Hunting season prime time for cattle poaching in Thompson-Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Hunting season prime time for cattle poaching in Thompson-Okanagan

The ranch owner is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the culprits responsible for poaching and butchering this two-year-old bred-heifer.
Image Credit: Contributed/Asha Bishop
October 19, 2016 - 9:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - There have been two reported incidents of cattle poaching in Kamloops over the past week and the general manager of the B.C. Cattlemen's Association fears they won't be the last.

Kevin Boon says this is no coincidence and it's not the first time ranchers in the Thompson-Okanagan have been targeted.

In October, cattle are usually at their heaviest after grazing and gaining weight all summer, Boon says. Livestock also tend to wander further from the ranch during this time. The cattle are more accessible when they are higher up on the range and when ranches have so much acreage, it’s hard for farmers to keep an eye on the whole land all the time.

One of the biggest issues faced by ranchers are people who disguise themselves as hunters when they’re cattle rustling.

“People don’t pay as much attention to someone on a quad carrying a gun,” he says, calling cattle poaching a "black eye" for hunters.

Poaching accounts for about 10 per cent of cattle who have died or gone missing in B.C., Boon says, although it’s hard to actually crunch the numbers since many cases go unreported.

It’s not often ranchers can say with complete certainty rustling was behind the loss of their cattle, Boon says, unless it’s evident people were involved.

A graphic Facebook post from a Kamloops rancher went viral over the weekend, depicting her family’s pregnant cow after it had been slaughtered by a poacher at their ranch. Asha Bishop shared photographs of the murdered cow after her father, Jason Bishop, found the heifer with its back straps and hind legs missing.

“The people who did this knew what they were doing and knew what cut to take,” Boon says. “They didn’t take a lot of pounds, but took the pounds worth the most.”

The Bishop family is offering a $25,000 reward to information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the poacher, similar to what other ranchers have offered in the past.

At this time last year, several cases of cattle poaching were reported in the North Okanagan.

Boon says ranchers become emotionally attached to their cattle, even though they're bred for food.

"Yes, these animals are raised for food production but you as a producer know your cattle… and you do get attached to them," he says. "Emotionally, you take it like anything else. You work hard to produce what you do, whether it’s a cow or carrots in your garden."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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