Council getting sidetracked on issue

City's review of hunting and trapping raises some concerns

Iwas dismayed to hear of the recent fear mongering regarding hunting and specifically to the issue, bowhunting, being presented to council and being paraded in front of the public without any facts. Both the previously noted activities are very safe and have been going on in the area well before the City of Vernon was incorporated.

The city limits and annexed areas now stretch from Okanagan Landing and the Commonage to Adventure Bay and the Foothills which incorporate vast rural areas, farms, acreages and undeveloped land. Our local hunting community act in a safe and legal manner and I support and note their positive contribution to our community both financially and as wildlife managers and stewards.

The increase in the amount of local wildlife is a direct result of increased available food and suitable habitat. Deer are rampant in the city limits as are coyotes and other predators. Deer cause many accidents involving personal injury and death and coyotes are well known for attacking and killing pets. In fact, the number one mammal killer of humans in North America is the Whitetail deer. According to Jacob Berkowitz, Canwest News Service in 2008: “Last year, approximately 60,000 Canadian drivers hit a deer – double the number from a decade ago. The total cost to drivers, taxpayers and insurance companies was about $400 million. The numbers are drawn from the insurance company’s study, which covered Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick, and by compiling the latest national and provincial data.”

Hunting and fishing are part of the reason many of us live here in the North Okanagan. It is the local hunters that keep them in check and in turn harvest the edible species as a food source that is organic and natural.

Regarding the publicized comment that has been recently made: “That frightens me. Having had bows in my youth, I know they can shoot three or four hundred yards. They can go a long ways, and if you can kill a deer, you can kill a person.”  Chuck Adams, a very well respected international bowhunter is quoted as saying. “For whitetail deer entered into the P&Y record book, average shot distance is about 19 yards. Less than five percent of record book whitetails are shot beyond 40 yards.” So let’s stop wasting time based on incorrect and false information. The 400-yard comment is so far-fetched, it’s not worth commenting on, however, bows and arrows properly outfitted can and do kill deer, of course, that’s the idea. Many things can kill or cause injury but it’s not possible or practical to eliminate all risks in life, common sense must be exercised and risks respected.

The province of B.C. already manages hunting and has a specific law as follows from the 2012-2014 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis: “It is unlawful to hunt or discharge a firearm within 100 metres of a church, school building, school yard, playground, regional district park, dwelling house, or farm or ranch building that is occupied by persons or domestic animals.”

Clearly, with this written in provincial legislation, our current no-shooting firearm bylaw within the city limits and the limited range of a bow there is no need to visit this issue.

I would ask that council note the current laws already in place and continue on their path of bringing jobs and development to Vernon, improving services and amenities to residents and optimizing the city’s internal workings and not get sidetracked and waste their valuable time on manufactured “issues” where none really exist.

David Pusey, past-president,

Vernon Fish and Game Club