BLM officials release seized cattle in face of protesters, some armed, on horseback

NEVADA — Officials with the Bureau of Land Management released cattle they had seized after a court ruling regarding grazing rights, and the move came after supporters of the rancher who owns the cattle protested for several days in a series of sometimes intense confrontations.

Piute County Commissioner Darin Bushman told FOX 13 News over the phone the cattle had been released late Saturday afternoon, and the photo above shows protesters watching the trail of cows moving away from BLM officials.

FOX 13 News reached out to several BLM officials Saturday for comment, but those phone calls had not been returned as of Saturday evening.

Photos show protesters, some armed and some on horseback, gathering near the location the cattle were being held Saturday prior to their release, and armed officials stood nearby. I-15 was closed in the area for some time as a result.

FOX 13 News sister station FOX 5 in Las Vegas reported earlier Saturday that a group of protesters had gathered in an effort to free the cattle that had been seized. FOX 5 later reported the cattle had been released with BLM officials citing a wish to “avoid violence and help restore order.”

Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who says his family has been letting their cattle graze on the land since the 1800s, was ordered to remove the cattle by the courts. Bundy stopped paying grazing fees in the 1990s because he said the land his cattle graze on should belong to Nevada.

The BLM, however, has managed the public lands for the federal government for decades and said Bundy’s cattle are trespassing.

When Bundy refused to remove his cattle, the Bureau of Land Management moved to seize the animals, which led to a series of tense confrontations with the protesters who came from across the country to support Bundy. The protests went for about a week, and a member of the Bundy family was hit with a stun gun during a protest Wednesday.

FOX 13 News’ Zach Whitney spoke with protesters and BLM officials Friday, click here for those interviews.

“It’s just reached a point where we have to draw a line in the sand, and defend our constitutional rights,” protester Brand Thornton said earlier in the weekend.

Amy Leuders, Nevada State Director for the BLM, told FOX 13 News earlier this weekend that courts had ruled on the matter.

“The courts have ruled that Mr. Bundy is on trespass on the these lands,” she said. “The courts have ordered Mr. Bundy to remove his livestock and have authorized the Bureau of Land Management to remove the cattle if he doesn’t.”

FOX 13 News will have more information as it becomes available.


  • Mark Henderson

    This rancher need to have his entire heard confiscated.
    Tea party idiots disregarding the rule or law, and claiming the most un-american of all idea “birth right”.
    The BLM should go back, confiscate the cattle and arrest anyone who impends them or the public, and bring necessary force.

    • Anthony Pierce

      you sir are an idiot….i guess you think that making guns illeagal with reduce gun crime too

      • laytonian

        “you sir are an idiot….i guess you think that making guns illeagal with reduce gun crime too”

        Anthony, please come back when you can write a sentence in the English language. Can you define “illeagal”? If you can’t spell it, you can’t claim to understand it.

        How much money do YOU take from the government every month, Anthony? Were you part of the Medicare Militia out there, pretending to be tough guys?

      • Eric Anderson

        It is a fact that Chicago’s murder rate has suddenly dropped to the lowest since 1958 now that they have a “shall issue” carry permit law.

        It is a fact that all of the increases in the U.S. murder rate have followed “gun control” legislation.

        It is a fact that, even as gun ownership rates have exploded, the violent crime rate has plummeted over the past decades.

        Sorry, laytonian, but all the ad hominem attacks in the world won’t change the fact that gun-grabbers are dead wrong, and have been every time.

      • laytonian

        That land has ALWAYS been Federal land; it was purchased by the Federal government from Mexico.
        The agency now called “The BLM” was “The General Land Office” LONG before any Bundy settled there.

      • Eric Anderson

        laytonian, please direct us to the provision in the Constitution that authorizes the Fed to own the physical land of a STATE.

        The land was under Federal jurisdiction until it became a state. That’s the whole point of a “state.”

        Why didn’t you “logic” apply to Eastern states? Eh? The original 13 states appeared after the Fed got them by treaty from Great Britain. Why wasn’t every unoccupied inch of THOSE immediately deemed “Federal Land”?

        Why did they find it necessary to create a special exception for the District of Columbia?

        You know absolutely nothing about the Constitution, American civics, law……or how to tie your shoes, probably.

        By the way: When you fail to find that part of the Constitution, I direct your attention to the Bill of Rights. Specifically the 10th Amendment.

