Hunters with loaded guns in vehicles worry Kamloops area conservation officers - InfoNews

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Hunters with loaded guns in vehicles worry Kamloops area conservation officers

November 15, 2016 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Kamloops hunters need to heed the law when they’re driving with their guns, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

Over the weekend, local conservation officers patrolled forestry roads and common hunting areas around Cache Creek, Chase and Barriere. Conservation officer Jesse Jones says they had over 370 interactions with hunters and 27 charges were laid, most relating to loaded guns in vehicles.

“The part that’s shocking is that 60 per cent were for loaded arms,” he says. “Many of the people we’re catching actually had a cartridge in the chamber, ready to go. Some had the safety off.”

Jones says there are reports of hunters being injured, and fish and game officers in other parts of North America have been killed, unintentionally, by hunters with loaded guns in their vehicle. No conservation officers have died in B.C. due to an accidental firearm discharge.

“These are high-powered rifles and they’re meant to kill large game and people are driving around in the hopes they can gain a split second on an animal,” Jones says. “It puts our officers at risk, it puts the public at risk and it puts the people in that vehicle at risk.”

It’s particularly concerning when an officer is approaching a vehicle, Jones says, as hunters might realize their infraction and try to unload the rifle in a hurry.

“Thats where there’s a major safety concern, when people are fiddling around trying to unload their firearm,” he says. “That’s when accidents happen.”

Jones says conservation officers also relieved a person of a hand gun. Other charges related to animals being shot out of season or hunters with cancelled tickets. There were an additional 23 warnings. 

While conservation officers were checking in on hunters and making sure they were following the law, Jones says some officers were joined by government biologists as well, who were talking with people about what they were observing.

“These are people trying to manage our resources,” he says. “They want to get a feel for what’s going on out there for us.”

Jones says the deer season runs to Dec. 10 and conservation officers will continue to patrol. If the public sees anything unusual in the wild, he says they should call the Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-7277.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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