Hunters back in the fields

Hunting
Look closely and you will see the hunter is hiding the rifle at his side
Hunter done with snipping tool
Close up

Last week while cycling, at the end of the Finn where it dead ends at No. 3 Road, I saw a male with a rifle. Beside him was a child.

I stopped to take a photo and they saw me, and the adult tried to hide the rifle at his side.

I asked what they were doing and they told me they were hunting ducks. “It’s legal on farmland,” they said.

I told them it is legal only if the hunter has the written permission of the property owner (see section 9), $1 million in liability insurance and stays 180 metres from roads and dykes according to the Regulating the Discharge of Firearms Bylaw.

They disagreed and said what they were doing was legal. I told them they were violating section 39 of the Wildlife Act.  They disagreed.

I didn’t want to argue with someone with a weapon so I gave up.  Cars were driving down No. 3 Road a stone’s throw away and there were joggers and cyclists. I decided to let someone else complain.

Two years along with our neighbours, we spent a lot of time complaining about illegal hunters to the RCMP and the City of Richmond Bylaws department.

All along Finn Road and No. 4 Road we were all repeatedly bothered by hunters who did not have permission to hunt.

Councillor Harold Steeves in front of farmland owned by Adera DevelopmentsAlmost daily, hunters were seen on the 160-acre Diamond Foundation property leased to tenant farmers and a large acreage then owned by Adera Developments also leased to tenant farmers.

Sometimes as many as four vehicles with three or four hunters apiece would park alongside Finn Road and Garden City Road (to the right hand side) and sneak onto large farms. Property managers confirmed that the owners did not allow hunting due to liability issues.

Neighbours also reported hunters seen along a rail line owned by CN Rail. CN police advised that hunters are not permitted on the rail line or the 50 foot right of way and to phone if we saw hunters.

Illegal hunters hiding in bushes hunting ducks flying overhead is dangerous.

Miles Smart on the way to his potatoe fieldSome tenant farmers have winter crops and are in the fields. There are also farmers travelling slowly on farm vehicles, cyclists, joggers, wheelchair athletes, hobby photographers and recreationalists out for a stroll.

The sound of gun fire all day long also disturbs bees, so important for crop pollination. Bees can be temperamental and colony collapse is increasing. Gun fire is all it takes for a hive to stop thriving.

De Putter BeesGun fire also disturbs bats – so important for insect control – and farm animals such as chickens, cows and horses.  It’s hard to make a living farming, so farmers rent barn stalls to local subdivision residents who keep horses and ride them on the roads.

Owls, hawks and eagles disappear during hunting season and many don’t return.Hawke over farmland

Next week – The City Listens.