Deer season means rise in urban poaching

Saanich Police and the B.C. Conservation office are investigating four recent incidents in the municipality.

Deer hunting season is in full swing on the Saanich Peninsula. But along with the legal hunters comes a rise in the number of poachers firing weapons close to urban areas.

Saanich Police and the B.C. Conservation office are investigating four recent incidents in the municipality — two in the Prospect Lake area, and two near Mount Douglas Park. In one instance, a resident in the 1500-block of Ash Road discovered two arrows at the rear of his property, including one arrow embedded in a tree.

On all four occasions, it appears a crossbow was used.

“The crossbow appears to be the poacher’s weapon of choice,” said conservation officer Peter Pauwels. “It’s quiet, and it’s easily hidden.”

There are a few reasons why someone might risk breaking the law to bag their prize, despite there being plenty of legal hunting areas within a short drive of Saanich.

“There are a lot of large bucks in the urban areas, and they’re easier to find here than in wilderness areas,” he said.

Pauwels added that a “large concentration of healthy deer” that lives in and around the Mount Doug/Blenkinsop Valley area is likely an attraction for would-be hunters.

And now that hunting season is underway it’s easier for poachers to get away with the crime unless they’re caught in the act.

“This type of poaching is done under the guise of legitimate hunting,” said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen. “If you have an animal when you’re stopped, it’s hunting season. You’ve got a built-in excuse.”

For police, the main issue is one of public safety.

“These are high-velocity weapons,” said Jantzen. “You’re not always going to hit what you’re aiming for.”

Due to the difficulty in catching suspected poachers, police and conservation officers are asking for any help the public can provide. Things to look for include people dressed in head-to-toe camouflage gear or carrying unusual equipment or cases, particularly if they are spotted in urban areas. Anyone with information about possible poachers is encouraged to contact police right away.

According to Jantzen, last year “about six to eight” similar cases were investigated by police. Although a pair of arrests were made, no charges were laid due to insufficient evidence.

The District of Saanich has a bylaw specifically prohibiting bow and arrow use except for recreational purposes such as target shooting.

Just Posted

City of Victoria considers proposed senior rental development

The Mount St. Angela’s complex aims to include affordable rental units

Middle school students busted for vaping in Oak Bay

Oak Bay Police respond to minors vaping, arson, and transients sleeping in a car

Peninsula Panthers look to claw their way back into the win column

Panthers remain the best team in the league, but the Victoria Cougars are set to pounce

Last call for raffle ticket to win $6,900 necklace with 163 diamonds

Oak Bay contest funds patient care for people and families dealing with cancer

More than 30 cars get tires slashed in Oaklands neighbourhood

VicPD are asking for help from witnesses to the incidents

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Most Read