No charges laid in viral deer-shooting case

Nathan Chickite issues apology after Crown recommends alternative to court action

Screenshot of video showing deer shot by Nathan Chickite. Screen capture of video shows deer that was shot and shown on Snapchat.

Police and conservation authorities say they’ve concluded their investigation into a deer hunt that went viral, and that no charges will be laid against Nathan Chickite, who was filmed hunting a black-tailed buck in the backyard of his home on a First Nations reserve near Campbell River.

The news follows an open letter signed by Chickite, who expressed regret about the controversial hunt. The letter, which was published in We Wai Kai Nation’s June 27 newsletter, acknowledges the anger generated by a November 2017 video of the hunt.

“I understand that some people within my own First Nation community and persons outside of my immediate community were disturbed and frustrated with my actions on the day in question,” he writes in the letter. “The video that was taken of me harvesting the deer was not meant to be distributed and it was certainly not my intention to invoke any feelings of animal cruelty or unethical hunting practices.”

READ MORE: Viral video shows deer killed on Snapchat in Campbell River

The letter goes on to state that Chickite and his family were “subjected to very disparaging comments after the deer harvest video went viral,” a clear reference to attacks on social media.

Chickite also said in the letter that if given the opportunity to relive the moment of the hunt, he “would not have harvested the deer in that manner or in that location.”

Meat from the black-tailed buck was “fully utilized and shared with an elder” in his community, he said, noting that he prides himself as a hunter who provides for himself and other families in the We Wai Kai community.

Chickite added that he’s “hopeful that the deer harvest incident of November 2017 can be put behind me and that the BC Conservation Officer Service may conclude their investigation.”

The letter noted that it came following discussions with Ronald Chickite, who is a counsellor with We Wai Kai Nation, and BC Conservation Officer Steve Petrovcic. They served as witnesses to the signing of the letter, and their signatures appear on the document.

In a statement emailed to the Mirror, Petrovcic said that “no other enforcement action is being considered and the Conservation Officer Service file is concluded.”

READ MORE: Campbell River-area First Nation condemns deer-shooting incident on its reserve

He said that RCMP recommended firearms-related charges, but the Crown decided not to pursue court action. Instead, the Crown suggested that conservation authorities “pursue an alternative, positive outcome.”

Petrovcic said that he was part of the investigative process and “worked with both the local First Nation and the local RCMP” to reach a conclusion in the matter.

Campbell River RCMP confirmed that the case was closed. Chickite declined to comment.

These developments follow a Snapchat post that went viral last November. The video shows a man, later identified as Chickite, shooting a small buck in the backyard of his home, located on the Quinsam reserve just outside of Campbell River.

In the video, Chickite slits the deer’s throat before dragging it across the yard, where the animal flails as it bleeds out. Another man was recording the incident. The two men high-five, and they can be heard laughing.

READ MORE: Campbell River RCMP build case for charges in reserve deer shooting incident

The video generated furious commentary online, with some observers accusing Chickite of animal cruelty. Others expressed outrage about the fact that a gun was discharged in a residential area. Some comments on social media forums also exposed old tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, with some comments revealing strong anti-Indigenous sentiments.

Chickite downplayed the incident on social media, citing his rights as a First Nations hunter. But the incident didn’t sit well with some We Wai Kai elders. Chief Brian Assu also said the band didn’t condone the hunt.

Chickite’s letter, which was posted to the Campbell River Rant, Rave and Randomness Facebook page, is also generating outrage.

Assu couldn’t be reached for comment, but previously stated that the band would take action to ensure that the incident didn’t repeat itself. Assu also said that bylaws on community safety were under review, and he noted that the We Wai Kai people have been harvesting wildlife on their lands since time immemorial.

“Our traditional teachings include protocols and rules around how, when and where we harvest,” he said, adding that hunting is critical both as a food source and as a cultural practice.

“However, discharging a firearm to harvest in our residential community is not acceptable and the membership as a whole is distraught over these events.”

@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

North Island – Powell River candidates chime in on housing issues

One of many questions asked at Thursday’s all-candidates forum at the Tidemark

RCMP Emergency Response Team called in to arrest man at Black Creek General Store

42-year-old Campbell River man facing numerous charges

VIDEO: Bear spies on cyclists riding by on Campbell River street

Riders seem unaware the bruin is mere feet away on the side of the road

Campbell River man arrested, charged with property crime and drug offences

A Campbell River man was arrested Oct. 10 and remains in custody… Continue reading

Island Health project targets hepatitis C in northern Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island has one of the highest rates of hepatitis C infection in Canada

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Two Cowichan Tribes families devastated by duplex fire

Carla Sylvester sat in her vehicle, on Tuesday morning, with tears in… Continue reading

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

Most Read