Audio of Haunting Oath Keepers Phone Call With LaVoy Finicum Two Days Before His Death

LaVoyat refuge

Recording of phone call by Oath Keepers to Lavoy Finicum, two days before his death, urging him and the Bundy brothers to make a “lateral, tactical move” to a constitutional sheriff’s county, to continue to spread the message of western land rights and organizing ranchers, under the protection of a strong sheriff, and warning him that all indicators pointed to the “the powers that be” being mere days away from shutting down their ability to spread that message, one way or another. 


On Sunday, January 24, 2016 (just two days before his death) Lavoy Finicum was a guest on Jason Van Tatenhove’s radio show (The Patriot Report)along with Stewart Rhodes, Founder and President of Oath Keepers.  On the show, they discussed how Lavoy and Ammon Bundy’s message of western ranchers resistance to federal tyranny had begun to “catch fire” and was spreading to other counties and other states, with an additional eight ranchers (including in Utah and New Mexico) stepping up to declare their “emancipation” and independence from the BLM and USFS.    They also discussed the great advantages to taking stands in counties that had strong constitutional sheriffs willing to interpose and protect the ranchers.  Here is that discussion:




After the show Stewart Rhodes, Idaho Oath Keeper Todd Engle (veteran of Bundy Ranch) and Jason Van Tatenhove called Lavoy on the phone and warned him that it was clear that the FBI and the state of Oregon had put in place all the personnel (approximately 400 officers) and equipment needed to shut the occupiers down, and that by our estimation that action was imminent (within two to three days, tops).   We urged him to consider making a tactical lateral move to a county with a strong constitutional sheriff, so that they could continue to spread the “brushfire” of liberty in the minds of other ranchers.

Jason had set his Skype account to record the show, but we didn’t realize at the time that it was still recording when we made the phone call to LaVoy after the show.   We just discovered this recording:




Some critical background – Todd Engle (an Idaho Oath Keepers leader and veteran of Bundy Ranch), along with an Oath Keeper with extensive military special operations experience (who prefers to remain anonymous), had traveled to Burns, OR, conducted an assessment of the federal/Oregon State Police strength and preparations, and then visited the refuge on Saturday, January 23, 2016 and sat down with Ammon Bundy and his bodyguard Brian Cavalier (“Booda”).

They warned Ammon and Booda that all  the assets were in place for a federal cordon or raid, and that they estimated that within a few days (2-3) the FBI would make a move to shut them down, one way or another.   They told Ammon that his tactical situation was FUBAR and the feds were not going to let Ammon and cohorts continue to come and go freely, or communicate freely, to spread their message.    They strongly warned Ammon that he had reached the point of serious diminishing returns, and it was time to leave, while he still could.

They informed Ammon that, at a minimum, the FBI would put a cordon in place, block all ingress and egress (no more speaking events or meetings with other ranchers) and then kill all cell reception, internet, etc and prevent them from being able to communicate with anyone except the FBI negotiators.  Therefore, they urged Ammon and his crew to leave and continue to spread their message from a better location.   We were waiting to see some indicator that they had taken the advice to heart.

The next day, on Sunday, January 24, 2016, I was on Jason’s show with LaVoy, and LaVoy and I discussed how their message was spreading like wildfire throughout the West, and how the very best way to go when resisting federal oppression of ranchers is to have a strong constitutional sheriff to back up and protect the ranchers, with a united community serving as his posse.   He agreed that this was ideal.

After the show,  I asked Jason to call LaVoy, and I asked Todd to join us, so we could make sure LaVoy got the same information that Ammon had gotten the day before, and to encourage him to make a move to that strongest position possible –  a county with a constitutional sheriff, with ranchers ready to stand, where they could continue to spread their message, educating and organizing ranchers, but now under the protection of a strong sheriff who would also protect the ranchers who were declaring independence from federal tyranny and lawlessness.

We discussed some strong Utah sheriffs as possibilities (not realizing they had already scheduled a meeting with Sheriff Glenn Palmer of Grant County, OR, apparently with a mind to spread the message and methods to Grant County, but not to actually relocate there).  LaVoy told us he recognized the wisdom in what we were saying and that he would talk to Ammon and Ryan Bundy about it.

Unfortunately, they decided against following our advice, as was made clear in the video LaVoy made the next day, Jan 25, declaring that they were not leaving, and that the federal government was never getting those buildings back:

LaVoy also did an interview on Jan 25, just one day before he was killed, in which he discussed the increased federal presence and hardening of the feds’ posture:

As LaVoy himself noted, they were out in the middle of nowhere, and were focused on education, so why the rapidly escalating threat of force?  Well, clearly the powers that be felt threatened by their message, with the two Oregon U.S. Senators later admitting that they considered the Bundy/Finicum message to be a “virus” that was spreading, and bragging that they had spoken directly with Valerie Jarrett (the “power behind the throne” in the White House and real decision maker/handler of Obama), and the FBI Director about the urgent need to shut that message down.

There was no physical threat to the community, and no real emergency, with Ammon and crew having traveled peaceably back and forth to multiple public events and meetings.  But clearly there Was a POLITICAL emergency and the regime felt threatened by their ideals.  And the Oregon Governor also stamped her feet and demanded immediate action to stop them (and remember, she commands the Oregon State Police).   LaVoy’s blood is on their hands, for that is the reason for the “felony stop” and deadly barricade used to shut that “virus” of truth down.


