A Rocky View County resident is urging council to revisit its firearms bylaw.
Terry Raymond, who lives off Glendale Road west of Bearspaw, asked councillors to ban hunters from conducting their field sport on undeveloped road allowances, Nov. 20.
Road allowances run between two pieces of property and it’s lawful in most places within Alberta to access them if they are undeveloped.
Raymond said people who hunt on these road allowances often end up on private property, disturbing landowners.
“I think we need to do something about it,” he said.
Raymond, a bow-hunting enthusiast, said where he lives hunting big game animals is mostly restricted to a bow and arrow except during the Foothills Deer Season, during which two, five-day periods in early December, hunters can use a bow and arrow, crossbow, shotgun and muzzleloaders.
“With a bow and arrow, for an animal to fall within an undeveloped road allowance, it would have to be shot in the head or the spine,” he said, adding that even if it was shot in the spine it could still likely crawl off the road allowance.
Raymond said when this happens, hunters will enter private property and grab the animal. He said he has come across cut fences and destroyed signage.
He said another concern is horses who are taken for a leisurely ride can easily spook and go sideways due to a road allowance hunter hiding among the willows and long grass of the road allowance.
Raymond added some landowners allow hunters onto their land but when other hunters enter onto private land it deteriorates the landowner and hunters’ relationship.
Councillors Liz Breaky, Greg Boehlke and Lois Habberfield said they have heard similar concerns from residents in their divisions.
Breaky said she has seen hunters in their vehicles on road allowances shooting into county land.
Habberfield said she heard from residents in Madden, who live near a stretch of road allowance and have had hunters gut a deer on the road, leaving “the mess on the road for everyone to deal with.”
However, she questioned whether Rocky View has the jurisdiction to make bylaws regarding the road allowances, which are managed by the county for the province.
Lorraine Weskey-Riley, manager of enforcement and compliance for the county, agreed that Rocky View can’t supersede the province but said she would look into the details to see if they could grant a bylaw pertaining to the road allowances.
Raymond said across the province, people are allowed to hunt on road allowances but he knows of at least one exception — Strathcona County.
When contacted after the council meeting, Alf Kolenosky, with agriculture services in Strathcona County, said the municipality changed their firearms bylaw because of the density of people in the area, adding Strathcona’s road allowances are considered county land and as such can be included in their bylaw that prohibits hunting on any county land.
At the end of Raymond’s presentation in council, Deputy Reeve Paul McLean made a motion for the County’s enforcement services department to investigate possible amendments to the bylaw.
The subject will come back to a future public services meeting.