should permanently end grazing on any land where permittees have refused to abide by the terms of their lease.

  6. timz says:

    The blm and this administration has let this get out of hand. They may no longer be able to control it.

  7. monty says:

    Ida, thanks for the excellent article. It alarms me that this lawless “witch hut” may metastasize. We may find out how may nuts there are in this country. Public lands equal physical freedom and space: it is democracy. And these right wingers haven’t figured this out.

  8. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/01/24/new-mexico-rancher-who-renounced-federal-grazing-contract-posted-video-message-before-oregon-rally-im-on-my-way-into-battle/

    Here is a video that the “One Rancher” (Adrian Sewell) made as he drove to help the Bundys. He is as batshit crazy as the Bundys. The facebook page of “Jail the Bundys” claims Jewell is on probation for swing an ax at others during a drunken party.

  9. Ida Lupines says:

    I can’t call it brilliant when the longer the seditionists are there, the more damage they may be doing to the refuge. It appears that they are cutting down trees to burn, have bulldozed sensitive areas and gone through Native American artifacts. We won’t know what they’ve done until after someone or the employees are back on the job and can see.

    These insensitive clods behaving like bulls in a china shop really has me concerned. No offense, but I’d say the handling of this has been less than brilliant. All it is doing is emboldening them.

  10. Ida Lupines says:

    Not only is the response ineffectual, but it is eyerollingly juvenile. Who do they have on the response team, frat boys?

    • Ida Lupines says:

      ^^I don’t know why they are letting them receive mail and supplies as if they had their own little town or city at Malheur! One in particular, that was eyerollingly juvenile, I thought must have been some kind of Psyops or something, I just couldn’t and can’t read that silliness.

    • Returned Mormon missionaries. 1 out of 5 FBI agents are returned Mormon missionaries.

  11. Leslie says:

    Seward has quite a criminal record. I wonder where he got his money to purchase the ranch. http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/post_1.html

  12. Leslie says:

    And why aren’t the feds listening to the Oregon governor, the local townspeople, the Paiute tribespeople? Something else is going on here?


    • Yvette says:

      “Something else is going on here?”

      The presidential campaign? I can’t think of anything else.

      That’s what I am starting to wonder. This can’t possibly be about not wanting another Ruby Ridge/Waco, TX. It does not add up. The damage being done by the federal LE inaction, which really started in 2014, is reaching a tipping point. Americans have noticed, and they’ve noticed the huge difference in the way this demographic has been handled versus the violent LE handling of every one else. (like the occupy movement, Black Lives Matter, and really, everyone else but the right-wing militias).

      If these people face no consequences what is to stop them? Paving roads over sensitive habitat and culturally significant areas; rifling through artifacts; removing fences and trees.

      I’ve not seen the video but the Paiute Chairwoman has requested they be apprehended when they leave the facilities and to stop the flow of supplies.

      I’m not sure what will happen but the response so far is not working. I personally do not want them to simply leave. I want them charged, tried and imprisoned for every last thing they’ve done. NO mercy. And confiscate every last bit of their personal property to pay for the damage.

    • Yvette says:

      LOl, you beat me to it. Glory be, hallelujah, I think I just found God.

      Not really given I’m one of the biggest heretics in the bible belt, but I hope they all go to prison. I am not satisfied with letting any of these people simply leave and go home. Arrest them all; every last one of them. And they need to pay for every bit of damage done. In a private prison where they work for 50 cents a day.

    • Jay says:

      will be interesting to see if the rest of the roaches scurry away now that patience has worn out and the FBI is taking action.

    • JEFF E says:

      I guess stupid can be fixed….

  13. Kevin Jamison says:

    Ammon Bundy Arrested, Follower Killed, During Confrontation With Law Enforcement In Oregon
    Killed was Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who had acted as spokesman for the militants.
    01/26/2016 09:56 pm ET | Updated 16 minutes ago

  14. Nancy says:


    Sadly, a tiny fraction of nut jobs, with death wishes, will probably show up to help defend who ever is left at the refuge. Thankfully there are only two ways in to Burns.

