By Angela Kocherga
FORT DAVIS, Texas - The high price of cattle is causing some to bypass auctions altogether and steal lucrative livestock.
"It's raining and the cows are fat," rancher Oscar Medley said. After years of drought, life is good again in West Texas ranching towns.
Ranchers who held on to their herds during the drought can now get a hefty price: as much as $1,500 a head. Soaring prices have led to the rise of an old fashioned crime: cattle rustling.
This has Medley recalling an old west saying: "Cattle thieves will be shot and the survivors will be shot again."
Special Rangers are more likely to handle the cases in Texas these days.
"Our rangers last year investigated close to 800 cases and recovered half a million dollars in stolen goods," rancher Robert McKnight said.
He is a sixth generation rancher and a member of the Texas Southwest Cattle Raiser's Association, which pays for the 30 special rangers.
According to investigators, the most vulnerable cattle are those grazing closest to major roadways.
"We are out on our country all the time and we know what's going on," McKnight said.
He keeps a close eye on his heifers, which graze away from the highway, but he can't watch them all the time and that's what rustlers are counting on. Video.