Fears rural Saskatchewan is becoming a lawless wasteland where farmers are arming themselves in droves are exaggerated, according to a farmer near Kindersley.
The man, Bryce, asked not to have his last name published.
He told 650 CKOM Thursday he wouldn’t be surprised if the odd farmer out there has started carrying a weapon for protection because of rural crime.
However, he claims many of the photos seen circulating online this week—of rifles and shotguns propped up inside trucks, tractors and combines—are the product of a group of farmers playing a prank.
He said it started with farmers reacting in online discussion forums to accounts of people carrying weapons in the wake of an attempted armed robbery near Fiske, Sask.
Bryce said many of the people he spoke with felt the discussion around farmers with weapons in their vehicles was being sensationalized.
“We thought it was pretty hilarious, because we’ve all had guns in the tractors and in the combines for years for coyotes and we’ve had cougars out here,” he said.
Beyond controlling larger predators, Bryce said he likes having a gun with him to let off steam.
“The odd time, you get bored waiting to combine, you maybe go out and pick off a few gophers. It’s like a shovel, it’s like a hammer, it’s like a wrench—we have (guns) in the truck at all times,” he said.
Bryce claimed he and a group of others began putting out pictures of their varmint guns, propped up in their vehicles, leaving the online world to speculate they were mainly used for self-defence.
“We all just started sending in pictures of guns in our trucks and our tractors. The one I sent off is from three years ago,” he said.
Bryce said while he and his buddies have certainly had a laugh stirring the pot this week, rural crime remains a serious issue.
“I wouldn’t say that we’re arming ourselves out of fear for our safety. But we are aware that it is a potential issue and it’s another reason to have a gun with you. It’s not a cause-and-effect thing of ‘I’m scared, I’m going to start carrying a gun,'” he said.