    It’s not over yet……….

  15. Jimbob says:

    Sorry to rant, but I don’t understand why the media has treated this situation the way it has. Why aren’t the “protesters” treated like the greedy, selfish, spoiled bastards that they are?? First of all, here in Arizona if I want to enjoy many of my public lands I have to purchase some type of permit that usually only permits parking and is way more expensive than the grazing fees for a cow for a month. Which activity does more damage?? Who should have more right to use the land? Me? A taxpaying citizen who will leave no trace? An extractive use profiteer who will scar the land in many ways? Why is the greed and selfishness of these protesters not pointed out across the airwaves?! Sorry for the rant…..

  16. Barb Rupers says:

    Coming up this morning at 10:30 an update from the authorities:


  17. HLB says:

    If this is true, then the Police were very wrong in their actions…

    • Jay says:

      That myth is dispelled by one of the arrested in the story posted by barb r (above)

    • Immer Treue says:

      There is never any humor in anyone’s death, especially in folly such as has transpired over the past three weeks, but this was like listening to Sarah Palin.

    • Nancy says:

      2:33 Hands in the air….. “I thought?”

      2:40 “they shot him 3 more times”

      4:14 “They shot him at least 6 times”

      4:56 “No one touched their guns”

      8:50 ” That’s how we knew they were serious”

      Did you play this video over a few times HLB? “coached” come to mind. IMHO.

  18. Chuck says:

    Terrorists…plain and simple. They all should be treated the same as bin Laden was ultimately dealt with.

  19. Ida Lupines says:

    This is interesting. Look how little was left for the Native peoples despite a treaty (which was never ratified by the US), due to ‘pressure from white settlers’. And there are some who would even deny them the little bit they have and take that away!


  20. JEFF E says:

    As i think about some aspects of this it seems to me that the IRS needs to do a through forensic investigation of the Bundys.
    As as been reveled, Ammon has a 450,000+, 5000 sq. foot home in Emmett, Idaho on a bit more than 4 acres, Bought less than a year ago, that he apparently does not live in, or at least full time. He has maintained he lives in Phoenix and is an owner of a valet car business.
    Definitely looks like one of those follow the money situations to me, and see what else crawls out from beneath a rock.

    • OregonCoast says:

      I expect they will, the governor & county were demanding reparations after all. I hope for their families sake nothing else will turn up, they’ll take a financial hit, & hopefully just move on with their lives while the brothers do their time. But if there is anything worth hiding, no doubt it’ll come to light now. Any sign they’ve tried to cheat the government, past threats against people, any connections to crime, or even more mundane things like Ashely Madison or whatever dirty laundry that might turn up. The tabloids & click-bait sites will have a busy time with the Bundy’s at the least.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Jeff E,

      . . . about Ammon Bundy’s nice new home in Emmett, Idaho.

      I think this is really interesting. Does he have a financial sponsor?

      • JEFF E says:

        I don’t know about a sponser, that seems likly, but I also think that after the incident in Nevada they became aware that (asking for donations, to continue the good fight), became a very lucrative proposition and like any other con, needed to be refreshed with newer, bigger, and more stupendous acts to keep the cash flowing.

        • WM says:

          Interesting. I’m sure Bundy fundy has done all the right things business-wise to accept those contributions (not as taxable income), too.

          Unless, of course, they haven’t, in which case the IRS will become their next adversary, and probably more tenacious and far more scary than any law enforcement agencies they have encountered, especially the FBI. IRS doesn’t shoot people but, some taxpayers after being put thru the ringer might wish they had, just to end the pain.

          • JEFF E says:

            notice the bottom left corner.
            took a minuet to find just this one, and I would be pretty sure it is not the only site to ask for “”donations, to fight the good fight””

              • WM says:

                Jeff E.,

                Looks like there was another place to donate further up:

                Financial donations can be sent to:
                Lisa Bundy
                P.O. Box 1072
                Emmett, ID 83617
                Donate online using this link.

                [Link omitted in case there were any impulse donors on this site.]

                What a bunch of _________.

