HEADWATERS LAKE, B.C. – B.C. Conservation officers are searching for suspects after a long weekend bush party terrorized local residents and animals.
A group of about 40 adults, said to be in their 20’s and 30’s, descended upon the Headwaters forestry campground Friday, May 16th, about 25 km southwest of Peachland.
They were seen with their guns drawn even before reaching the unsupervised campsite.
“On Friday, my boss phoned it in, because she went down the road,” says Mark who lives at Headwaters and who declined to have his last name published for fear of retribution. “At kilometre 12, there were kids hanging out their windows with shot guns and pistols. It scared the crap out of her.”
Gunshots echoed across all four lakes in the area, creating a frightening atmosphere.
“It sounded like a war going on over there,” says nearby resident Reid Zais. “With the heavy guns and shot guns just steady, like all day long.”
“It’s very unnerving for everybody around here,” Zais continues. “You don’t know which way they’re shooting because they’re all drunk up and terrorizing the place.”
While Zais attempted to talk to the group, he backed away after witnessing their party first hand.
“Oh no, it didn’t look like it was a good thing to do,” says Zais. “I just left.”
When Zais and his neighbour went back to the campsite after the party group left, they found stunning destruction.
“Tons of garbage, a dead beaver, dead songbirds, winch parts and a few other things,” he says.
Conservation confirms the beaver was partially skinned after being shot in the chest and two songbirds were also shot dead.
“It tells me a few things,” says Sgt. Jim Beck. “It tells me they have no appreciation for our wildlife resources. It’s a definite hunt closed season. Beavers are closed to the hunting at this point and time. They’re also closed for trapping purposes.”
While a call about the party in progress was made to RAPP Saturday (Conservation Officer Service, Report All Poachers and Polluters 1-877-952-7277), the message was not received by the office until Monday.
Locals were concerned for their safety. And while RCMP were called Friday, they report making no findings when they drove to the site. Local residents hope more officers are on patrol in the future.
“Police presence, more conservation officers, that’s all we need,” says Mark. “Somebody with a gun and a badge. To scare these people away.”
Conservation reportedly has a license plate recovered from the scene that is being investigated among other debris found at the scene. A security gate at the watershed was also destroyed.
“I don’t even think it’s a normal, contentious outdoor enthusiast,” says Sgt. Beck. “This is an individual or individuals that probably don’t hunt or fish or enjoy camping that much. They were basically out there to have a bush party where they feel the rules of the land don’t apply.”
Sgt. Beck says he is looking to bring the suspects through justice, not through ticketing for the numerous violations at the site, but for consideration by a judge.
Tips continue to come in about the incidents, according to Sgt. Beck.