• John Jantak

Turkey poult killings sparks demand for St. Lazare to ban all hunting


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

St. Lazare resident Dag Radicevic tells council about a recent incident in which two young people trespassed onto his agricultural property and killed several turkey poults with slingshots.

A recent incident involving the slaughter of several turkey poults with slingshots on an agricultural property in St. Lazare prompted one resident to call for an outright ban on all types of hunting within the municipality. Dag Radicevic, who operates a poultry enterprise on Chemin St. Louis, told councillors during the September 2 council meeting that he personally witnessed two young individuals on his property recently armed with professional slingshots deliberately shooting stones at and killing the poults.

Radicevic said he contacted the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife soon after the alleged incident was reported. According to Radicevic, ministry representatives investigated the incident and are expected to file a report with the town shortly. Further alleged hunting episodes have also occurred over the years involving people with bows and arrows trespassing onto Radicevic’s property without his permission.

“I’m very concerned because we’ve had other incidents in the past. This land is also part of a corridor for geese that migrate back and forth,” he said. Mayor Robert Grimaudo told Radicevic that the town still hadn’t received the report from the ministry and advised him to also report any future incidents to the local Sûreté du Québec (SQ) police detachment.

“The actual issue is there is a turkey season and there are people that hunt turkeys, which is fine, because they are legally allowed to do so,” said Grimaudo. “But if you have people running around with slingshots attacking the poults and being a nuisance to the environment, well obviously that’s not right. “The hunting regulations in Quebec are very specific when it comes to where you can use guns, bows and arrows, shotguns,” Grimaudo added. “The fact is that most of the territory in St. Lazare is not suited to hunting because of the population density of the municipality.”

According to Grimaudo, no guns are permitted for hunting in St. Lazare with the exception of shotguns on certain agricultural lands, and even then, the weapon cannot be fired within a minimum of at least 500 meters from a neighbouring home. Hunting with bows and arrows, however, is permitted on all agricultural lands. The revelation that bow and arrow hunting is allowed didn’t sit well with St. Charles Road resident Elizabeth Rozon.

“It makes me very nervous knowing anyone can go out and hunt with a bow and arrow within our community,” said Rozon. She asked council to consider passing a by-law that would prohibit all hunting regardless of the type of weapon used. District 2 Councillor Pamela Tremblay said the town cannot prohibit hunting because the regulations are administered by the province, which prompted Rozon to tell council they needed to show some backbone on the issue.

Rozon also claims she heard shotgun blasts outside her home on at least three occasions this past summer, which she reported to the SQ. “We cannot overstep our bounds,” Tremblay replied. “Other issues have been brought up by several different residents over the past few months, where we are expected to overstep our bounds legally and grow a backbone. I’m sorry, but we are doing our job which is to follow the rules and regulations of the municipality. We will not overstep our bounds either federally or provincially.”

Grimaudo concurred with Tremblay’s response. “The hunting regulations are controlled and legislated by the provincial government. It is not in our mandate to override their jurisdiction. When it comes to people shooting off their bows and arrows or shotguns in areas where it’s not allowed, your best recourse is to call the SQ. Unfortunately, we cannot legislate common sense.”

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