                • Nancy says:

                  Lavoy’s body was probably still being autopsied when this site when up:

                  Bundy Ranch

                  January 29 at 9:51am ·
                  FROM LAVOYS FAMILY.

                  We are so grateful for all the love and support shown to our family in this difficult time. Your faithful prayers are felt. Many have been asking where they could donate. We have set up a PayPal account. The link is provided below.

                • Nancy says:

                  as in “went” up

  21. Yvette says:

    The difference in the way law enforcement and the media have treated all of the Bundy gang, starting in 2014, has been an eye opener.

    Right now the media continues to refer to Ammon bundy as ‘the leader’….

    “Leader’? No. He’s a grifter. A con-artist. A thief. A criminal. A welfare queen who has learned how to work the system. A domestic terrorist that has been treated like a king. He is a lot of things. A leader is not one of them. His dad owes us American people over a million dollars. His dad’s trespass cattle are still trampling sensitive habitat. Like father like son. Grifters, all of them.

    The Finicum man who was killed is the same one I posted about last week that said his foster kids were his main source of income! Those teen aged boys who were his foster kids were coming from mental hospitals and juvenile detention. Who knows what has happened to them in their short lives, and then they end up with a con-artist rancher who had sired 11 kids of his own. My guess is he used the extremely troubled teen boys as ranch hand slaves. I’ve read he had his hands up, but this same man has said he would never be taken alive. I’ve read he charged and that is why he was shot. The truth will prevail in time but it sounds more likely it was suicide by cop.

    I cannot muster a single stand of sympathy for any of these domestic terrorists who are still being allowed to leave freely if they will leave. Unbelievable how these criminals have been treated like kings.

  22. monty says:

    Yesterday, on TV at the refuge, a fat face angry terrorist was shouting to the world: “drive to the FBI road block and kill them”.
    On the same day during a PBS radio station interview another “clown” at the refuge said: “the only reason we brought guns is because they have guns”.

    • Nancy says:

      Looks to me like he was compliant, right up until he started trying to reach his gun.

      • Immer Treue says:

        Did he even have a gun? So sad, this did not have to happen, but he did about everything wrong an individual can do wrong in regard to his actions.

        • Nancy says:

          According to a couple of articles I’ve read, they found a gun on him (Understood he always packed a gun) I wonder if he didn’t anticipate the agent coming out of the woods from the other direction since it looks like he turned his back on the first agent, trying to pull his gun?

        • Ida Lupines says:

          In every photo I have ever seen of him, he does have a gun. For some people, a gun is like an appendage. I just read a headline that Ammon Bundy ‘never wanted bloodshed’. When you behave as they have, it is a possibility – either theirs or someone else’s. I have read they made death threats and intimidating behavior to the mayor’s wife and others.

          If they had a legitimate grievance, there are other ways of addressing it. It’s sad this happened, but they brought it on themselves.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            The remaining motley bunch wants the charges dropped in exchange for their surrender – but I say let the courts decide.

      • Yvette says:

        Except his movements could be interpreted as charging since he was moving forward with his arms in the air…..until he reached around as if reaching for a gun.

        It took the FBI longer than 2 seconds to shoot him and they did not shoot until he reached around as if going for a gun. And of course, his vehicle was running to or from something.

        The LA Times story (linked on this thread) has a soft wispy slant. At least, it seems so to me. The media has so much influence in how we interpret events and it looks like Finicum, will be turned into a martyr.

        I do wish I could read how the media would have written about these people had it of been a different demographic of people. Black Panthers, Muslims, Environmentalists, animal rights, or any group other than white cowboy hat, real tree wearing ‘patriots’.

        It’s mind boggling from my view.

        • HLB says:

          Finicum was right handed and wore a weapon on his right side. In the drone video he is reaching for his left side with his right hand. That is not where his weapon would be. He reached for that side because the officer on the right side of the video was likely shooting him and he was struck by a bullet on that side.

          • timz says:

            BS. They found a loaded 9MM in his left pocket

            • HLB says:

              Not sure I would immediately trust that information. There are people still alive who can testify whether that weapon was his. Right handed? I would not carry in my left pocket.

