A Central Otago farmer is offering a $1000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the person who allegedly shot and killed his prized bull, but questions remain as to whether it was shot before or after death.
Carrick Station owner Donald Clark said the Hereford bull bought for $12,000 was found dead on Sunday in mysterious circumstances, with at least three bullet holes behind its front leg.
Station shepherd Ben Maxwell said he suspected the bull had died on Friday or Saturday.
It lay close to the Nevis Rd on the Bannockburn side near Cromwell, he said.
Read more: Cromwell police investigate dead $12k bull
He suspected the animal had died after being shot, as he had seen it in apparently good health days before its untimely death.
"I saw him on Wednesday and he was good as gold ... happy as.''
Mr Maxwell said he believed the bull had been shot and killed as it stood uphill from the nearby Nevis Rd.
The Nevis Valley is a popular spot for hunters, he said.
"A lot of fellas from all round the joint come hunting in the valley.''
He suspected their best chance of finding who shot the bull was ``if someone's been talking about it in a pub,'' but believed Cromwell was too small a town for a local to have been the gunman.
"You wouldn't think a local would do something like that''.
Senior Constable Paddy Henderson, of Cromwell, said police were investigating but were unsure if the animal had been shot before or after death.
"That's the million-dollar question.''
The Otago Daily Times understands people would sometimes try to shoot the bloated carcasses of livestock from the road with the intention of "popping'' them.
Snr Const Henderson said the bull had been buried which prevented further forensic examination, but police inquiries would continue.
He also appealed for the owners of a white Ford Ranger ute, which had a dog box on the back and was "up the Nevis on Friday,'' to come forward and talk to Cromwell police.
"There may be a reasonable explanation.''
Cromwell police (03) 445-1999, Crimestoppers 0800-555-111.