CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Ranch owner seeks justice after longhorn bull, calf shot dead

Oct 21, 2019, 1:49 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:27 am
Mark Mecham came home to his Mayfield ranch last week to find both a longhorn bull and black angus steer calf dead from gunshot wounds. (PHOTO: Courtesy of Mark Mecham)
(PHOTO: Courtesy of Mark Mecham)

MAYFIELD, Utah — Mark Mecham is searching for a number of answers.

He still doesn’t know who targeted his Mayfield ranch last week. Perhaps most confounding, he doesn’t know why anyone would shoot and kill his family’s 3-year-old Texas Longhorn bull and a Black Angus steer calf.

“I would think that living in a smaller town, local kids would probably have a little bit more knowledge and respect about what an animal means to someone,” he says.

Mecham doesn’t know if irresponsible kids are guilty of this act, or if it has anything to do with the ongoing hunting season.

Perhaps most frustrating, he doesn’t know much about what exactly happened.

He does know that the shooting occurred last week when he was away from his property.

Mecham’s wife was going into labor. They had both left the ranch to travel to a hospital.  Mecham says that, later, they found out that two of his animals weren’t waking up.  But he wasn’t able to return home until the following morning.

“When I did get here, the animals had started to bloat and decompose,” explains Mecham. “That enabled me to see where the bullet holes were.”

He says there were no exit wounds and the bullets were small caliber, which leads him to believe both animals suffered a slow death.

The Mecham ranch is in a rural area and he estimates there are around 600 total people in their community.

Many others live a similar lifestyle and understand the value of a ranch animal.

“People that raise livestock, ranchers and farmers, it’s not a seriously lucrative way of life, it’s really not,” says Mecham.

To put a number on it, Mecham says they were looking to sell the longhorn bull for around $5,000.

In addition to the financial hit, he adds that his family had grown attached to the animals. And the longhorn bull was a special attraction for passersby who would stop their vehicle and snap a few pictures.

No leads or new information developed over the weekend, although the Sanpete Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate.

In hopes of expediting the process, Mecham is offering a $2,500 reward for any information that leads to an arrest or conviction in the shooting.

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