              • timz says:

                Let’s see, I heard from these folks he was on his knees with his hands up, he was fired upon sitting in the truck, they walked up to him and pumped three more rounds in him after he was hit and on the ground, and other assorted BS. You believe who you want and I believe what I saw in the video and the FBI statement.

                BTW when I carry on my left side despite being right handed. I find it easier to get the gun out of the holster that way.

              • Yvette says:

                HLB, be glad none of them were African American. They all would have been dead January 3, 2016.

                Be glad he was shot and killed in less than 2 seconds like he would have been had he of been a 12 year old African American kid.

                This was suicide, IMO. A chickensh!t man’s way of committing suicide.

                • Yvette says:

                  Didn’t catch it in time. “be glad he was NOT shot and killed in less than 2 seconds.”

          • Nancy says:


            You might want to Google Cross Draw. Seems it is a popular way to carry a firearm.

            • HLB says:

              Cross draw in holster, not pocket. It will surface whether he had a cross draw holster.

              • timz says:

                they already said the gun was in his jacket pocket,not a holster.

                • HLB says:

                  I was replying to Nancy saying cross draw is popular. Yes, that is my point; that it was in his pocket, not a holster, and therefore an unlikely situation.

              • Rich says:


                You will need to retrieve your head from your pocket and pay attention to what actually took place on the video to understand why Lavoy F. was shot. First he and others commandeered public property and resources and made it very clear they were armed and will take action against anyone attempting to remove them from the property. He made it clear as one of the spokesmen that they plan to use the property for their own purposes and proceed to do so illegally. In fact, Lavoy is proudly recorded removing cameras and engaging in other illegal activities. He and the others are asked to leave and given numerous opportunities to do so peacefully but refuse.

                On the afternoon of the 26th when he is stopped by law enforcement, he refuses to comply with the officers requests to exit the vehicle with his hands up. Then he foolishly makes a run for it with 2 women in the vehicle apparently attempting to escape using the women as shields. His action not only put himself at risk but the women in the vehicle as well. Then he attempts to crash through the blockade nearly hitting at least one officer. His decisions at this point demonstrate very clearly that the lives of others of are no importance to him. Then he jumps out of the vehicle erratically waving his arms around He knew, as well as everyone else on the scene, that he was armed. The officers at the road block were likely not inclined to sacrifice their lives to humor an armed irrational madman.

                None of this had to happen. All he had to do was comply with the law enforcement officers. His refusal and subsequent actions led to his death and could have resulted in the death of others. Your attempts to justify his actions as those of a saint or perhaps an innocent bystander ring hollow. It doesn’t really matter whether he was right or left handed, cross drawing or not, or any of your other casual observations. What matters is that his actions were those of an individual who purposely put the lives of others at risk. Please spare us from your illogical arguments contending this is all the fault of our government and all of us who make up our government.

                • HLB says:

                  Ok Rich, Did not mean to tread on your beliefs. I spare you from my arguments.

                • Jay says:

                  Fair assessment Rich. You might also add that certainly the officers involved did not know whether Lavoy was left or right handed, nor would it have mattered; they saw someone who vowed not to be taken alive without a fight who was always armed reaching for what any logical person would assume was a gun. The man did EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to demonstrate he was not compliant, from fleeing, to almost running over an officer (shoot able offense right there) to jumping out in an agitated state and reaching for what would prove to be a loaded weapon. No officer in the world could be faulted for the response shown.

          • Leslie says:

            HLB, Others came out of the vehicle before Finicum and were not shot. Finicum was obviously trying to get away by driving around the road block and got stuck in the snow. Besides, he said weeks ago that he did not intend to go to jail but wanted to die instead. He got his wish. No tears here.

        • Marc Bedner says:

          It’s good to see that after decades of going after African-Americans and environmental activists, the FBI is finally enforcing the law as it was intended. The Bundy Gang is now charged with offenses under a law designed to deal with armed Confederates attacking the Federal Government.
          Law cited against Oregon occupation was created to corral Civil War secessionists

          • Yvette says:

            That’s good and the law seems to fit as it was explained in your link.

