Using a case study of the Florida cattlemen community, we examine how cattlemen understand and perceive regulatory efforts to recover the Florida panther on private ranch lands. The data comes from participants in the Florida cattlemen community, and was collected through in-depth interviews ( 13), group interviews (n 32), and written comments associated with a survey about panther conservation (n 78). Our findings indicate that some cattlemen in Florida have a strong sense of community identity. Perceptions of government actions and variation in economic risks are critical factors in understanding how this community responds to federal interventions.