Liedman went back to work until the bang of a gunshot reached his ears. "I heard the shot," he said, "and the critter (was) still standing in the ditch."
At left: The heifer belonging to Raleigh Liedman was standing just inside this fence when it was shot by someone driving a red Ford pickup.
He tried to get a good look as the truck sped away and wished he would have had a vehicle other than a tractor and baler. "If I would have had my pickup," Liedman explained, "I would have gone after him just to scare him for hunting where he shouldn't have been."
After finding his heifer shot through the gut and dying, Liedman confessed that maybe it's better that he hadn't caught the truck. In the heat of the moment, he's not sure what he would have done.
When he approached his heifer, still standing in the ditch with a dazed look in its eyes, according to Liedman, he hoped for a glancing wound, but the cow had been gut shot. "I'm sure they were (aiming for it). They hit it dead center in the gut," Liedman said.
"It obviously wasn't a mistake," he added.
The incident is being investigated by the Kandiyohi Sheriff's Department. Their primary lead is Liedman's description of the truck, though they do have other evidence they hope to use.
Liedman described the truck as a red Ford with a regular cab and no topper. He thinks it was a late 1980s or early 1990s model. The box was empty; he didn't see a dog cage. He thinks he saw two shapes inside the truck. He couldn't see the license plate at all.
The most distinctive feature, according to Liedman, was the custom painting on the side of the truck. Liedman said the wide stripes were in different shades of red.
"I think I could pick it out again if I see it," said Liedman. "Believe me, I've been looking."
After finding his wounded cow, Liedman called his veterinarian to come attend to it, but she couldn't get to his farm for two hours. There wasn't anything she could do to save it. When she did a rough autopsy she found the plastic wad buried in the cow's stomach, according to Liedman.
Liedman had bought the 500-pound heifer recently. He normally raises his beef cattle until they are twice as big, over 1,000 pounds. No meat was salvaged from it. At a dollar a pound, Liedman figures he lost $500 by the premature death.
Liedman, though, is willing to spend another $500 to catch the shooter. That's the reward he's offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. "I'd be tickled to death to pay $500 to catch this guy," Liedman said. "It'd be worth that to me to get this guy punished."
Since the incident, Liedman said he's been watching trucks on the road very carefully and thinks he has seen several road hunters in the morning and the evening. "I think I'd feel safer if this guy was caught," he said. "I sort of feel our neighborhood has been violated."
One tip has been received already and investigated.
"We're hoping this reward might provide some additional information, stated Kandiyohi County Sheriff Don Kujawa, who said that reports of attacks of domestic animals are rare.
Anyone with information can call 320-235-1260 or 276-8762.
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