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Malheur Occupiers Cut Government Fence Near Refuge

Anna King
Northwest News Network
Ammon Bundy, one of the leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, winds back barbed-wire fencing after his crew cut an 80-foot gap between federal and private ground Monday in east Oregon.

In southeast Oregon Monday, about a half-dozen armed men cut fences between government land and a private ranch near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Around lunchtime, Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan loaded up a U.S. Fish & Wildlife small CAT dozer. They trailered it with a pickup down long stretches of dirt road.

A press convoy followed. After rolling through a vast snowy field, the occupiers stopped. They struggled a bit to unload the CAT from the trailer.

Ryan Bundy, one of the leaders of the occupation, was taking down the fencing. He said ranchers needed to graze these lands -- although he wouldn’t call it federal property.

“Because this is range ground that they’ve used in the past and now it’s fenced off and prevented them from using it,” Bundy said.

Eventually, 80-feet of barbed-wire fencing was cut down, the metal posts were removed. A wide gap for cattle to move. Federal Fish & Wildlife officials say they consider this trespassing.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.