A Black Angus calf seems to have been shot in the grazing lands west of Town.
Rancher Ed Schmalz, who homesteads between Oliver and Osoyoos, takes his cattle out to graze on Crown land west of Town every spring and brings them in for the winter in the fall.
When it was time to round them up last October, he noticed one of his calves had an infection on its side.
“It doesn’t leave much of a wound – you only see it when you shave his coat,” said Schmalz, who suspects it came from a .22 calibre rifle. “He has a big mass of puss on his back, about eight inches wide. So he had that infection from the bullet for quite a while.”
From the angle of the wound, “This calf must have been shot while he was laying down,” he said. “It would have been impossible to shoot from up above.”
A report from Three Valleys Veterinary Service states that “There appears to be an opening between the withers about the size of a bullet hole which runs five-six inches under the skin towards the neck.”
Schmalz said the healing process is going very slowly and the bullet has not been retrieved. The calf will be taking at least one more trip back to the vet.
“We don’t want to keep opening him up,” he said. “They already made two cuts.”
If the calf recovers he will be ready for market in about a year. If he doesn’t recover he will have to be euthanized, which will count as a loss of about $1,000 to $1,200.
“It’s not common but sometimes you just have some haywire guys or something,” Schmalz said.
Furthermore, two of his cattle were found dead last season on the grazing lands. They were both buried before the one with a bullet wound was discovered, so at the time Schmalz assumed they died of natural causes. But now he wonders if they were shot as well.
Anybody with information relating to the matter is asked to contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477. BC Cattlemen’s Association offers rewards up to $5,000 for information leading to convictions relating to killing cattle or damaged property.