Kamloops woman who came face to face with loaded rifles calls for safer hunting practises | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops woman who came face to face with loaded rifles calls for safer hunting practises

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
September 26, 2019 - 7:00 AM

KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops woman is calling for safer hunting and outdoor shooting practices after having a pair of loaded rifles pointed at her and her husband while finishing a hike.

Nikki Lussier often takes her dogs on hikes in the Lac Du Bois protected area in Kamloops. She often adorns herself and her dogs with high-visibility tape as a precautionary measure due to the presence of people with guns in the area.

She knows of a gravel pit two kilometres from her usual hiking spot where people go to practice shooting or sight their rifles, which is when they test and adjust their scope to hit targets at a specific range.

“There’s a lot of recreational use, there's logging, there are ranchers, and now, of course, there are hunters,” Lussier says. “There’s a road that I often go hiking with my dogs. There are puddles and there's mud and it’s always really obvious when there's somebody else who has driven down that road.”

Late last week, she went out for a hike with her husband and they came face to face with a pair of rifles on their way out.

“On our way back to the vehicle, we started hearing gunshots, really close by,” Lussier says. “We came around this little corner and they had their rifles pointed at us... my husband said, ‘Guys, this is so unsafe. You didn't check out if anyone was up that road and it’s not safe that you were basically in a blind spot and you were also aiming at a target that doesn't have a gravel pit backdrop... it would've been easy for anybody to just step out into that area behind the target.”

Lussier says they talked to one of the men, while the other moved their truck. She says it was hard to read his attitude, and she watched the men as she drove away.

“I don't feel unsafe around guns. I feel unsafe around people like I did that day when I don't trust them,” Lussier says. “All he said was ‘fair enough, fair enough,’ that's all he said... he had a bit of a smirky expression, and I looked in my rearview mirror to observe when he told the other guy, and it seemed like they were possibly having a bit of a chuckle about it.”

Lussier is licensed to carry a gun, but she doesn’t hunt. She made a post on a local Facebook page asking for input from hunters on what the appropriate practices would've been. Some of the commenters suggested safe hunting practices such as sighting your rifle into a bank, having a spotter and never shooting near a road. Others offered advice for hikers, such as wearing high-visibility apparel or tape.

“There are lots of fall colours, lots of reds and yellow out their right now so I tend to wear a lot of pink,” Lussier says. “I have a pink pack... I also wear (high-visibility) flagging tape, I have it on a few areas on my pack and on my hat.”

Lussier and her husband didn't get the license plate and didn’t report it as they felt there was not enough information to build a solid case. Lussier regrets not getting their information but wanted to keep the encounter as calm as possible.

“My big regret of course is I should have gotten their license plate number,” Lussier says. “However reasonable they were, you never know. All I know is they had loaded rifles and I didn't.”

She says the incident happened late last week and one man was dressed in head to toe camouflage while the other was in plain clothes. The men were driving a dark coloured pick up truck.

Kamloops RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Jodi Shelkie recommends that people wanting to go for a hike during hunting season stay in areas where hunting is prohibited, and be aware of hunting season dates.

“Wear blaze orange or another bright colour when hiking during hunting season, keep your dog on a leash when hiking during hunting season,” Shelkie says. “Make some noise while hiking during hunting season, (and) stay out of the woods when hunters are most active.

“We recommend people make a report if they see someone acting in a dangerous manner. If someone was pointing a firearm at them, that is dangerous. Even if they don't have the license plate of the vehicle, they can describe the vehicle and the people using the firearms.”

You can check out the hunting season dates here.

You can click here to see which provincial parks do and don’t allow hunting and you can click here for more information on hunting regulations.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler 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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