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Saanich police hunt urban poachers who shot deer

Nov 17 2011

Saanich police are again looking for urban poachers responsible for shooting deer.

Four deer have been shot with arrows in the past two weeks, mostly in Gordon Head.

On Nov. 6, an officer had to shoot a deer found on Edgelow Street because it had a severe arrow wound to its chest, police spokesman Sgt. Dean Jantzen said.

On Nov. 10, a deer carcass, its antlers cut off, was found near Willis Point Road. On Nov. 12, homeowners near Ash Road found two arrows on which officers discovered blood and fur.

On Nov. 13, a homeowner in the Prospect Lake area saw a deer with an arrow wound to its front shoulder. Police attended after Grace Turnbull reported the wounded animal, but it limped off into the woods and could not be found.

B.C. conservation officer Peter Pauwels said a few hunters looking for large antlers as trophies were likely responsible. There are many large bucks in urban areas that are easier for hunters to find compared with forested areas, where hunting is legal, he said.

Pauwels said it is a matter of time before an arrow flies into the window of a home or injures someone.

Jantzen said anyone who noticed suspicious activity, such as someone dressed in head-to-toe camouflage near rural areas, should call the police.

Illegal poachers can be charged under the Criminal Code for possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose or under city bylaws that prohibit discharging a crossbow.

Saanich police grappled with this issue in October and November last year when several deer were shot or decapitated.

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