Oklahoma Agriculture Department Special Agent Jerry Flowers told members of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Thursday that 1,076 head of cattle have been reported stolen this year.
He said fewer than 550 head were stolen in all of 2008.
Flowers says not only is the economy down and cattle are easy to steal and to sell at livestock auctions — many ranchers don't bother to brand their livestock. And he says even cattle that are branded are often given a new brand to obscure the original.
Cattle rustling is a felony in Oklahoma, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.