Angry Tlellian takes aim at pit lampers

  • Apr. 15, 2015 2:00 p.m.

Citing gun blasts in the middle of the night, deer carcasses in his driveway and escalating confrontations with armed youth, a Tlell man is pushing the police and community leaders to help him stop, once and for all, the pit-lampers shooting along his little stretch of highway.Brendan Hunt, his wife Marylynne Hunt and their two sons live on a parcel of land a few dozen metres inland from the highway, just north of St. Mary’s Spring, and in close proximity to two other homes. Nearby a dirt road leads a short distance to a piece of crown land, Gravel Pit No. 2003, which has long been a popular destination for target shooters, but over the past few years has also been luring a high number of deer hunters.To the north of the gravel pit, a thin line of trees disguise the open field on the other side leading directly to the Hunts’ back porch 700 metres distant. They worry the pit-lampers, unaware of his and his neighbours houses, will one day inadvertently arch a bullet through someone’s window.”I can handle a shotgun blast,” Mrs. Hunt says. “I know their range and they aren’t much of a threat. But when you hear a high powered rifle go off at three in the morning, that’s a whole different story.”Which is exactly what happened last year. Fearing a rifle shot sounded much closer than normal, Mr. Hunt jumped from bed and searched his property, finding a freshly killed deer down his driveway next to five teenagers, all armed. They left without incident. Police later interviewed the suspects, but no charges were laid.”I know that a lot of people who do this are doing it because they’re hungry. It’s subsistence hunting and I’m not against that. But I’m worried about our safety … My kids and their friends ride bikes on the highway and stuff. Pit lampers have shone lights on them,” said Hunt.He claims his neighbours have on at least one occasion jumped into the highway ditch, startled by nearby gun shots. Mr. Hunt fears for the worst because the shooters aren’t always in a cautious state of mind, hunting out of necessity, but drinking alcohol and shooting recklessly at targets. Mr. Hunt wants to see a more comprehensive approach to the issue to educate youth about the dangers of pit lamping, and even designate areas where it can be done safely away from residential zones.”Pit lamping is a big issue. There’s pretty much houses all along the 110 kilometres of paved highway. Although it’s technically illegal, people are still going to do it. So if they’re going to do it, let’s acknowledge that and move it onto the backroads.”Recently, on a night of heavy shooting at the gravel pit near his home, Mr. Hunt jumped in his car to confront whomever he found at the site. But when he arrived he saw no one, only their rifles leaning against the locked gate. Out of frustration, he says, he clubbed the sights with a piece of wood and waited to have a word with their owners. Although no violence ensued, he admits the eventual confrontation could have easily got out of hand.”I know it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I was protecting myself by doing that [to their sights]. If they can’t shoot their guns, I don’t have to worry about getting shot.”The RCMP has been in regular contact with Mr. Hunt over the incident, and the pit-lamping issue in general. “It’s not just Brendan, and it’s not just an issue for the police, but conservation as well-they’ve been dealing with it over the past few years, lots of complaints of people going out and shooting late in the night,” RCMP Queen Charlotte Sgt.Scott Hromadnik said.”We’ve been working in conjuntion with Conservation … I’ve been here for three years and it’s always been an issue.”The law allows for hunting near highways as long as the shooting takes place 15 metres away from the centre line, and is pointed in the opposite direction. However, it is illegal to hunt at night.Sgt. Hromadnik added the police take all complaints of seriously, urging the public to report illegal activity.That’s comforting for Mr. Hunt, but he’s sceptical enforcement can beat a more proactive approach.”Even if someone has to be gently urged Â… someone has to take ownership of the issue,” he said. “I’m the person living on the highway where everyone wants to come shoot, and I’m sick and tired of chasing idiot heads with guns away from my house.”

Just Posted

Maritime Museum project receives legacy grant

A special project of the Dixon Entrance Maritime Museum Society has been… Continue reading

Richardson Ranch celebrating 100 years of family and ranching in Haida Gwaii

Tlell Polled Hereford’s continue to win awards while the ranch becomes a popular spot for visitors

Indigenous voices finally heard with final MMIWG report, says Northwest B.C. advocate

The report contains more than 200 recommendations to multiple levels of government

Sustainble economy flourishing in Haida Gwaii and Great Bear Rainforest thanks to First Nations investments

From 2008-2018, funding initiatives led to more than $286 million in new investments

New exhibit at Haida Gwaii Heritage Centre, Kay Llnagaay

Ubiquitous Cocoons: My metamorphosing life by Kathy Pick will be running until Sept. 1, 2019

First ever Nisga’a mortuary totem pole unveiled in Prince Rupert cemetery on Father’s Day weekend

The pole was unveiled at Fairview Cemetery in honour of the late Robert Tait, renowned carver

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Police probe report of shooting as Raptors rally continues

There were reports of a woman being injured at the event that celebrates the team’s NBA title win

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

First ever Nisga’a mortuary totem pole unveiled in Prince Rupert cemetery on Father’s Day weekend

The pole was unveiled at Fairview Cemetery in honour of the late Robert Tait, renowned carver

Most Read