            “The maximum sentence for the charge is six years in prison, plus fines.”

            I think that is too short of a maximum sentence. It they truly wanted to go after these people there are all kinds of laws that they likely could apply.

            • Leslie says:

              I am assuming (hoping) that this charge is a placeholder they can visually charge all of them until they go into the Sanctuary and see all the other damage they did i.e. Native artifacts; computer hacking; vandalism; resisting arrest and so many others. Add them all together to make about 30 years. I also think they should put a gag order on Bundy who seems to be continuing is litany from jail like he is some kind of martyr

              • Yvette says:

                Federal laws all of them were in violation of that could be added if the prosecutors wanted to rack up charges and prison time:

                Potentially in violation of:

                Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)

                CWA, Section 404 (wetlands) The did move dirt and plow roads in a area that is probably on the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) list.

                Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is possible if the prosecutors dig deep enough they will find a violation.

                If anyone thinks this is a stretch the only reason I though of it is I’ve seen it happen to someone; a Native American guy who happened to be in a motorcycle club. Gang task force stops him for drunk driving his bike but….he wasn’t drunk. Not only did they beat him while in custody and with his hands cuffed behind him, but they kept his vest that had the club insignia.(illegal to not return his property upon release and they had nothing they could charge him with but they would not release his colors. The vest had an owl talon on it. The gang task force was ticked because they had nothing to charge him with. Later, they charged him with being in violation of the Migratory and Endangered Species Act. Then they put him on probation before ever going to court. They guy was Native American so he is allowed to be in possession of the owl talon, but there are steps and procedures get permitted through USFWS to do that. He had not done that. However, the owl talon was a gift from a tribal elder. The guy had the talon carbon dated, and it was an old talon (I forgot how old). He won his case in federal court based upon the the age of the talon and him being Native American. However, that does not take away the money out on fighting the charges and the BS of being put on probation before even going to trial.

                The above story is the only reason I thought of these potential charges. The point being, if the feds truly want to pile on charges to the Bundy gang they could find a way.

                Given how these people have been treated with kid gloves, and basically, like royalty, I suspect they will continue to go easy on them.

      • JEFF E says:

        “Finicum leaves the truck and steps through the snow,” Bretzing said at a press conference this week. “On at least two occasions, Finicum reaches his right hand toward a pocket on the left inside portion of his jacket. He did have a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in that pocket. At this time, [Oregon State Police] officers shot Finicum.”

        as I watched this video frame by frame it looks to me like this was a true statement. I can only imagine Finicum suprise when his three comrades did not jump out of the truck and join in the fantasy gunfight at the OK corral. Especially tough guy Ryan Bundy.

  23. Gary Humbard says:

    For those of you who like to experience nature and have had enough of Bundy and Harney County, check out this link with sounds that will hopefully give you peace and inspire you for the anticipation of springtime and getting outdoors more.


  24. Immer Treue says:

    The Secret History of Cowboy Socialism

    An interesting read.


    ” Bundy’s ideas are nonsense — but they’re no more wrong than the entire creation myth of the American West. Though there have been Americans who could survive completely unaided in the West — men like Kit Carson and Jim Bridger — there were only a handful of them, and most were at least half-crazed. No society on Earth has ever functioned wholly on self-interested individualism — and that holds doubly true for the West. From the very start to the present day, Big Government has been the very bedrock of the settlement of the American frontier.”

    • Nancy says:

      Very interesting, Immer. Thanks for posting it.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Before the West could be won, it first had to be stolen.

      🙂 Looking forward to reading the rest. Thanks, Immer.

  25. Kevin Jamison says:

    Senator Al Franken of Minnesota used to comment on his radio show just a few years ago (boy, do I miss that show)
    that modern society and the successes it has had stood on the shoulders of those who came before and stood on the shoulders of those who stood on the shoulders of those who stood on the shoulders of those who stood on the necks of the First Americans. (Paraphrasing Issac Newton)

  26. monty says:

    The unfortunate result of the death of Finicum(who earned it by invading a peacefull refuge guns drawn) is that the “Bundy gang” now have a martyr. Local news indicate that a protest of the shooting will draw about 1000 people to Burns this weekend.

