Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)

Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)

Petition to stop hunting in Cowichan estuary after swan shot

Hunters blame shooting on illegal poachers

More than 22,500 people so far have signed a fast-growing petition calling for a ban on hunting in the area surrounding the Cowichan River Estuary.

The petition began following the shooting of a swan over a popular walking path earlier this month near the estuary.

Cowichan Bay’s Laurie Arbuthnot started the petition after the incident, with a goal “to protect all the wildlife in this important birding area.”

On the petition site, which can be found at Change.org/BanEstuaryHunting, Arbuthnot says the estuary has accessible walking trails enjoyed by the community and visitors alike of all ages, but the walking trails are alongside hunting areas.

RELATED STORY: VIDEO SHOWS FIREWORKS SHOT AT SWAN IN ALBERTA

“The shots being fired so close to walkers is frightening, let alone the fact that the hunting is allowed in this important ecosystem,” she said.

“The community shudders every time the blasts are heard, but the final straw was on Nov. 13 after a beautiful pair of swans had taken flight only for one to be shot and not killed but coming to the ground by the walking trail. Due to the quick and kind action of local birders and walkers, the swan was saved and hopes are it will survive as it was taken to a recovery centre. The hunter did not come to see how the injured swan was. It was an act of sickening, malicious destruction.”

The Cowichan River Estuary is a 400-hectare estuary ecosystem and internationally designated Important Bird Area.

The estuary hosts vast numbers of rare migratory and year-round birds such as trumpeter swans, bald eagles, blue herons, and many varieties of ducks, geese and song birds.

RELATED STORY: CONTROVERSIAL COWICHAN BAY REZONING APPROVED

But Hunter Braeden Hardie defended hunting in areas close to the estuary, stating in a letter to the editor that it has been going on there legally for generations.

He said the province has laws in place that prohibit shooting within close distances to public walking trails.

“Those who break these laws and put others in danger should be reported and prosecuted. Legal and ethical hunters should not be punished for the ignorance of others who hunt in Cowichan Bay,” Hardie said.

“Recent posts online have described the perpetrator [in the shooting of the swan] as a ‘hunter’, which could not be further from the truth. Hunters hunt to obtain meat that they intend to eat. Those who shoot animals and leave them to die with no intention of harvesting meat are poachers, not hunters. Trumpeter swans are a protected species in B.C., and therefore the killing of them is illegal. Hunters do not intentionally partake in illegal acts. Punish the poachers, not the hunters.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

hunting

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hotel Zed Tofino has won a Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Award. (Westerly file photo)
Hotel Zed Tofino wins commercial building award

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board holds virtual gala.

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read