Approximately 25 cows have been found shot since Oct. 1 between Nowata and Rogers counties. Authorities are concerned about motive and possible suspects.

The latest dead cows, along with a llama, were found by the owners of AWB Ranch in the Spencer Creek area. The owners say two of the cows, found shot, were pregnant, causing the ranch an even greater loss.

“I had about eight or nine cows killed at my place in Alluwe, and they cut my fence, so I moved them over here,” the ranch owner said. He wished to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation. “Now they’ve come over here to my ranch and killed some more.”

The owner said he had a feeling the person he calls the “serial cow killer” would travel south from Nowata County.

“I knew they were going to come across the lake because in Nowata they’ve been looking for them,” he said.

For this ranch owner, and many others in the county, cows are a way of life and replacing them can be costly. The ranchers said they just bought $13,000 worth of cows at an auction in Coffeyville, and will now have to replace three of those. Two pregnant cows were found shot and another was shot in the jaw. The ranchers had to go ahead and kill the injured animal. The rancher also asked the butcher to try and find the bullet.

On Wednesday, Game Warden Jeff Brown said, “The first cows shot were found in Nowata County in August and then we didn’t hear anymore about any shot until October.

“The first set of cows that were killed were calves, and they were butchered. Now they’re killing these old mama cows and leaving them lay,” Brown said.

A few of the cows found shot were partially butchered, which causes Brown to suspect that the suspect or suspects may have been scared off before finishing the job.

Evidence was gathered at the Spencer Creek scene on Wednesday, and Rogers County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Schrader said he is hopeful the evidence will lead to a suspect.

“It’s got to be somebody who knows these roads, possibly from Chelsea, and knows where they are going,” Schrader said.

John Cummings, a former Claremore lawman and now special ranger with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raiser Association, said he too is concerned about the cattle being killed in the area.

“We need to get together and form a task force to try and stop this,” Cummings said. “I guess we need to figure out what we can do up here at night.”

Cummings said it needs to be a collaborative effort between the Cattle Raisers Association, the Department of Wildlife and the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office.

Game Wardens like Brown have been trying to patrol the Nowata County (Alluwe) area since Oct. 1, but have had no luck locating a suspect. The potential evidence gathered at AWB Ranch may help narrow the search and if a night watch is coordinated, a suspect may be caught.

Brown said the AWB Ranch scene is the farthest south the shooters have traveled since the killing started. But the ranch owner said there may be more in his area that have not been reported.

“I thought I had a sickness in my herd at first, but then I saw that one cow had been shot in the jaw,” he said. “I think maybe there might be other cows that have been found dead and the owners may not know if they have been shot.”

According to Brown, it is difficult to determine whether a cow has been shot because of the thickness of the hide.

“When a bullet goes into that tough hide, it just seals that little hole back up and if you can’t see blood coming out, you may not know it has been shot,” he said.

Cummings and Brown are urging ranchers who have discovered dead cows on their property to contact him so the group can monitor and map where the incidents have occurred.

“A lot of times these land owners won’t call, so we don’t know,” Brown said.

Authorities believe the same suspect(s) are responsible for the dead cows in both Nowata and Rogers counties.

Cummings can be reached at 342-0888, or call the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office at 341-3535.