GATESVILLE — Special rangers with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association teamed with federal, state and local law officers to recover almost $4.5 million in stolen livestock and property in 2012, Special Ranger Marvin Wills told a crowd of 150 at the group’s ranch gathering here Tuesday.

Wills is one of 30 TSCRA special rangers who worked 980 cases involving 10,446 head of missing livestock last year. They recovered about 35 percent of the stolen animals.

Wills’ district includes Bell, Bosque, Coryell, Falls, Hamilton, Hill, Lampasas and McLennan counties.

Stock owners can increase the chances of recovering stolen animals and make a case against thieves if they use the time-honored technique of branding, Wills said.

“Brand your cattle,” he said. “With a brand and a DNA sample, we are good to go” in making a case in court.

Eldon White, executive vice president and CEO of the organization, echoed the advice.

“Some say branding is antiquated compared to electronic tags,” White said.

“Almost all ear tags are removed from stolen cattle, but 100 percent of

those wearing brands still have the brands.”

White urged cattle raisers to use both electronic tagging and branding.

TSCRA, a 136-year-old trade association, is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas.

The group’s membership includes families and businesses with more than 16,000 beef cattle operations.

The organization represents about 50,000 individuals involved in ranching and beef production who manage four million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land across the Southwest, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma.

Contact Tim Orwig at

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