I have read many people asking “what next?” and “how do we do this better?”   I think this final conversation with LaVoy can help provide an answer.

The single most effective and realistic way to do this better (at least until a state legislature and governor truly stands up) is to find a constitutional sheriff who is serious about taking a stand, with local ranchers in his county who are also serious, and use that county as a true strong point base of operations to spread that “virus” of educating and organizing resistance among ranchers, to reclaim western lands stolen from the states by the federal government.  And that is the best way to counter the obvious intent of the powers that be to suppress and chill the spirit of resistance by having made an example out of Ammon, LaVoy, Ryan Bundy, and the others.

As I reminded LaVoy on the call, every single time a sheriff has stood up in defense of ranchers, farmers, etc, the feds have blinked and backed down.  They have NEVER tried to run over such a sheriff, because the “optics” of doing so would be terrible for the regime.   A duly elected sheriff, standing up for people’s rights, under his authority and duty pursuant to his oath, and backed up by all the patriots in his county, serving as his posse, provides us with a very strong position in terms of legitimacy, moral high ground, local support, unity of effort, and competent local leadership that can be sustained for the long haul, precisely because it is locally led.  And all in defense of local ranchers who simply want to live and work in freedom, as they have for generations.   In other words, far stronger than even Bundy Ranch, where the local sheriff was hostile and most support came from outside the area.

That is the kind of sustainable support and shelter Ammon/LaVoy’s “brushfires in the minds of men” needs.  If you want to be sure that LaVoy did not die in vain, that is the way to do  it.   Yes, when a rancher is in trouble and asks for help, you may have no choice but to ride to his rescue even under less than ideal conditions.   But if you have the luxury of choosing your ground, why not choose a county with a strong constitutional sheriff, rather than where the sheriff is hostile?

And now, more than ever, that needs to be done ASAP so the patriot movement out west has a strong point to carry on Ammon and LaVoy’s work – a strong “focus of effort” -and take some of the heat off of lone ranchers.   Give Big Brother something to really worry about out West.

Who will be our Western “Walking Tall” Sheriff?   That is the immediate question that needs to be answered.

Stewart Rhodes



As I reflect on the events of the last month, I cannot help but feel dismayed at the lack of intelligence by some in this movement.

By all accounts, it’s the majority opinion that this operation, the occupation of the refuge, was an ill conceived, poorly planned boondoggle, which the final outcome has proven.

The parties involved were emotionally attached to this single, yet very important issue and that was their driving force; emotion and passion.

They sought no input or guidance from any of the leaders in the liberty movement and did not consider how it would affect the movement as a whole. Thus, they chose this battle for us and wrote checks their ass couldn’t cash.

We, especially in the west, empathize fully with the plight of the ranchers and farmers and are doing everything we can to curb the oppression that they’re under and restore their property rights in a manner that will not get us thrown into prison or worse, killed. Any and all actions that we take must be fully analyzed prior to implementation so as to guarantee a likelihood of success. In this case, they did not adhere to those principals.

As we begin to digest the killing of LaVoy, we must dissect what they did right and what they did wrong and never, and I repeat never dig in our heels in emotion and stubbornness when messengers have been sent to warn you of an imminent threat.

I pray for the family of LaVoy and am saddened at their loss but I would like everyone who’s extremely upset and out for blood to understand that once we enter the two way range, there’s no going back, so choose your actions wisely.

Todd Engel


Note from Jason Van Tatenhove;

There is a lot of people that take silence after a major event like we saw with the killing of LaVoy Finicum as a lack of action. Many times this notion is very far from the truth of the matter. This last week I and other members of the Oath Keepers have been quiet on the killing. This is not because of a lack of action. As these audio files will demonstrate we were actually very busy working behind the scenes trying diligently to help move LaVoy and the other members of the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom to a more strategically strong location to continue their free exercise of their right to speech, to peaceably assemble and petition of their government for a redress of grievances. Please note that this call was placed after my radio show and I still had the record function of my skype system left on.

Earlier in the week Oregon’s US senator Ron Wyden said the standoff was “a situation where the virus was spreading,” and action needed to be taken. What I truly believe that they were afraid of was not the occupiers who had occupied a facility that was in the middle of nowhere and not even being used in the middle of winter. What they were scared of was the fact that LaVoy’s message of emancipation from the BLM was beginning to spread like wildfire. The meeting they were traveling to at the time of the stop had over 400 community members that wanted to hear their message of unplugging from the current BLM system. They could not allow this wildfire of ideas and knowledge to continue spreading and I believe they took very affective steps to stop it. We must not let these ideas be stopped! we must pick up the torch that was dropped and continue to light the wildfires of liberty, freedom and knowledge.

Many of us in the Patriot / Liberty Movement are now asking ourselves where do we go from here. I earnestly and wholeheartedly believe that one of the best answers we have to this question lies in those counties in Utah that were discussed on my radio show two weeks back. Those counties where we have other patriot ranchers that have agreed to stand up and sign LaVoy’s Emancipation Proclamation committing to unplugging from the BLM system while they have a County Sheriff willing to stand behind them giving them the security and support so direly need.



For more information about The Patriot Report with Jason Van Tatenhove please visit the website: www.ThePatriot.Report


About Author

Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.