Slime ranches are among the most popular tourist destinations in Canada, attracting more than 5 million visitors each year.
But in recent years, they have been at the centre of an unusual series of incidents.
In February, a rancher in the southwestern town of Thunder Bay was shot dead in front of his family by a hunter with a hunting license.
On March 12, a man who had killed a deer in Saskatchewan was also found with a bullet in his leg and was rushed to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The next day, a gunman shot and killed a man and woman in Saskatoon.
Police in the city have arrested a man with an assault rifle, who they say had been spotted in Thunder Bay before the killings.
He was later charged with attempted murder.
After the two murders, in March 2017, a group of people in the Thunder Bay area were targeted by a man claiming to be a hunter who had shot the deer.
He claimed to be the leader of the local ranches, and they set off a chase with guns blazing through Thunder Bay.
They caught up with a man in a white pickup truck, and he was shot several times.
One of the men who was shot, 26-year-old John Dejean, died later in hospital.
At the time, police said the group had set off an elaborate series of carjackings, robberies and shootings in the area.
Three months later, a woman who was also a hunter was shot twice in the shoulder while driving on the highway in Thunder.
Investigators have said they have identified all of the people involved in the shootings, and the RCMP said they are currently trying to identify the men responsible.
Meanwhile, the Thunder Lake incident has reignited a long-running debate about the legality of hunting with a weapon in Canada.
The National Firearms Association of Canada says there is no such thing as a legal licence to hunt in Canada under current regulations.
There are currently more than 60,000 licensed hunters in Canada who can legally hunt in designated areas.
But some ranches argue they are being unfairly targeted by hunters who don’t have a valid licence.
Many people in Thunder, Sask., have questioned the legitimacy of ranches in Canada and the role hunters have in the food chain.
(CBC News) “I can’t believe that someone could do something like that, even with a licence, which is a legal gun in Canada,” said Jeff Brown, a local rancher who said he has been the victim of several gun-related crimes.
“There’s no justification for it, really.
And it’s not right.
I can’t imagine a scenario where a gun would have been used that way.”
According to the Canadian Firearms Association, more than 50 per cent of the country’s hunters have a licence to kill game in Canada – but it is unclear how many licences are issued.
A spokesman for the association said it was not possible to say how many hunters in the country are licensed to hunt legally in Canada due to a lack of information.
“The information is very, very limited and we can’t say for sure, but we know that approximately one in three people in this country have a hunting licence, and that number is increasing,” Chris Hoehn, a spokesperson for the NRA of Canada, said.
“This does raise some concerns about the integrity of the game hunt in this province.”‘
We need more gun control’ In addition to concerns about how law-abiding hunters are being targeted, the situation has prompted some people in Alberta and Saskatchewan to speak out about the issue.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has called on the federal government to introduce legislation that would give hunters a right to defend themselves.
Hoehn said it would be good for hunters to know what is legal and what is not.
He said that while it is true that hunters have the right to protect themselves, he thinks it would help to have more information about the hunting environment in Canada so people can make informed decisions.
“We need to know where we are coming from,” he said.
But he also said that a licence should not be seen as the end-all, be-all.
“There is no way that we’re going to change laws that allow this,” Hoehm said.
“You can’t change laws through a licence.”