A long-time Yukoner called for a roadside hunting ban after a British Columbia hunter was fined for accidentally killing his family’s dog.
Eric Peterson was drinking coffee on the porch of his cabin by the Atlin Road in May when he heard a shot, he told a Yukon justice of the peace yesterday.
He found his six-year-old German shepherd/Labrador cross, Tikka, dead in a field on his property.
Peterson told the court he followed the shooter and an angry confrontation ensued near the British Columbia border.
The shooter, Daniel Bridge, said he thought the dog was a wolf and he planned to go back and pick up the animal after a short trip into B.C.
It turns out Bridge was actually parked in Peterson’s driveway when he got out and took the single shot, Peterson told the court.
Bridge, who now lives in Surrey, B.C., pleaded guilty to two counts under the Yukon Wildlife Act.
He was fined $1,750 and banned from hunting in the Yukon for two years. He was also ordered to take a hunting education course if he ever wants to get a licence in the Yukon again.
Bridge’s fine will go to the Bella Fund, run by the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter. The fund helps pay for medical costs of animals in need.
At the time of the shooting, Bridge had the appropriate hunting licences for wolves, though it was not the legal hunting season.
In court, both men apologized.
Peterson admitted he was “absolutely furious” during the altercation and said he understood why Bridge may have felt fearful.
“I believe Mr. Bridge is an honourable man. I believe he made a mistake … my family has been very affected by it,” he said.
Bridge, who attended the hearing over the phone, apologized to the Peterson family for what happened.
Justice of the peace Gary Burgess called the case “an emotional issue.”
“As a pet owner I can’t imagine my pet being taken away from me like this,” he said.
Outside the courtroom, Peterson said he would support a roadside hunting ban across the territory.
“Guns are powerful things. If the person is being affected by powerful instincts, they will see what they want to see,” he said.
Questions about roadside hunting have been raised before.
Earlier this year, the Yukon government ordered a public review of the hunting regulations for roadside hunting.
The joint committee between the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board and Environment Yukon was formed.
Its mandate was specifically to look at bear hunting, Environment Yukon spokesperson Nancy Campbell said.
“They still have about six months left on the clock,” she said.
The decision to form the committee was made after the legal shooting of a blonde grizzly bear along the Tagish Road.
Last year, a proposal was made to ban bear hunting along the Atlin Road. That did not move forward because it was too specific to just that road, Campbell said.
Currently, hunters must be off the road and shoulder completely before they can fire a shot. They must shoot away from the road, not across or along it.
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