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

The Vancouver Island marmot is an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
VIDEO: ‘Frisky’ Vancouver Island marmots caught on camera

Marmots are catching the eye of researchers when caught on security cameras getting ‘quite frisky’

Karilyn, right, with her older sister, Sabrina. Both siblings are members of the YANA family, after being helped by the community organization on separate occasions. Photo supplied
Siblings both members of the YANA family

Comox Valley non-profit helped Geiger family on separate occasions

A second-floor balcony continues to smoulder after a fire extinguisher was used to get a small balcony fire under control at the Washington Inn Apartments. Brian Hayward, who lives on the third floor, was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke wafting into his apartment. Photo by Brian Hayward.
Courtenay firefighters respond to balcony fire at Washington Inn Apartments

Firefighters were called out to the Washington Inn Apartments Sunday, April 17,… Continue reading

RCMP forensics investigators scour the site north of Highland School in Comox, where multiple people were stabbed during a party Saturday night, April 16. Photo by Terry Farrell
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Comox bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault near Highland Secondary

Cumberland is surrounded by trees — and logging. Its council is supporting a call to stop old-growth logging in vulnerable areas of the province such as Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland backs request to save B.C.’s old-growth forests

The Comox Youth Climate Council is asking local governments to take stand

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Most Read