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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bill Reekie and his then-four-year-old granddaughter Lily. Photo contributed
Alzheimer’s – the Unplanned Journey

By Jocelyn Reekie Special to the Mirror “January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month… Continue reading

The Kwiakah First Nation is looking to lease some Crown land at the old Campbell River Gun Range to create a community garden for its members and a series of greenhouses to sell produce to cover operational costs. Black Press File Photo
Kwiakah First Nation looks to open farm at old Campbell River gun range

City defers decision on allowing it until they can consult with other local First Nations

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Shawn Decaire does a blessing ceremony for the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Hama?Elas Community Kitchen progress shared

Strategic planning, progress made on various projects also discussed at CRDCEH meeting

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
B.C. forestry companies agree to abide by cedar protocols drafted by Indigenous council

Western Forest Products and Interfor Corporation among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

CSWM is planning to increase the space for loading bays at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre. Record file photo
Comox Strathcona Waste Management plans increase landfill bays

Campbell River facility also key part of capital planning in latest budget

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Most Read