Hunter responds after highway closure story

A man whose truck broke down acted legally and correctly, as did the RCMP. The barrage of misunderstanding has gone far enough

I am writing you to correct some details regarding your news article about the recent highway closure due to a man in camouflage carrying a rifle.

You reported that he was walking along the highway until he met up with a friend for a ride after having a vehicle breakdown. This is incorrect. I know because I am that man.

I had been returning from a quick trip to Fernie, and was to meet my son to go hunting bears. I had my camo on, and my rifle and gear with me so that we could leave right away when I got back.

I had a coolant hose burst outside of Cranbrook near the city’s irrigation fields and had texted my son to come get me. We went to town (with my rifle) and got a new hose, returned to my vehicle and replaced it. My son followed behind me to town in his truck.

Just before the SPCA my head gasket went, and I pulled over. My son pulled in within 10 feet of my truck. I carried my rifle from my truck to his truck on the ditch side of our vehicles, less than 20 feet, not exactly walking down the highway.

I’d like a correction please. I’m getting a lot of messages, and I am constantly questioned about it. I am also constantly having to explain that it was in no way related to the domestic dispute article you chose to link with it.

I didn’t do anything wrong, or even close to illegal, and I am quite tired of it, actually. I wasn’t going to write, but when I returned to work today to a barrage of questions and jokes, I knew I had to.

I get people I don’t even know telling me to file a complaint about the RCMP’s handling of the situation. I feel the RCMP did an outstanding job dealing with the situation — they had to respond knowing only the information that they received. Was it an over-response to what was happening? Of course it was, but they responded to MULTIPLE calls of “a man in camouflage walking along the highway with a rifle”, not a hunter took his rifle from his truck to his son’s after a breakdown.

I commend the RCMP for taking action to protect our community, they risk their lives every day to insure our safety. They respond to calls not knowing if today is the day they get shot and don’t return home to their families. People are telling me, “it’s Cranbrook, little hick town, they aren’t in danger.” Well, Mayerthorpe is a little “hick town” where RCMP responded to a firearms related call, and four members didn’t return to their families.

To the people affected by the closure, I’m sorry you were held up briefly. To the people who called it in, thank you for your vigilance, and concern for people’s safety, it’s crazy times we live in, always error on the side of caution. I would just say, please try and get the facts straight when you call, a lot of emergency resources were occupied because of this situation.

To the RCMP, thank you for what you do every day to keep us safe, it is an increasingly thankless job, thank you as well for how you dealt with me, I was treated with professionalism and respect.

Sincerely,

James Johnstone/Cranbrook

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