Local Conservation Officer James Zucchelli was involved in a recent investigation after which charges were laid for shooting a deer in a closed season, failure to immediately report it and shooting in a closed area.
He says the witness in the case did all the right things in taking photos, gathering the vehicle description and licence number, marking
the location and immediately calling the authorities.
However, Zucchelli does not recommend anyone confront or approach people performing illegal activities.
This deer was behind trees that obstructed a clear view of the animal and its antlers, he notes, and there were no posted signs or fences to indicate it on was private property.
The CO reminds hunters it is “crucial” to know their target animal’s species and antler configuration, know its location, as well as their own, and ensure they have permission and can legally shoot on the property.
“There is no open season for hunting within 100 metres of any residence, regardless of whether you are hunting with a bow, a crossbow or a firearm.”
Landowners are advised to post No Hunting signs on private property areas they wish to protect, he says, especially where no fences exist (as crossing fences to hunt without permission is illegal.)
Other common offences seen in hunting season include carrying loaded weapons in, or on any vehicle (including ATVs), and failure to cancel a species licence by properly cutting the tags immediately after it is killed and before handling the animal, Zucchelli adds.
He explains calling 1-877-952-7277 immediately to report details of witnessed incidents is crucial to investigations.
Self-reporting of accidental shootings must also be immediate, he notes.
“Not in every circumstance are we going to charge somebody who self-reports.”
All closed season shootings of any kind, including for livestock protection, must be reported to the COs immediately, and he notes the animal becomes property of the Crown for disposing.
The animal carcass in the recent case has been provided to a family on the “meat list” at the local CO office.
He notes low-income people or those with dietary requirements who need game can get on the list by calling 250-395-7851 and requesting an appointment to apply for a sustenance licence.