A group of rural residents in the Pighin Road area of Wycliffe have put together an informal neighbourhood watch and are hoping to get a message out to hunters. That message? Be courteous about private land and gates, and think about those who live around your hunting area.
Speaking for the group is Brenda Birrell who says she understands that many enjoy hunting, but a few bad apples are causing problems.
“There are those who disagree with hunting for various reasons but most people can accept it when it is done ethically and legally. Unfortunately for the vast majority of ethical hunters there are a few “hunters” who give the activity a bad name.”
Birrell says she and her neighbours have witnessed all kinds of unacceptable behaviour over the past few years and have compiled a list.
Trespassers who ignore signs saying No Trespassing, No Hunting, Private Land, and who damage signs and then proceed onto private land.
People who leave gates open so cattle end up in the wrong pastures and/or on private land.
Fence wires cut instead of finding the gate that is already there.
Making new gates on Crown or private property fences.
Leaving animal remains right on or near major trails and roadways making it potentially dangerous for others who may be walking in the area. Bears and other wildlife are attracted to these remains and pose a risk to the residents who may not be aware the remains are there. This is a high usage recreational area for walking, riding and cycling for many, often with children. Disposal of remains keeping that in mind is essential for public safety.
Poaching elk – hunting without proper tags.
Shooting after dark. One area resident, while out walking last week, heard multiple shots in the McGinty Lake area after dark.
Littering, and even defecating in the middle of a trail.
Lying to local residents about having permission to hunt on private lands.
Shooting while unable to clearly ensure what the target is. If a hunter is not sure of the target why would they shoot?! Ranchers have had cattle shot and left in the pasture.
It seems many have forgotten that it is an offence to hunt on leased range land crown or private without specific permission from the said leasee.
In light of all this, the group feels they need to start reporting offences as they see them.
“We have the Conservation Office hotline 1-877-952-7277 on our cell phones. If we see something that isn’t right, we call it in. If we hear shots on what appears to be private land or after dark, we call it in. We observe, record and report in an effort to ensure greater public safety and ethical treatment of the wildlife.
“We expect hunters to respect the residents of the area and their private land. We are not anti-hunters. We are anti-Poachers and unethical practises.”