WARREN — Paul and Jean Loyning have lived on their ranch at the base of the Pryor Mountains for decades and say every day brings something new. Their 18,000-acre property near the Montana-Wyoming border is their livelihood.
“I have been here my whole life,” said Paul, whose family has ranched on the land since the late 1800s, on Tuesday.
When their neighbors called around 4:30 Monday afternoon to let them know three of their cows had been found shot dead, they were shocked.
“I didn’t understand why anybody would do something like that to an animal just standing there,” Jean said.
The cows were left for dead after they had been shot.
“Killed them for no reason, looks like. Didn’t get any meat,” said Paul.
The Loynings own about 600 head of cattle. Several of those cows were grazing along Rail Bed Road among the wind turbines and a natural gas pipeline, where some men happened to be working.
“Some of them are workers who kind of, actually were there, near the scene, saw what was going on,” Paul said.
According to witnesses, a man in a Dodge Dakota drove up the dirt road Monday afternoon and shot two calves and a cow from inside his truck.
“Shoot them right out of the window with a small caliber gun, it looks like,” said Paul.
The shooter has yet to be identified and the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office said the case is currently under investigation.
And the Loynings have no idea why someone would target their cattle. The loss of these animals will cost them at least $5,000, but that’s the least of their worries.
“It kind of hurts ya. You know every cow here was born here and raised here,” Paul said.
Their sense of security has been thrown for a loop.
“We always thought Warren would be discovered, and we wouldn’t have to go through this but obviously, that’s not the case. It’s everywhere and it’s sad,” said Jean.
The Loynings are worried that this wasn’t a one-off incident and that if the suspect isn’t caught, something much worse couple happen.
“You can do something like this, you’re one step off of doing it to a human being, and that’s scary,” Jean said.