By Don Vanden Hoorn, September 15, 1998

September 1995
Southwest Francois Lake - Smith Ranch
97 km Southwest of Burns Lake, BC

The first indication I received of a mutilation incident came from a fellow named Myron whom I met while investigating the crop circles in Vanderhoof, on Friday, September 4th. During a stop at a small cafe in Bednesti, situated between Prince George and Vanderhoof, he heard of a mutilated cow in the Burns Lake area. That afternoon, I made several inquiries in the Burns Lake area about such an incident, with negative results.

I received an e-mail from Linda, of the Burns Lake Public Library, on Saturday, September 12th, indicating a rancher by the name of Mr. Smith had spoken to Charlene, also of the Burns Lake Public Library, inquiring on books related to animal mutilations and the UFO phenomenon. In the course of their conversation, Mr. Smith related that a buffalo cow from his ranch had been found with various body parts missing, and which appeared to have been surgically removed. Due to the remote area where his ranch is located, Ken does not have access to a telephone; however, Charlene acquired directions for locating the ranch, which I received later Saturday afternoon.

Sunday morning, I departed on what was to be a 73 kilometer trip around Francois Lake to the southwest end, where Smith's buffalo ranch is located. Mr. Smith, accompanied by his dog, greeted me at the gate near his house where he revealed that the incident had in fact taken place three years earlier (1995), and had followed an unfortunate event which transpired over the course of several months.

Through a program by a "Government Agency", pellets of a urea-sulphur composition were dispensed throughout the area in an attempt to promote forest growth, but were also ingested by several of the prairie buffalo he raises there. During the course of the next few months, 27 of the herd died as a result of the ingestion, at a loss of 7,000-9,000 dollars per cow. According to Mr. Smith, who consulted a biologist about the deaths, the sulphur component created a copper and selenium deficiency in the animal, resulting in eventual liver and cardiac failure. Mr Smith showed several pictures of these buffalo in an emaciated condition, prior to their eventual demise. When asked, he later told me that the "Government Agency" denied any responsibility for the incident, and he was never compensated for the loss.

By September of the same year, the deaths had ceased and the remaining buffalo were healthy and thriving, including a four year old cow which had bore its first calf five months earlier. Showing great pride in his herd, he promptly pulled out three photographs of the healthy cow and calf. As Mr Smith related to me, he left his house one morning and heard the calf 'blubbering' a short distance away, at which time he discovered the dead cow approximately 300 feet from his home. Prior to that time, the dog, which had also been indoors, never made any noticeable reaction despite being known to alert to intruders, wild or otherwise.

Inspecting the corpse, he noticed the udder had been cleanly cut away, as had the rectum and vagina in what he describes as a perfect circle, and with surgical precision. The depth was apparently substantial enough to indicate that the reproductive organs may have been removed, but there is no way to confirm this. In addition, the nose was also found to be missing, but he admits not closely examining the mouth to determine if the tongue had been removed as well. Most remarkable to Mr Smith, though, was the complete absence of blood, with the exception of a small area which surrounded the now absent nose. "I just don't know how anyone could have done that," he admitted, reflecting on the examination, "it was just too clean and precise".

Suspecting foul play, Mr Smith rolled the dead animal over, inspecting for bullet wounds, which proved to be non-existent. I asked if he had noted any tracks or footprints in the area surrounding the cow, and other than old hoof prints, no other marks had been discovered. "Just like it had been dropped there," he told me. Subsequently, he emphasized in considerable detail, previous events where the buffalo had been known to kill predatory bears and wolves, which had found their way onto the ranch. Also worth mentioning, was a point he later made about the herd tending to shy away from land based vehicles, but were seemingly undisturbed by any of the low altitude aircraft which occasionally fly over the area.

As mysterious as the death of this creature, was the rate of decay, which followed. Having witnessed 27 of his herd slowly die and decompose during the months before, this particular cow decayed at an unusually accelerated rate. Even the hair was noted to disappear as quickly as the tissue to which it was attached. Also interesting, is that in the previous deaths, the remaining buffalo would gather and nudge the carcass with their heads, while in this case not even the calf would approach the dead animal. In the days that followed, the corpse remained free of maggots, and no bird or animal would approach it. The only activity ever witnessed was a fly which once landed and immediately flew away, without settling on the remains.

Not being one to believe, or even consider, the existence of the UFO phenomenon, Mr Smith found the incident too disturbing and bizarre to talk about, remaining silent about the entire event. It was through some material which he received from a daughter about animal mutilations, and the subject of UFOs, that he began to even mention the incident and seek additional information. It was also through a daughter, who was working at the Bednesti Cafe, that a fellow named Myron would hear a story which he would later tell at the crop circles in Vanderhoof one Friday afternoon.