City’s actions won’t prevent bow hunting

Vernon prohibiting use of bows and arrows, but can't stop right of those hunting on farm land

The City of Vernon is taking steps to ban bow hunting, but that won’t necessarily stop the activity.

A majority of council approved a draft bylaw that would prohibit the use of bows and arrows. But if a bylaw is finally adopted, it will still be superseded by the provincial right to farm legislation.

“There is nothing in this bylaw that will stop people from bow hunting on farm land,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

It was also pointed out that such hunting can also help protect commercial crops and prevent the deer population from increasing.

“Other communities have had to cull deer and this is a way to deal with it,” said Clint Kanester, bylaw enforcement manager.

However, Coun. Catherine Lord insists bow hunting is a public safety issue.

“I don’t want to see a bunch of cross bows used anywhere in the city,” she said.

The draft bylaw also calls for a restriction on irritant gases like bear spray. Residents could only use them in certain areas, such as trails to protect themselves from wildlife.

However, Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe is concerned that a resident outside of the designated areas could be fined if they have bear spray in their purse or in their vehicle.

“We’re making criminals out of people. We’re layering a bylaw on to a federal law and that’s not solving the problem,” she said.

However, Coun. Juliette Cunningham says bear spray is being included in the bylaw because it can be used for criminal acts.

“This gives them another tool,” she said of the RCMP.

Council has also approved a bylaw that would restrict the public use of traps.