Pinedale rancher fined for grazing-permit violations

PINEDALE – Former Pinedale ranch manager Phil Selby was fined and paid $15,000 after pleading guilty on Oct. 18 to three federal misdemeanors related to grazing-permit violations, according to Wyoming’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The charges against Selby, former manager of Rendezvous Ranch, were filed Sept. 20 in U.S. District Court – providing false information to a Forest Service officer, allowing unauthorized livestock on national forest land and violating terms and conditions of a grazing permit. Each has a maximum fine of $5,000 that Magistrate Kelly Rankin imposed against Selby, plus $100 for each charge.

In 2017, investigators looking into another set of transactions in California uncovered information of a “significant number of illegally rebranded cattle … moved onto (Bridger-Teton National Forest).”

Rendezvous Ranch had a term grazing permit that required the ranch could only turn out cattle it owned out onto the forest.

The investigation “revealed that Selby, then manager of the Pinedale-based Rendezvous Ranch, acknowledged terms of the grazing permit in writing and admitted he had been engaged in a business relationship with (the unnamed person of interest) in California.”

Records of multiple payments from California to Selby were found to connect Selby to the cattle transfer “even though the ranch legally owned no cattle,” it says. There cattle were “illegally rebranded, giving the appearance of a legitimate transfer.”

The state seized the cattle in the fall of 2017; Selby then signed an affidavit that about 370 head were shipped from California to Pinedale and turned out.

The Rendezvous Ranch changed ownership in the months that followed.

Selby appeared in U.S. District Court in Casper on Oct. 18, pleaded guilty, paid $15,000 in fines, $300 in fees and the case was closed, according to court records.

*This story has been updated to clarify that Selby is not currently the ranch manager.