Thursday, December 21, 2006

You have the right to shoot your hunting buddy in the night

In what is sure to be a controversial ruling, the BC Supreme Court has upheld the right of two First Nation’s hunters to hunt their prey at night using a light. A practice normally frowned upon and considered illegal for most living in the province.

In the 4-3 decision, the Court upheld the right of two men from Vancouver Island to hunt at night, overturning their convictions under the BC wildlife act. They had been arrested after BC Game Wardens had set up a decoy target and arrested the two after their hunting session after nightfall.

The men had claimed that under a treaty provision of 1850, they had the right to hunt deer at night with a light. They had lost at trial, but upon appeal to the Supreme Court the decision was overturned.

Besides the obvious danger of the practice of hunting at night, one wonders what source of light would have been used at night back in 1850 to assist hunters of the day. While the courts are right to protect past practices of the First Nations and guard against any infringement on their traditional patterns, still common sense sometimes has to prevail once and a while one would think.
Simply put, hunting at night is not a safe activity to take part in regardless of your ancestry and using a light to hunt your prey isn’t a particularly fair approach to the project either. Sometimes a law makes sense, this one did, and it’s puzzling how the courts could see things any other way.

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