By Mary Robb Jackson

SLIPPERY ROCK TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Bob McConnell and his nephew sensed something was very wrong when they came to feed the herd at his Horseshoe Hill Ranch Tuesday morning.

“The deer were really spooky. They were running around and I noticed some deer were in different pens,” he said.

They spotted a trio of tennis shoe tracks coming toward the pens.

“As we looked around and we found the first deer that was you know, decapitated,” he said.

A total of three carcasses were found all headless. There were a couple of 10-point bucks and one with a 25-point rack.

“What we think is they killed the buck up there in pen 7 first and worked their way down here.”

Why would anyone do such a thing?

“To put a trophy on the wall – you wouldn’t think they cut it off at the neck if they were going to do that,” he said. “But antler selling on eBay has become a big thing.”

Bob grew up on a farm and has been raising deer for eight years.

“They’re raised to go off to shooting preserves. I run an outfitting business,” he explained.

And he badly wants to find out who killed his deer.

“I’m putting a reward out. There’s a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and the conviction.”

State police are investigating.

“And again, one of the bucks was a 25-point which is a rare deer and not something you find running around the woods all the time.”

Trooper Ronald Kesten says the three deer are valued at $25,000. That high cost makes this crime a felony.

Adds Bob McConnell, “Surely somebody’s going to talk about it. Give us a call and put these guys where they need to go.”

If you have any information about the poachers you can contact Bob McConnell directly at 724-290-9338 or Butler State Police at 724-284-8100.

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