Cattle farmer baffled by shootings

'I cannot figure out who could do this'
Jul. 14, 2014 @ 02:43 PM

A second cow that had been missing since being shot was found dead over the weekend by its owner.

Jack Starnes, 81, of Petra Mill Road reported in late May that one of his 35 head of beef cattle on his 92-acre spread in the Dudley Shoals area was found shot just above the ankle. Then, earlier this month, five more were found shot. Two were wounded through the leg above the hoof aea. The other three, including a calf, were wounded in the hip area and may have to be put to death. Another cow was found dead this month but was too decomposed to determine the cause of death.

"I do want to find out who's doing it," Starnes said.

"I've fooled with cattle all my life," Starnes said. "This is the first time this has ever happened. I cannot figure out who could do this. I've had no words with nobody."

Starnes bought the land a few years ago to raise his cows, a breed that is half Hereford and half Black Angus. Starnes also owns land and cattle on another pasture near the Caldwell County line. He lives in a small, white farmhouse that fronts Petra Mill Road, and the black and white cows roam his land, often seeking shade under trees or drinking from a nearby stream.

Two cows, obviously limping, can be seen struggling to keep up with the herd.

The cows appear to have been shot with a small-caliber rifle, such as a .22, said Detective Holt Coleman of the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at 828-758-2324. To submit information anonymously, call Caldwell County Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300.