Starting in the mid-1990s, Nevada rancher Wayne Hage grazed his cows on public land without the necessary permits, saying his rights predated federal ownership. Hage, an outspoken government critic, passed away in 2006, but his son Wayne N. Hage continued the fight, illegally adding more cows annually — up to 648 by 2011. In 2016, after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, an appeals court judge ruled that the Hages did indeed need permits. (“One Sagebrush Rebellion flickers out — or does it?” HCN, 9/12/12).
In late February, a federal district judge in Nevada ended the saga, ordering the Hages to pay $587,294 for “repeated willful unauthorized grazing.” Chief Judge Gloria Navarro said the Hages’ livestock must be removed by the end of March and cannot graze on public lands within Nevada again without written permission from the federal government. Judge Navarro is also presiding over Cliven Bundy’s trial for the armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management on his Bunkerville, Nevada, ranch in 2014.