Yukon’s hunters may no longer shoot wildlife from the roadside, following the recent ruling of a territorial court judge.
Prior to Judge John Faulkner’s June ruling, hunters could fire from a road’s shoulder. Now, hunters must walk off the road and at least stand in the ditch.
Yukon’s Wildlife Act states careless use of a firearm occurs when a hunter “discharges a firearm, or causes a projectile from a firearm to pass, on or across the traveled portion of a road that is normally used by the public, whether or not the safety of any person actually is endangered.” Faulkner’s ruling expands the definition of “traveled portion of a road.”
“It would be absurd, in my view, to deem a shooter standing one inch toward the centre of the roadway from the white line to be acting negligently when, if the same person was to stand one inch to the outside of the line, he would be acting properly and lawfully,” Faulkner wrote in his ruling.
“The danger, which the statute seeks to alleviate, is the danger of firearms being discharged on roadways and the inherent danger is identical in both of the cases.”
The decision overturns a 1987 ruling that defined the traveled portion of the road as being between the white lines on the side of a paved road. Faulkner noted the shoulder is used by motor vehicles that have pulled over, as well as pedestrians and cyclists.