Poachers threatening livestock are putting central Albertans on edge.
A goat grazing in a pasture beside a farmhouse was shot Sunday near Eckville, according to a post on the Red Deer/Lacombe Rural Community Crime Watch’s Facebook page.
“To whoever SHOT our Registered Kiko Buck no more than 50 yards from my Kitchen! Thank you for completely ruining my breeding program I have worked at for 6 Years,” the post said.
“Hunting season in the province has now become a very uneasy time for rural residents. They fear for their livestock, and their families choosing to do chores at certain hours, ensuring they do not become victims.
“Rural residents are hearing gun shots at all times of the day and night; with many shots falling within a short distance from farm building/houses. For many, it is a fearful time.”
Ken Wigmore, president of the local crime watch group, said he expects more problems from irresponsible people armed with hunting rifles.
“I would be surprised if we don’t,” said Wigmore about the shooting incident.
He said some people may be hunting for food to feed their families as the pandemic continues.
While there are a lot of law-abiding hunters who follow the safety rules and respect people’s property, poachers do not, he said.
Some people just drive up and down the roads until they spot an animal.
“Some of them probably shoot right from the road, which is illegal. Others go into the field and have no respect if you’ve posted ‘no hunting.’”
Wigmore advised rural residents to watch out for strangers.
“When I say be vigilant about what’s going on, watch out for strange vehicles. Watch for guys you suspect are driving down the road looking for animals.
“Don’t approach them. The honest hunter will tell you what he’s doing. The one that’s not honest is liable to take your car and leave you walking, or worse.”
He said residents should keep phone numbers handy to call the RCMP and Report a Poacher (toll free 1-800-642-3800).
The Red Deer/Lacombe Rural Community Crime Watch can also fan out an alert on Facebook.