    • MrFreedomMaker

      Sir, you were born 75-years too late. You would have serve Hitlers reginme well as a mindless drone for the government.

    • Bitsko

      You’re a perfect sheep.

      His family owed no grazing fees for 140 years. And under Nevada law he still doesn’t.

      The Feds have no Constitutional authority to own the physical land. Why else do you think a special exception was needed for the District of Columbia?

      Since the Fed isn’t authorized, the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly states that control of the land falls to “…..the States, or to the People.”

      The People have spoken.

      Are you aware of Harry Reid’s deal with the Chinese to build a solar farm on the ranch land? This was done because the Chinese ordered it……and since we owe the Chinese trillions of dollars (and they have nukes pointed at us) then they are the landlords.

    • Mike Wren

      This is not about cattle, and hasn’t been for a long time. It’s about over-reaching of government. You’ll feel different when you’re the one who gets targeted. The rule of law here was obstructed by the government when they ‘annexed’ his family property to the jurisdiction of the BLM WHO DOES NOT OWN THE LAND. They used the tortoise as a FAKE issue because the tortoise has lived side by side with the cattle now for well over one hundred years. In fact, they have euthanized over a hundred of the tortoise. This is a land grab, Mark, and you need to look into it more carefully.

    • Bob

      Mark, our government allows illegal aliens into our country, and thereafter feeds and supports them. When it comes to the “Tea party idiots disregarding the rule or law”, they are only following the example our leaders are setting.

      The rancher should identify his cows as illegal aliens and then demand eqaual rights.

    • Jay

      @mark. I was going to cite the merits of the alternative view but then noticed this was Fox and consequently you probably wouldn’t understand or appreciate the perspective.

  • Utah Red

    What gives the Federal govt. the right to own 85% of Nevada? No other state in the union suffers that heavy hand, though some of us come close.

      • Bitsko

        The treaty gave the U.S. government jurisdiction until Nevada became a state. The Constitution does not authorize the Federal government to own the physical land of any state. When a state is admitted to the Union then “public lands” within that state become the property of the state.

        Tell me, sheep, why doesn’t your theory apply back East? Eh? Where are the vast tracts of BLM land in New York? Massachusetts? Even Kentucky?

        When you fail to answer, I’ll explain to you that the concept of “BLM” and “government ownership” didn’t exist until the “big, square states” out West were added. Then, suddenly, Easterners had NO PROBLEM with the Fed owning the land. Funny how that works.

        The 13 original colonies became part of the United States by treaty with Great Britain. Why didn’t the Fed instantly own every square inch of unsettled land in THOSE states, eh? Riddle me that.

  • Common Sense

    It is not a constitutional right to be a dick hole. get over yourself Cliven! You got your fame now please go away.

    • Lancelot6870

      When was he a D…Hole? He is fighting for OUR rights. It may be federal lands, but they have been doing this land grab long enough. They have used environmentalist reasons LONG enough! This was about a BILLION dollar investment, NOT anything else!

      • Eric Anderson

        That’s “common sense’s” standard response whenever anyone refuses to get on his knees and service the government upon demand.

        His own kneepads are worn out.

  • Lancelot6870

    I hear on the news that some were armed, yet I don’t see ANY proof of that. I do see a LOT of Automatic Weapons, Dogs, Semi-Auto Pistols and tasers attached to the Militarized police force called the BLM.

    • Trish Ramirez

      I do believe, sir, that this is the point that Mr. Bundy is making. Look at the AUTHORIZED show of force the BLM a-holes get to use against US citizens over a land dispute. Ridiculous. Mr. Bundy’s stance is about making a point. He is protesting the excessive power and authority of a big federal government over local issues. He is not a squatter, he doesn’t recognize the authority of an illegally acting federal government over state lands. People need to wake up and realize that what he is doing isn’t about money or cows it’s about principle and how much authority citizens are willing to happily hand away to the government. We are supposed to be free men and women in this country, not property of our government. Something has changed in the hearts of American citizens since this country was founded. People today seem to believe that to be a patriot you must blindly agree to and follow every federal law imposed upon you. That is NOT what this country is or ever was supposed to be about. This country was founded on standing up to tyranny and respecting individual rights. Our federal government has gotten too big for its britches, and Cliven Bundy is doing a great job of pointing that out.

