Manitoba night hunter defends tradition handed down through generations

Brittany Hobson
APTN National News
Daren McKay has been hunting at night now for more than 40 years.

“It was passed on through our generation,” said McKay. “My day it was passed on from his dad and my grandpa it was passed on from their dad and from there it went way back. It stayed in the history books.”

But the type of hunting that McKay has been practising for decades, called spotlighting, is now controversial.

The technique is being called dangerous, and there is a call to ban the practice.

Earlier this year, the issue took a turn when Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said the fight around spotlighting was going become a “race war.”

“The reality here is that we need to work together to solve a serious problem that’s getting worse, been ignored for a long time,” Pallister told media.

See related stories: Moose and Treaty Rights 

Many hunting groups have chimed in – and that prompted McKay to invite APTN National News on a night hunt.

“We’ve got a lot of people hating on us about that but we just ignore that,” said McKay

McKay said he wanted to educate people on spotlighting, and why it’s important for some hunters.

“This is the spotlight that we’re going to be using,” McKay told APTN. “This is our main spotlight and this is the one that’s going to find the deer for us and this is hooked up to the battery to the main vehicle. What I’ll be doing is sitting on the passenger side looking for the deer.”

Once a spotlight shines on an animal, the hunter has less than 10 seconds to fire.

According to the province, night hunting poses a risk for various reasons. In a statement to APTN, a spokesperson for the province said there is just no way of knowing with certainty where the bullet will stop. And the chances of hitting other people, buildings or property become higher.

McKay said he recognised the dangers associated with hunting at night. He said only people trained in it should be allowed to do it.

“It is safe by educating your children at the early ages because that’s how I got educated by early ages. I got to learn how to see the danger signs…when I’m spotlighting,” he said.

Night hunting is also a treaty right – one the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is keeping a close eye on it.

According to Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, it’s an issue the organisation is ready to go right to the Supreme Court to defend.

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3 thoughts on “Manitoba night hunter defends tradition handed down through generations

  1. i was born to be a hunter. My dad was the one that taught me to hunt at the early ages. i started hunting when i was 6 years first kill was a moose ..I was a very young boy .. learn to shoot, my first my moose After that I had to a sacred ceremony ..,,private ceremony..for killing my first my animal .to this day I take my children to the wilderness .
    i teach my grand son very well ..i will never stop …i don’t want my children to fight for their hunting rights ..i will die for what I believable ..i will die for my clean water ..this water protector is ready to die for clean water.. and many thanks,

  2. right on defending our culture and passing the way of life to the new generation ..many do not understand you have to be taught and you have to teach what you been taught , real life experience is the most effective way

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