Police are looking for tips as they try to solve the mysterious shooting deaths of a pair of calves on a Carberry-area farm.
The owner of the animals, Allan Reynolds, says he can’t explain the shootings, or why it appears the tongue was cut from one of the animals.
The whole thing is unsettling, he says.
“That’s the only thing that bothers me ... If it’s random, it’s not so bad, but if somebody decided that we were a target then it kind of makes you feel a bit insecure,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the last time he saw the calves alive and well was on Oct. 1.
One calf was seven months old and the other just over six months old, but they were large animals — each around 800 pounds and four to five feet tall.
They’d roamed free on Reynolds’ farm southeast of Carberry, where he lives with his wife.
The calves didn’t always come in to feed with other cattle because they hadn’t been weaned.
It so happens that on Saturday, Reynolds was going to try to wean his calves so he went in search of two that were missing.
Around 3 p.m., he found them dead, their bodies in a small clearing in some bush, and it appeared both had been shot in the head.
The spot is about one-quarter mile north of farm buildings. The nearest building was about 500 yards away, a house on the Reynolds’ property which is occupied tenants.
After taking a close look at the bodies, Reynolds and his wife decided to call police.
Judging by the condition of the bodies, it’s believed the calves were killed sometime Thursday.
One appeared to have a bullet wound above its eye, but its body was otherwise intact.
The other animal had the side of its face “skinned” and its tongue was missing but, aside from the wounds to its head, there was no other damage.
Reynolds said he’s almost sure the tongue was cut out, but doesn’t know why.
“I have no idea. It’s baffled me,” he said.
He figures that the shooter or shooters would have been about 20 yards away from the animals when the trigger was pulled, leaving no doubt that they would have been trespassing.
The bodies were in the middle of Reynolds’ property, and the only road is a gated private one that would have taken the shooters within 200 to 300 yards of the spot where the bodies were found.
The shooter or shooters would have had to walk there, as the calves wouldn’t have been visible from the road.
Reynolds doesn’t believe the cattle were killed mistakenly by hunters.
However, aside from the bodies, there aren’t any clues to be found.
Reynolds checked with neighbours, but they hadn’t seen or heard anything strange, and he said he’s not aware of anyone with a grudge against him.
Blue Hills RCMP and the Office of the Chief Veterinarian continue to investigate.
Mounties have picked up the heads of the calves, which will now be X-Rayed with the hope of detecting any bullets inside, Reynolds said.
Otherwise, there are no shells, tire tracks or footprints to go on and no apparent motive.
“We don’t have much,” acknowledged RCMP Cpl. Jarrid St-Pierre. “It could be a number of things, we’re just not sure.”
The cattle are estimated to be worth $900 to $1,000. Reynolds believes his insurance will cover at least a portion of the loss.
RCMP ask anyone with information to call Carberry RCMP at 204-834-2905 or Manitoba Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 10, 2012