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

Victoria City Council approves inclusionary housing policy

After years of back and forth, the policy will be ratified in two weeks

Filipino Heritage Month event takes over Centennial Square

Dancing, music and food highlight Mabuhay Day celebration in Victoria

West Shore residents report finding anti-SOGI 123 flyers in mailboxes

SD62 trustee Ravi Parmar says the flyers are ‘garbage’

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read