A half dozen violation tickets for having a loaded firearm in a vehicle were handed out by conservation officers in a roadside blitz near Boston Bar this month.
One of those tickets went to a hunter whose loaded firearm was sitting on the passenger seat beside him, with the safety off.
The blitz took place Oct. 16 and 17, checking vehicles traveling south from the interior.
Conservation officer Sgt. Don Stahl said the area is a funnel point for hunters and anglers as they return to the lower mainland from the rest of the province. It’s a popular spot for officers to set up during October’s busy hunting and fishing seasons.
Over the two days they checked 428 hunters and 33 anglers, and handed out 28 written warnings and 21 violation tickets. There were six or seven conservation officers, two RCMP, two DFO officers and three Environment Canada Wildlife officers.
Some of the warnings included possessing a carcass without parts attached (8), failing to demonstrate proof of authorization (6), and unlawful possession of dead wildlife or parts (2).
Actual tickets handed out include the six loaded firearm violations, nine violations of possessing a carcass without parts attached, and two violations of transporting fish contrary to regulations.
One mule deer was seized, along with 19 grouse.
Officers checked eight black bears, 38 mule deer, three whitetail deer, 19 moose, three elk, four ducks, and many other fish and upland game birds.
The blitz offers a chance to educate new fishers and anglers, Stahl added. Officers also make a roadside judgement call on whether someone is poaching or has made an honest mistake.
“We take a number of factors into consideration when we decide whether to issue a ticket or warning to someone,” he said. That includes a history of violations, if the person is new to hunting or angling, or young, and the severity of the violation. For example, he said, shooting a deer out of season would net a charge, no matter what.
Public safety issues, such as having a loaded firearm in the vehicle, will always lead to a ticket, he said.
“It’s important for hunters and fishers to follow the law, for instance, not harvest more trout or ducks than they are allowed, so that we leave healthy populations of fish and wildlife for our children to enjoy,” he said.
“And yes, written warnings are often issued with the intent to educate the hunter or fisher. But also to have their name on our system, so if they commit the same, or a similar violation, they will be charged the next time.”
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