    • JEFF E says:

      I think there was about a hundred give or take, most from elsewhere according to reports.
      As a bonus they marked the spot where the one dimwit fought the law and the law won.
      I now know exactly where to stop and relieve myself when I drive that road.

  27. Kevin Jamison says:

    All this comes “Under the Banner of Heaven” (Read Mr. Krakauer’s book). Unhinged delusional fanatics, full of the propaganda of Cleon Skousan. Crazy shit.

  28. Immer Treue says:

    Ridiculous opinion piece by former state senator.
    Just read the comments that throw light on her mistake ridden piece.

    • Mal Adapted says:

      Immer, it appears she’s a current, not a former, state senator.

      If a majority of her constituents actually support her extremism, I’d be very careful never to pass through her district.

      The comments were so good, with so few approving of her piece, that I’m skeptical they’re not heavily moderated! OTOH, if they actually are representative of Missoulian readers, one can hope they’ll turn out for her next election, and vote in someone who is at least not as forthright in her contempt for the rule of law.

    • skyrim says:

      Was this man looking for a cause, or did the cause just run into him? I guess I just don’t understand this “gun culture”

  29. monty says:

    Good to hear that there were only about 100 protesters. Nancy, that was an excellent summation.

    What about the refuge employees and families who will now be the scapegoats for all of the negative emotions or physical intimidation. Some have moved their families. They are on the point of the spear. It has taken years to build good relationships with local ranchers that may have been destroyed by the gun toting cretins. If their trials are held in Burns, Oregon, it only takes one juror to subvert justice.

    • WM says:

      The Oregon Federal Dist. Ct. criminal complaint against Bundy and crew came out of Portland. This will be mostly federal charges including the car theft because it was federal property. The Federal Court also sits in Pendleton (logically a favored venue), and four other OR locations. Jury pool will likely include Harney County along with so many other sparsely populated counties, as well.

      Good point, though.

      And you can bet whatever they come up with will be a long list of charges that cover a wide range of alleged illegal criminal and misdemeanor activities on federal land and involving various pieces of federal property and equipment. It will be interesting to see if the feds ask for a wide range of damages, including relocation costs of Refuge employees to protect their safety or time loss in wages.

      I hope they throw the book at these jerks. And, if they do it right, the sentence handed down on the Hammonds, which they were protesting, will look like a vacation in paradise. But, will federal prosecutors have the courage to do what needs to be done in an election year, with all the Western state R’s watching with interest. Maybe they will drag this thing out until after the election.

  30. JEFF E says:


    Now all this maggot wants is to just go home and be a good boy, he is “done in Harney County”

  31. JEFF E says:

    ” the Finicum family has been approached by some high profile plaintiff attorneys and they have asked me to screen and be a buffer there,” said MacFarlane.”

    the vultures are circling.


  32. Ida Lupines says:

    I hope they are made to repair the damage they have done personally – take out the road they put in personally, clean up their trash, and whatever else they have done, plus an apology to the Paiute people. Maybe the judge can put them on a chain gang-like detail, in lieu of fines and serious jail time?

    Jeff’s ‘They Fought the Law and the Law Won’, reminded me of another song:

    ♪that’s the sound of the Bundys, working on the chain gang….♫

  33. JEFF E says:

    “Mosman affirmed U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman’s decision to release O’Shaughnessy with conditions, noting he has a stable residence with his mother in Cottonwood, Arizona, and a relatively clean record.”


    And I bet all the basement windows are covered in tin foil.

    I tell ya, this shit just can not be made up..

    • skyrim says:

      I wonder if any of this group of clowns do anything meaningful in their lives. Its maddening…….

      • Immer Treue says:

        In an anological sense, like the old British movie, “The Mouse that Roared”. If I remember correctly, a tiny European nation declares war on the United States, hoping to lose, to lay claim to a financial bonus such as the Marshall Plan.


January 2016


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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