When Kelly Avery didn’t see his bull for a day, he wasn’t overly concerned, but what he found the next day chilled him to his bones; the bull was killed and its meat harvested.
The incident appears to have occurred some time overnight of Oct. 8 when Avery, who owns a piece of land just east of Ponoka, couldn’t find his bull during feeding time. He checked around the property and at the neighbour’s home the next day thinking maybe the bull got stuck or had jumped the fence.
When he found the bull it was skinned and most of its good meat taken while other animals had taken care of the rest. Avery says they didn’t hear any gun shots the night before and feels it is possible the culprits shot the bull with an arrow. “It’s an unfortunate thing that there’s really nothing that we can do about this.”
One thing he is certain of, the individuals involved knew what they were doing. “The hide was cut very cleanly.”
“It was someone who was skilled with killing an animal,” Avery added.
The three-year-old bull was only meant as a practice animal and now he has had to deal with someone coming on the property for his animal’s meat. The incident is disconcerting, said Avery, partly because he lives so close to town and he worries for his other animals.
“The only thing that really upsets me the most is fences aren’t just designed to keep animals in, it’s designed to keep people out,” said Avery.
One unanswered question for him relates to why someone hunted his bull. Avery surmised that it could be because of the tough economic times or maybe because a hunter wanted to snag something after no catches but either way, it was upsetting to the family and has caused him some loss of sleep.
Avery had originally posted the incident on a Ponoka Facebook page and he says this appears to be happening in more places; one user from Fairview contacted him saying a nearly identical situation to one of her animals. Then in Kamloops, B.C. ranchers reported someone had killed a pregnant cow for its meat taking only the back legs and tenderloins.
The sad thing for Avery is that the bulls aren’t used for their meat, he practices with the bulls for team roping so the animals don’t have as much meat as those bred for sale.
He has since reported the incident to Ponoka RCMP who are looking at bringing in a livestock investigator with K-Division.