Early on Monday morning, Cst. Bryan Mulrooney of the Bowen Island RCMP detachment received a call about a firearm being discharged at Cowan Point.
"A resident had heard several shots down at the golf course," says Mulrooney, who went to the area to investigate but didn't find anything suspicious.
At 8 a.m., a second call came in.
"Spencer Grundy had found a dead deer between the first and the ninth fairway. Then he had walked down towards Seymour Bay and discovered two more on the path. He also noticed a boat with a male sleeping in it," Mulrooney says.
Grundy, the manager of the Bowen Island Golf Club, said, "It would have been around 7:30 in the morning. We usually come down and take the garbage from the clubhouse. One [of our employees] came back and said there was a dead deer on the fairway."
Grundy was not alarmed as he assumed the deer had been hit by a car. They had dealt with deer carcasses before and had been advised by a conservation officer to simply dispose of it in the bush. So Grundy and his colleague moved the deer.
They weren't immediately aware that this case was different. "We didn't see any bullet holes," Grundy said. "But then we went down to Seymour Bay and saw two more deer. They had been gutted."
Grundy no longer believed the deer had been killed by accident. He now knew the deer had been hunted. "I think that when we showed up, we may have interrupted them and they returned to the boat that was high-centred on the beach," he said.
After receiving a second call from Grundy, Mulrooney confronted the man in the boat, who said he had two accomplices. After the man with the boat was charged, he left in his boat, says Mulrooney. Then another man came out of the bush. "He was probably cold," said the RCMP officer.
The man in the boat returned to pick up the second man. The third man was never found.
Mulrooney says that the hunters were First Nation people who said that they didn't know they were not supposed to discharge firearms on Bowen Island.
"[First Nations people] don't have to follow hunting regulations and they said they didn't know they were not allowed to shoot here." Mulrooney said. "They said [the meat] was for a ceremony as they are allowed to hunt for ceremonial purposes or for their own sustenance."
Mulrooney added, "But the golf course is private property and you can't hunt there" without permission from the owners. First Nation people are allowed to hunt on Crown land.
Mulrooney said that the hunters were not Bowen Island residents. They had arrived during night and probably would have left in time, had the boat not been stranded by the low tide.
He issued tickets for discharging firearms in a no-shooting area according to section 32 of the Wildlife Act which came to $345 each.
"We also seized two rifles and several rounds of ammunition," said Mulrooney.