Update: Five people arrested for night hunting near Williams Lake

Five people were arrested Friday after they were caught night hunting at about 2:30 a.m. on private land just west of Williams Lake

Update:

A man who fled the scene when a group of people were caught night hunting last Friday near Williams Lake was arrested and released on conditions.

Sgt. Len Butler with the Conservation Officer Services said officers were able to get the male to come into the COS office in Williams Lake late Friday.

“We will be forwarding charges to Crown Counsel against four First Nations males and one First Nations female involved in the incident,” Butler said Tuesday.

Original story:

Four men were arrested Friday after they were caught night hunting at about 2:30 a.m. on private land just west of Williams Lake, Sgt. Len Butler of the Conservation Officer Service said.

“They shot a deer from Highway 20 on private property and we are not sure if they had the aid of light or the headlights of the white Dodge pickup they were in,” Butler told the Tribune Friday. “The landowners called in the RCMP, which is great because they are on shift 24 hours and we were called in right after.”

The RCMP arrived on the scene, arrested the four men, although a fifth man, known to the COS, fled the scene with a firearm in the dark.

All five men were First Nations from the Vancouver and Vancouver Island area, Butler said.

“The fifth hunter is well-known to us and we suspect that is why he fled. He was breaching his conditions from a trial that was resolved in the spring from hunting outside of his traditional territory.”

Officers have not located the fifth man yet, but are following up.

All five men were in the pickup together and had numerous firearms, Butler said.

One of the major issues about hunting at night is obviously the fact it is dangerous, he added.

“The individual who shot the deer, shot directly toward the residence of the landowners and toward a field where there are horses.”

Butler thanked the RCMP for apprehending the individuals and said hunting at night is becoming a chronic problem in the region.

“I have been here for five years and when hunting season opens night hunting starts up. It’s First Nations and it’s non-First Nations doing it. In this case it just happened to be First Nations.”

Butler said he was able to process the deer, collect evidence, and salvage the meat to turn over to the Salvation Army to “make some good use of it.”