Waterloo Region police and Environment Canada are investigating after a Canada goose was shot and killed near Columbia Lake on Tuesday.

Police were called to the area on the University of Waterloo campus around 4 p.m. after reports of a gunshot.

During a search of the area police say a Canada goose with a single gunshot wound, likely from a rifle, was found about 25 metres north of the lake.

No suspects were located and no vehicles were seen in the area at the time.

Canada geese are protected birds, though they can be hunted during the right season, with the right permits and not inside the city limits.

But police say they are more concerned about a rifle being fired in such a populated area.

WRPS Insp. Kevin Thaler says “Perhaps the greater concern here is actually for community safety…the danger is obviously to the public with firearms being fired within city limits, [in] proximity to schools, kids, houses.”

Whoever fired the weapon could face a fine of up to $5,000 for breaking a City of Waterloo bylaw that prohibits firing a gun within city limits.

They could also be charged criminally for the careless use of a firearm.

George Wagner of Shooter’s Choice, a gun store and shooting range in Waterloo, says they take this incident very seriously.

Wagner has been hunting for 50 years, but says “I would report my own brother for breaking a game law or a firearms law…that’s just stupidity. There’s nothing else that can account for that if this in fact took place the way it sounds like it did.”

He adds that it’s illegal to shoot migratory birds with a rifle.

The shooting has garnered mixed reaction from Waterloo residents, but even most of those who think geese are a nuisance, believe it’s going too far.

Police are asking anyone who may have information on the incident to contact them.