October 07, 2015 - 4:30 PM
VERNON - Poachers are shooting cattle in the North Okanagan and either taking the meat, or leaving the animals for dead.
Pete Wise, a wildlife control specialist in Vernon, says at least three cows have been shot since September on range land leased by the Coldstream Ranch.
“Somebody is intentionally targeting them,” Wise says.
In two cases, the hindquarters were taken and the rest of the animal left, Wise says. In a third case, a cow was shot, but no meat was taken. The incidents follow a report of another cow found shot to death on July 11.
“The Coldstream Ranch has taken a hard policy on this,” Wise says. “There’s a thousand dollar reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of these individuals.”
He says it appears the cows were put down by the shots fairly quickly, and likely didn’t suffer.
The animals are worth up to $3,000 each, leaving the ranch suffering significant losses, Wise says. He’s seen this type of offence before, but says this frequency is unusual.
“Meat prices are high right now in the supermarket, if somebody sees a cow wandering down the road, it’s just a matter of opportunity,” Wise says.
He says there's a good chance the culprits are illegally poaching other animals as well and hopes the public will help put a stop to the activity.
“I’m a firm believer if they’ll take a cow, they’ll take a moose or a deer in a heartbeat,” Wise says.
Ranch manager Brad McKim says poaching cattle is illegal, and that butchers aren't supposed to accept meat without proof it was taken legally.
"They must be finding some way around that," McKim says.
He says the ranch will be posting reward signs around town in hopes of generating tips.
"We’d like to try to increase our awareness for people out in the bush if they see something suspsect to let us and the authorities know,” he says.
The shot cows were found in the area of King Edward Lake Road and Postill Lake. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Vernon RCMP, Crimestoppers, or McKim, at 250-306-0666.
You can contact the Vernon RCMP at 250-545-7171 or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015