Protective services manager Darren Lees confirms bylaw officers for the City of Vernon do not carry crossbows or bow and arrows.
But they could.
Bylaw officers, as it was discovered by Vernon council at its Monday, May 9 meeting, are part of a handful of exemptions who can legally discharge a longbow or crossbow within the corporate boundaries of the city.
Bow, arrow and crossbow are defined in the bylaw as weapons which, under the rule, are prohibited from being discharged within the corporate boundaries of the city.
Those exempt from the bylaw requirements are bylaw enforcement officers; hunters or predator control contractors in compliance with the Wildlife Act while on properties bigger than two hectares in size; bona fide farmers or their designate in the destruction of predators and protection of crops; Vernon School District students being trained in the use of a bow and arrow, and under supervision from a teacher of person of responsibility, during school hours; and individuals involved in an archery competition/practice, hosted by a recognized and organized group or archery club meeting.
It was the wording of the exemptions that drew considerable discussion from council.
“I’m wondering if this is still something we should have in place,” said Coun. Teresa Durning, who told colleagues she comes from a long line of hunters and gatherers. “Bylaw officers can bow hunt in the city? Farmer can bow hunt? Yes? (confirmed). It shouldn’t be in place. The (bylaw) wording can be better.”
“We can look into it further,” said Lees.
Coun. Brian Quiring finished the lengthy debate with a confession. It was he, he said, who helped draft the bylaw in 2012. Quiring said the bylaw’s intent was to give a hand to local orchardists.
“If you had an orchard, and you had deer, you could whack a deer legally with a bow and arrow,” he said. “The way it’s written, during hunting season, if I have five acres on Okanagan Landing, I can go deer hunting. But the bylaw was intended for orchardists. I made it and we can revise it if we need to.”
Council voted unanimously for a staff high-level review of the exemptions in the bylaw, and to bring a report back to council.