Texas Game Wardens are offering a reward for information on whoever killed an owl in Kaufman County.
It happened Sunday morning south of Kaufman in the town of Scurry.
Police were called to the Mount Olive Cemetery after a neighbor heard gunshots around 2 a.m. A deputy arrived to find a barred owl dead on the side of the road.
The gunman or gunmen fled, according to Game Warden Josh Bonney.
“I guess the person in the house heard the gunshot out in the road,” Bonney said. “Whenever they stepped outside and turned the porch light on, the truck drove off down the road.”
Barred owls are protected by state and federal law. They are one of the four most common owls in the area.
Officials say sometimes people illegally shoot the owls to protect them from picking on chickens or other animals, but they believe that was not likely this time.
“I’m assuming based on the time of night where it was that someone was just out driving around bored looking for something to do,” Bonney said. “They just happened to find the owl, have a shotgun in the truck and decided it would be fun to shoot the owl.”
Officials are hoping a $1,000 reward for a tip that leads to an arrest or conviction will help them nab the person who killed this protected bird.
The game warden says they have received a few tips, but nothing they could really go on.
The bird is protected by both state and federal law, so either a federal agency or county attorney could prosecute.