Special to the Mirror
The investigation involving a First Nations man who shot a deer on the Campbell River Quinsam First Nation reserve last month is expected to conclude this week say RCMP.
The local police say it has taken some time investigate the incident.
“The person was identified right away but it takes time to gather evidence. We want to present a thorough package to Crown Counsel,” said Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk
In the video that went viral Nov. 17, a First Nations man, who has been identified as a We Wai Kai band member is shown shooting a small buck in the backyard of a residence before slitting the deer’s throat and dragging it across the lawn by its leg where it was then left flailing as it bled out. Another man was recording the incident. Both men can be heard laughing and high-fiving in the background.
The men seen on the video could face firearm and cruelty to animal charges pending an ongoing investigation lead by the RCMP and BC Conservation.
The hunter, who lives on the Quinsam reserve, has publicly downplayed his actions on social media forums citing his rights as a First Nations hunter.
Meanwhile, the incident has garnered strong negative reaction from the band’s Elders.
“That was horrible, I mean really awful,” says We Wai Kai First Nation Elder, Joy Anderson. “They were all laughing in the video like it was a big joke,” she said. “I was really surprised.”
“There’s no excuse for this,” added Anderson, who says the band has supplied her with seasonal elk but never deer.
“I don’t agree with it,” agreed Chester Lewis, who sits on the band’s Elder’s Council. “There’s a lot of other hunting places. It being a residential area has changed the whole scenario.”
” You can’t just shoot a gun in our backyard,” he adds. “A deer is not a threat in your backyard.”
Though the incident took place on reserve, the Cape Mudge band administration say they are letting RCMP lead the investigation as the First Nation is currently in the process of renewing its bylaws.
“The appropriate authorities are going to do whatever is required,” Chief Brain Assu told the Mirror.
Assu says any additional possible action lead by the We Wai Kai band would tentatively follow the legal decisions made by the municipal, provincial and federal agencies.
“We are trying to renew our bylaws,” says Assu. “We’ve repealed them all in order to update them [and] when we repealed them we automatically adopted the municipal, provincial and federal laws [so] the end of the day we’re leaving it up to the authorities to deal with the situation.”
“We don’t have a draft policy as far as firearms on reserve,” added acting band administrator, Merci Brown. “But we are developing some laws to govern our residential area.”
Brown says the community safety-focused policies are currently in draft form and will be presented to the Cape Mudge band council before end of the month.
Assu says amending hunting regulations will be “front and centre,” on the agenda.
He has assured police he will help the investigation involving the band member.
“We do not condone this type of action,” he says.
“You cannot go out and do something like this and expect your band to stand behind you and be an advocate going forward…You can’t hide behind right and title because you think you can do what you want. There are laws in place for a reason [and] the majority of our band members are saying this is totally wrong.”
If anyone has any information pertaining to the Nov. 17 snapchat incident they are encouraged to contact Campbell River RCMP.