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Man arrested with items that could link him to urban deer poaching

Saanich police are optimistic they may have arrested a man connected to the crossbow arrow shooting deaths of deer in the municipality.

Police uncovered a loaded crossbow, multiple arrows, two hunting knives and a replica pellet gun after a suspect vehicle was pulled over and searched on McKenzie Avenue early Saturday morning.

The van, a blue GMC Safari, was being sought by Victoria police after an incident in Esquimalt on Friday where the driver allegedly pointed a firearm at someone.

When the Saanich officer confirmed this to be the same van in question, the driver was arrested and searched. On his belt, he was carrying a large knife used to skin animals.

A further search of the vehicle uncovered the other weapons, as well as a large flashlight.

"Our detectives are now investigating possible linkages to the well-reported deaths of deer over the past couple (years)," Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen said.

In the fall of 2010, nearly a dozen deer were found in Saanich with arrow wounds or arrows sticking out of their bodies. Some of the dead animals found had been poached for their head or antlers.

One of the attending officers, a hunter, noted that some of the arrow tips and the knives had "fatty type materials" on them. That material will be tested to determine if it came from an animal.

Police cannot yet determine if the individual is responsible for the unlawful poachings in Saanich, but are working with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service to see if there are any connections.

The man, a 43-year-old with no fixed address, was turned over to Victoria police to pursue charges related to the weapons incident in Esquimalt.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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