The Bundy Boys are now just picking a fight they're not going to win in the long run, but don't tell them yet.
Today's little show was named "Knock Down The Fences," orchestrated by Ammon Bundy.
"This will help them out, being able to run their ranch like they have in the past," Bundy bragged as he knocked down the fence.
Bundy also claimed his band of destructive militants had the family's permission from the to destroy the fence. "They actually showed us where they wanted it," Bundy said.
Except that fence is on Federal land, not Hammond land.
According to Oregon Live, they used an excavator to remove the fence that bore the logo of the Fish and Wildlife Service, while bragging about how they were liberating the land for the cows to graze.
The militants removed barbed wire – Bundy with only his bare hands – and then used an excavator adorned with the Fish and Wildlife Service's logo to pluck stakes out of the ground. The group included Bundy's brother Ryan, Jon Ritzheimer, Ryan Payne, Blaine Cooper, Jason Patrick and Robert "LaVoy" Finicum.
"That's all that's needed for cows to go through," Finicum announced after the work was done. The militants removed about 25 or 30 yards of fence.
In response, the Fish and Wildlife Service released a statement condemning the act.
"In the century of [the] Malheur National Wildlife Refuge's existence, enormous effort has been displayed by partners, surrounding communities, ranchers and landowners to restore a devastated landscape," the statement reads. "Removing fences, damaging any refuge property, or unauthorized use of equipment would be additional unlawful actions by the illegal occupiers. Any movement of cattle onto the refuge or other activities that are not specifically authorized by [the Fish and Wildlife Service] constitutes trespassing.
"If they take down the fences, it hurts the refuge, but it also destroys the positive conservation impacts reaped from decades of direct collaboration and sweat equity paid by the Harney County (and surrounding) communities, ranchers, landowners, partners and friends."
Last week, Harney County rancher Georgia Marshall castigated the militants at a town hall meeting, because of her fear that their presence would undo all of the work local residents had accomplished with respect to preserving the refuge while allowing ranchers to continue to graze their cattle.
The High Desert Partnership is a well-respected local nonprofit that brings ranching, government, conservation and other interests together for collaborative decision-making and projects. It was founded in part to change the antagonistic tone between land users and agencies in Harney County. And Marshall said the collaboration has made big strides.
If your reaction is the same as mine, you're shaking your fist and wondering how long they're going to keep shoving their middle finger in American taxpayers' faces. There are steps underway to begin to hold them accountable.