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Disturbing poaching case in Coleman

Fish and Wildlife officers in the Pass discovered the body of a Bighorn Sheep ram near Crowsnest Lake last month, a ram taken out of season and much too young.

The young ram was discovered on Nov. 8, well over a week after hunting season for male Bighorn Sheep ended.

The ram, according to Fish and Wildlife Office John Clarke, had a hunting arrow lodged in its left shoulder.

The ram, in a weakened state from the injury, fell to its death from a cliff.

"The wound was fresh enough that it occurred after the hunting season had ended," Clarke said, noting that the wound had not developed any infection or necrosis indicative of a long-time injury. Apart from the out-of-season hunt for the ram, the animal itself was much too young to be hunted.

Depending on where you hunt in the province, the ram's horns must either present a full curl of four fifths of growth before it can legally he hunted.

A full-curl ram would be approximately seven years old. According to the curl of its horn, the dead ram was around three.

"This one is so small, it doesn't make sense," Clarke said. He suspects that the culprit was younger, so in the course of his investigation he interviewed local bow hunters with a sheep licence to try and find out who committed this act.

He is hoping that exposure through the media will help the Fish and Wildlife office determine who wounded the animal out of season. Clarke says the brand and type of arrow used is very unique in the bowhunting world.

Ross MacDonald of the Hillcrest Fish and Game Club expressed disappointment in what appears to be a very obvious disregard for the rules.

"When you're bowhunting, you've got to be close to the animal," MacDonald said.

"That means you're close enough to know it wasn't legal."

MacDonald says that any hunter would know that the ram was too young to do anything with, and that the incident certainly wasn't accidental.

Macdonald also expressed dismay that such acts paints all hunters in a negative light, bowhunters especially.

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