UPDATE: Shots fired into Parkland County home; couple recounts frightening ordeal
EDMONTON – A Parkland County couple had just arrived home from work Friday afternoon when they suddenly heard four loud bangs.
“I looked at [my husband] like basically ‘what the heck was that?'” said Paula Nonay.
“Once we started checking the house out we realized that it was bullets that had come through our house,” said Glenn Nonay.
The pair found four bullet holes in a bedroom and bathroom.
“My immediate reaction was I was scared,” said Paula.
Her fear soon turned to surprise then anger.
The couple’s rural property is located near Graminia Community School (southeast of Spruce Grove), close to the North Saskatchewan River.
RCMP said officers carried out an extensive search over the weekend, but didn’t find any suspects. Police do not believe it was a targeted act, and are working with Alberta Fish and Wildlife on the investigation.
November is hunting season, and a time when police are often forced to remind hunters of the rules and regulations – several of which were broken Friday night.
“Whether it was hunting or not, we can’t say for sure, but the discharge of firearms in that location, at that time, is illegal,” said Cpl. Colette Zazulak with Spruce Grove/Stony Plain RCMP, who added investigators believe a high-powered rifle was used.
The Graminia-area is home to hundreds of acreages, most within subdivisions where hunting with a gun is prohibited. The area where Friday’s shooting occurred is zoned for bow hunting only. Even if using a firearm was allowed, hunting is only permitted within half an hour before sunrise and half an hour after sunset. The shooting happened about an hour after sunset. Additionally, it is illegal to fire a gun within 183 meters (200 yards) of an occupied building.
“This would have been an extremely frightening incident for the homeowners, and one that could have been much worse,” said Zazulak.
“Hunting is a privilege in Alberta, and the onus is on hunters to obey all the regulations, which are designed to ensure public safety.”
Those who are hunting must also have the appropriate hunting draws (Special licences granted via a lottery, allowing applicants to hunt a specific type of game in defined areas during a specified season.)
On Monday RCMP also issued a reminder that hunters must obtain permission from land owners (like farmers) before entering private property to hunt. Failing to do so can result in a $287 trespassing fine.
Grande Prairie RCMP said they’d received several complaints in the past few days about people hunting on their land without permission. Police also encouraged landowners to post ‘no trespassing’ signs around their property to indicate it is private.
Last year the Alberta Fish and Game Association called on the province to double the number of wildlife officers enforcing hunting regulations in Alberta. At the time, the Alberta Conservation Association estimated that fewer than 10 per cent of poaching cases ever get detected.
Earlier this year 10 young people were charged after over two dozen poached animals were found shot and left to waste in the Edson area.
Fish & Wildlife said it also investigated an increase in grizzly bear poaching.
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