Hunting season began on Nov. 1, and one local farmer is calling on hunters to be responsible and ethical after one of her goats was shot.
Amy Leitch, a homesteader and goat farmer at Will O’ the Wisps Paddock west of Eckville, said her registered male Kiko goat was shot 50 yards from her house.
She says it happened around sun down, on Nov. 1.
“We aren’t on a public road, the only road on our land comes right up to house,” Leitch said.
She says hunters are not allowed on the property, but she does know the land owners on the farms surrounding her property does allow it.
Leitch speculates hunters shot into land after missing whatever they were aiming at.
“I think it was probably a missed shot, but that isn’t an excuse. Whoever shot was paying attention to what was around them and beyond their shot,” Leitch said.
“Either it was a mistake or someone purposefully shot at my goats, and ignored the house that is 50 feet away.”
Eustace, the Kiko buck, was in a pen with another male goat near the house. Leitch says it is very clear these are penned animals and not wild.
The homestead can be clearly seen from any direction for at least two miles, according to Leitch.
“We have done our due diligence as animal owners to ensure they are safe and taken care of, and that you can tell that looking in.”
Eustace was badly injured by the shot, and is being cared for to the best of Leitch’s ability, but they are not hopeful he will survive.
Leitch says the incident has impacted their life more than just disrupting her breeding program.
Now, she says her family does not feel safe on their property.
“We have been violated. We haven’t been outside much since it happened,” she said.
The family has reorganized how they live their life, including when to go out to do chores.
Leitch says the family has moved their chores later in the morning to avoid twilight and sunset, when hunters are more active.
The family has also taken to wearing high visibility clothing while out doing their chores.
“We are dealing with this the best we can. I know I have a completely different view of things right now, and probably for the next month.”
Leitch says she has nothing against hunters, as she herself is one.
However, she wants to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.
“I have great respect for hunters who are responsible and ethical,” she said. “but we have to reiterate the code of ethics of hunting.”
She is urging hunting going out over this next month to have open communication between the land owners, those of neighbouring land.
Leitch is also reminding hunters to know their surroundings, to make sure their shot is clear and to know what is beyond the shot before pulling the trigger.
“I would hate for someone else to have to go through this, or for something worse to happen.”