Snowmobilers threatened with gun, catch incident on video

A Saskatoon man says he and his friend were stopped while snowmobiling by a man with a gun who accused them of trespassing.

Jeff Smerechanski confronted by man with gun while snowmobiling near Saskatoon

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      Jeff Smerechanski and his friend were snowmobiling last month south of Saskatoon when they were confronted by a man with a gun.

      The pair were riding through fields in the Rural Municipality of South Corman Park when they realized they were on private property.

      Jeff Smerechanski, near the location in the Rural Municipality of South Corman Park where the incident happened on the Family Day long weekend. (CBC)

      "I got to this one spot and got stuck, got off my sled to start digging myself out," he said. "I turned around and realized there's a house there and I am on some guy's yard."

      When he dug himself out and caught up to his friend, a truck was blocking their path, and a man was approaching their snowmobiles.

      "I saw that he had a gun in his hand, and not some hunting shotgun. It looked like some kind of combat shotgun and he was kicking my friend's sled," he said.

      Smerechanski's friend was wearing a camera on his helmet, which captured the confrontation that followed.

      (Warning: Language in the video below may offend)

      "I got off my sled and in a fairly aggressive tone, said 'what the F are you doing?'" he said. "At that point, he slaps me in the side of the head. He was very, very upset and you couldn't even reason with him."

      He said he apologized to the man for allegedly trespassing and they tried to leave the field.

      Man defends his actions

      Deryl Ring, the man who confronted the snowmobilers with a gun that day, is an alpaca farmer who lives in the area. He said the snowmobilers crossed through his land while they were riding, stressing out his prize-winning animals.

      So he got in his truck and caught up with them on his neighbour's property to confront them. 

      Deryl Ring, on his alpaca farm. (CBC)
      "I was really, really upset. Especially when they asked what they did wrong," he said. "Well, it is a no-brainer to me. You were on private property. That's what they did wrong."

      Ring said he has had problems with snowmobilers for years. He said they ignore signage, tear through fencing and often trespass on his farm.

      He said he was scared of what the snowmobilers might do to him, which is why he brought a gun along.

      Deryl Ring believes his cat was run over by careless snowmobilers. (Deryl Ring)
      "I'm not a young man ... how do I know I'm not going to get a round taken out of me," he said.

      Ring also said that in the past, one of his cats was chased and run over by snowmobilers. He said he overreacted, but maintained he never intended to shoot either of the men with the gun.

      Police deciding whether charges will be laid

      The event has left Smerechanski, who started snowmobiling this winter, wondering how bad things could have gotten.

      "I think, what would have happened if someone who was more of a hot head, had been in that situation? How could that have ended?" he said. "You know, with him and his shotgun, would someone have tried to take the gun away from him, or struck him back? This story could have ended a lot worse."

      The snowmobilers have since complained to RCMP. Police said they forwarded the case to prosecutors to decide whether charges will be laid.

      Replay the Saskatoon Morning live chat looking into snowmobiling and private property. 


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