Cattle rustling is way up in Texas, and officials with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association tell 1200 WOAI's Michael Board that you see the reason why every time you go into the supermarket.


  Doug Hutchison, who is a special investigator with the Association, says thieves hope they can take advantage of sky high beef prices.


  "In the last couple of years, the cattle market has gone into uncharted territory in terms of prices," he said.  "I assume that's one of the major factors."


  The 2011 Texas drought prompted many ranchers to sell off their herds, due to the high cost and sometimes the unavailability of hay to feed them.  Since herds take several years to rebuild, beef prices are expected to remain high for the foreseeable future, turning beef on the hoof into gold on the hoof.


  But Hutchison says even though cattle on the wide open prairie may look easy, it's really not.


  "Even though its a quick way to make some quick cash, it's pretty doggone easy to get caught," he said.


  Hutchison says even though spaces are wide and the law may be a long ways away, cattle raisers are pretty good about noticing signs of rustlers.


  "He'll call his neighbor or he'll call the sheriffs office and say, this may be worth looking into, I really don't think this is right."


  Hutchison expects cattle rustling to remain a problem as long as beef prices stay elevated