Hunters must know, obey the safety laws

It was frightening to learn last week that someone had shot a deer mere metres from a residential neighbourhood in Lake

It was frightening to learn last week that someone had shot a deer mere metres from a residential neighbourhood in Lake Cowichan.

We have no problem with hunting in general — though trophy hunting is an anachronistic abomination that should be outlawed. But those who hunt to put meat on the table and into the freezer have our utmost respect.

Meat you hunt yourself can often be healthier than that found on store shelves.

Wild game has not been fed antibiotics or hormones, or artificially fattened up.

Generally, these animals have eaten the diet nature intended them to.

Venison, moose and other hunted meats can be very tasty, and if you have the expertise you can even save yourself some money at the grocery store.

But hunters have a very important obligation to community safety.

This includes hunting in season, which not only helps to protect wild animal populations, but also protects the people, who shouldn’t have to worry about being shot if they venture into the woods off-season.

It also includes following the rules about not hunting within 100 metres of homes. For obvious reasons this is essential.

The hunter who shot the deer in the 100 Houses neighbourhood was fortunate he didn’t kill someone.

He could easily have shot an adult walking in the laneway where the dead deer was found, or the children that regularly play there.

Such irresponsible behaviour has no excuse.

An argument that perhaps he didn’t know until it was too late how close he was to the residential area doesn’t hold water: it was his iron-clad responsibility to know.

And the deer was left behind when he was scared off by someone living nearby. So it was a total waste.

We can only hope he was so scared that he will not repeat his illegal behaviour in the future.

In the meantime, we don’t blame residents for saying they’ll be cautiously looking over their shoulders.

It could so easily have been a tragedy.

In other hunting news, the NDP promised this week that they will outlaw grizzly bear trophy hunting in B.C. should they be elected in the next provincial vote in 2017.

This was welcome news, and a great step forward.

Trophy hunting has no place in our modern society. It is cruel, wasteful and unnecessary.

We should never encourage people to kill things for pleasure.