      If agents of the BLM can come to these people’s front door with semi-automatic weapons and dogs and the authority to shoot people under the guise of JUST DOING THEIR JOB, it could be YOUR front door they come to next. Maybe the feds decide they don’t like your religion or that they want to turn your neighborhood into an oil field and they are going to come take your land – which under eminent domain they can LEGALLY do – and they show up with dogs and guns and threaten you and yours, what are you going to do? Stand back and give your land to the government because of some arbitrarily enacted law or are you going to fight for your rights as a sovereign citizen of this free Republic?

      There’s more to this story than is being reported by the media, it is about more than some cows and some turtles. It is about State’s rights and citizens rights vs. the rights of the Feds. How much are we going to take? Why are our fellow American citizens taking Federal jobs and pointing weapons on their neighbors over a land dispute? What is going on in this country? People need to wake up.

      • Alice Clark

        Many good points written by Trish. There is many things the media is not reporting & we are being kept in the dark concerning this issue as well as many others. Good for Mr. Bundy for standing up to the BLM. I am sure the BLM thought he was a push over & would give in without a fight. Well they were wrong & I am glad to see this happen. Without the media there to report it the BLM would most likely have taken over. Bet the media got a surprise at this ending as well. But, with all the support for Mr. Bundy they were not able to achieve their evil wish. Thanks to all the supporters who showed up. To those who are whining about being stuck on I-15 or that think the Bundy family should have their cows taken away, to bad. Next time you want beef, raise your own. To many people now days have no idea all that goes into raising the very food we can just go to the store & buy. The ranchers & growers get very little for all the hard work they put into it. When you get hungry, thank a rancher or a farmer. Hang in their Mr. Bundy & all those who support his cause.

    • melinda

      Just so you a known I was there supporting him. Yes some people were armed HOWEVER no one was holding guns in their hands on our side. They were all concealed or over the should on backs. We had tons Pointe at us the ENTIRE time, even when we all knelt down to pray the couple times we did…they told a reporter if he took another step forward then they would shoot him…he still decided to go forward and thankfully they didnt shoot hom. He was unarmed except for a video camera. These people(blm) for one should NOT be armed period, and they also should not have had guns pointing at us. another thing is the BLM was not in any danger, they backed off because of US standing up for OUR LAND. CLIVEN never said its HIS land he said its OUR LAND and we will fight for it until we win back ALL OYR LAND!

  • Bitsko

    It’s disheartening how many so-called “Americans” have so little clue about their own Constitution and their own rights. And don’t CARE, either.

  • russojoe205000

    This is nothing more then the government slowly trying to take away the rights of the people of this nation. Our government is suppose to be For the people, of the people, by the people and not for the government, by the government, and of the government, courts, dens, republicans, tea party, and conservatives. We as a nation must say enough is enough and take back our country by any means nescesary before its to late!

  • Hyrum_Justice

    Quit being deadbeats on our land ranchers! Pay your lease including back pay or be gone. If you really are ranchers you should have a ranch to keep them until you make other arrangements. This land does not only belong to you, and our hired custodians should be in their legal right to shoot you for tresspassing! Be happy you have your cattle and your life. Be gone!

  • Anita C Lively

    That’s a LIE.. The BLM did NOT just release the cattle to Mr Bundy. The BLM made an agreement to get the hell out of their and avert the bloodshed that would have been seen around the world. The Bundy’s took their rightfully owned cattle back. This is not about Red vs Blue or Dem vs Rep.. It’s about the Freedom of all of us in America & it’s about BIG BLOATED Gov sticking their noses and their eyes and policies in everything we do. Wake up People! It’s about US, all of US.. Free American’s in a FREE Society… WE hired the Gov, We can fire them but WE have to stick together.. No Politics.. This isn’t about Cattle or Turtles. It’s about FREEDOM!

  • Bob

    Fox News toured the damage — allegedly caused by the Bureau of Land Management — which included holes in water tanks and destroyed water lines and fences. According to family friends, the bureau’s hired “cowboys” also killed two prize bulls.

    Typical example of the arrogance that the federal government exudes.

  • Arevard

    i don’t admit to knowing every thing i should about the constitution, but i do know that using environmental excuses to take away a persons rights is wrong. my father had property that after two years flooded and stayed wet. 5 years later the wetlands act was passed and he was not allowed to do anything with the property except pay taxes on it. he went from having an investment to losing almost everything. why should the government be able to say he can’t use the property by filling when a contractor can, if he creates wetlands somewhere else. i know these aren’t exactly the same but the idea behind them is. enough is enough!!

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