Lytton First Nation leaders are concerned after bighorn sheep were killed while grazing on sacred land earlier this week.

Chief Janet Webster said someone shot the animals several times in the head and chest before leaving their carcasses near the reserve cemetery.

"It makes me upset. It's one of our areas where we have sacred ceremonies," said Webster.

Bighorn sheep prized by hunters

Conservation officers said one of the sheep killed was a large male — important breeding stock for the herd.

Sgt. Steve Wasylik said the animals are prized by hunters, and it's rare to find these animals shot and left behind. 

"They are a very majestic animal. It's concerning in that there are other members of that herd in that area and we are hoping this was an isolated incident," he said.

The sheep had recently moved into the area just outside of Lytton for winter grazing.

"It's a real waste of wildlife, and they prize these animals. So we're hoping we could get some information from anybody. We don't know who did it. Maybe a local person, maybe someone traveling through," said Wasylik.

With files from the CBC's Brady Strachan