Manitoba

Shot by snowmobiler, man staggers 1-2 days to find help in Churchill

A man who was out trapping in northern Manitoba was shot by a passing snowmobiler who may have mistaken him for an animal, RCMP say.

Man out trapping might have been mistaken for an animal, police say

RCMP in Churchill are investigating a shooting west of the northern Manitoba town that left a man wounded and left to walk through bitter cold to find help. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

A man who was out trapping in northern Manitoba was shot by a passing snowmobiler who may have mistaken him for an animal, say RCMP.

The 29-year-old wounded man walked for one to two days to get back to Churchill for help, where he was treated for the gunshot and for exposure to the cold.

"It's kind of a crazy story," RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Julie Courchaine said.

Police are still trying to put together all of the details of what happened and exactly where, she said.

The man is still recovering in hospital and officers have only been able to get a bit of information from him. That's also why it has taken a few days for the RCMP to issue a news release about the shooting.

The man is from the Quebec area and had been staying in Churchill for about a month, according to RCMP.

Emergency crews were called just before 3 p.m. on Feb. 7 after workers at a construction site on Cape Merry Road in Churchill discovered the man staggering nearby.

RCMP and an ambulance responded to the call and the man was rushed to hospital.

Lay down behind rocks

The shooting is believed to have happened on Feb. 5 or 6, about eight kilometres west of Churchill near Button Bay, RCMP said.

Officers have tried to locate the exact spot but aren't certain they've found it, Courchaine said.

"They've traced it back and have come across spots of blood," she said.

They also don't know exactly how long he was walking.

Although the distance was only a few kilometres, the terrain is rough and the man was delirious from the injury and the cold — the temperature was between –30 C and –35 C at the time — so he was not walking a straight line.

"He lay down at times behind rocks to get shelter," Courchaine said. "He was injured pretty severely."

She wouldn't say where the man was hit, only that it was in the upper body.

Police want to know why the person who shot him didn't help. The man could have been quickly taken to hospital on the snowmobile.

"That's why we want to get it out there, to see if we can find more pieces to this puzzle," Courchaine said.

Police said the shooter was alone, wearing a black and blue snowsuit, a neck warmer and a black tuque, and driving a black and blue snowmobile that was pulling a sled.

The snowmobile was last seen going north from Button Bay.

RCMP ask anyone with information to call 204-675-2551.

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About the Author

Darren Bernhardt

Reporter/Editor

Darren Bernhardt spent the first dozen years of his journalism career in newspapers, first at the Regina Leader-Post then the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He has been with CBC Manitoba since 2009 and specializes in offbeat and local history stories and features. Story idea? Email: darren.bernhardt@cbc.ca

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