Alberta
Not reading the regulations costs hunter lengthy suspension
    On the evening of October 28, 2013, an eyewitness called the Report a Poacher hotline to report a violation in progress involving a hunt in closed season activity west of Cold Lake, Alberta. The witness was able to obtain a vehicle licence plate and forwarded on all information to the officer. With the very detailed description of the truck and the licence plate information, the fish and wildlife officer
was able to track down and talk to the accused.

    A statement from the accused was taken and the accused accepted responsibility for what took place. The accused had entered onto privately owned land without permission to obtain the deer. The accused stated the deer was shot from the roadway into a field where a residence was located, half a mile to the north. The accused admitted to the officer that he did not have an understanding of the hunting regulations nor did the accused know about the residence in the background prior to the shot being taken. Once the statement was concluded, the accused and officer went back to the residence to seize all white-tailed deer meat and antlers from
the incident.

    Further investigation into the hunter revealed that the accused did not meet the first time hunter requirements in order to hold a valid hunting licence in the province of Alberta. The officer conducted a follow-up with the landowner in regards to the investigation. With the landowner's statement, the officer was able to proceed with thecharge of hunting on occupied land.

On February 12, 2014, a Bonnyville district area man appeared in Cold Lake Provincial Court to enter a guilty plea for all charges related to the hunting violations.
  • Hunting during a closed season - $1,000 fine and a 12-month recreational hunting licence suspension
  • Hunting on occupied land - $172 fine and an additional 12-month recreational hunting licence suspension
  • Ineligible person obtain andhold licence - withdrawn

Manitoba
Operation Pickerel-Sasser
    In October 2012, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship became aware of an individual illegally selling fish in the Netley area near Stony Mountain, Manitoba. The SIU initiated “Operation Pickerel-Sasser” to deal
with the legality of the fish sales.

    Between October 2012 and December 2013, the undercover agent purchased approximately 50 pounds of walleye on two separate occasions from the subject. The subject explained that he was getting the walleye from First Nations people and selling the walleye for $5 per pound. The subject explained that he knew it was illegal for him to sell the walleye and that he had been doing so for five years.

    The sale of commercially caught freshwater fish is regulated by the Manitoba Fisheries Act. Commercial fishers can sell their catch, which is regulatedby licence and a quota system to ensure no overharvest, to the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation (FFMC) or to final consumers. Individuals can also apply to the FFMC for a Special Dealer's Licence which allows the sale of fish within Manitoba under certain conditions. Both of these avenues require individuals to track sales (and in the case of final consumers, issue receipts) to ensure the fish are being harvested legally and removed from the quota system.

    On June 26, 2014, in Winnipeg Provincial Court, the subject pled guilty to Section 9(a) of the Manitoba Fisheries Act for selling fish to other than the corporation. He was fined $1,200 and the second count was stayed by the Crown.

    Without a conduit, as supplied by the subject and other similar venues, illegal fish sales would decrease dramatically. Illegal fish sales are not tracked and therefore do not come off of a lake quota. Over time, this trend makes it difficult for Conservation and Water Stewardship staff to set realistic harvest amounts and results in overharvest.




Saskatchewan
No licence and a walleye overlimit on Rafferty Reservoir
    Weyburn conservation officers were patrolling Rafferty Reservoir when they noticed a group of anglers fishing about 100 metres away from any other anglers. Rafferty Reservoir is a reduced-limit lake due to the sensitivity of the fish resource. The officer observed
the trio and determined that they were all fishing. Officers observed for an hour or so and observed them catch and retain fish as well as drinking beer along the shore. The officer moved to the side of the lake where the trio was fishing and noticed them holding up and
showing other anglers their stringer with fish on it.

    When they left, they were stopped by the officer as part of a compliance check which revealed that two of the three subjects did not have a licence. One of the subjects found to be angling without a licence admitted to being in possession of five of the eight walleye on the stringer. He was charged with angling without a licence and was issued a fine of $530. In addition to the fine, the five walleye in his possession, and the fishing rod that he was using, was forfeited to the crown. The second subject involved was also charged with angling without a licence and was given a fine of $130.




Manitoba
Illegal poaching and wastage of white-tailed deer
    In November 2013, near Ste. Amelie, Manitoba, a farmer was approached by a hunter asking if he had seen ravens in the area as he was trying to find a deer he had shot the evening before. The hunter indicated that he did have permission to hunt on the property and was going to retrieve the deer. After the hunter left, the farmer visited the area and found that the deer head had been cut off and the carcass left. The farmer later found out from his cousin, who owned the property upon which the deer had been shot, that the hunter did not have permission to hunt on that land.

    It is an offense under the Wildlife Act to abandon, waste, or spoil any edible portion of a game bird or a big game animal.

    The farmer reported the incident to the Dauphin Conservation Office and an investigation was started. The suspect was located and the officers located two fresh white-tailed deer heads with antlers in his garage. DNA samples were taken from the kill area and from the deer heads found in the garage. DNA testing through Trent University labs confirmed a match between one of the deer heads and the blood samples at the kill site.

    On July 8, 2014, in Dauphin Provincial Court, the hunter pled guilty to two counts under the Manitoba Wildlife Act for unlawful possession and waste of game and was fined $1,297. Charges of hunting on private land without permission were stayed and the deer head was forfeited to the Crown.




British Columbia
Honesty is the best policy
    In March 2014, a man from 150 Mile House, BC, was sentenced to a fine of $1,500 for obstructing a conservation officer under the Wildlife Act.

    The Burns Lake court heard that in the fall of 2013, conservation officers located bullet fragments in the shoulder of a moose killed during the archery season. For 30 minutes during the compliance check, the hunting party refused to admit any wrong-doing. After all of the subjects were separated, the group confessed to wounding a bull moose with a crossbow then shooting it three times with a 12 gauge shotgun. After changing their story several times, the group finally explained the wounded moose had attacked them and they had shot it in self defense. One of the hunters, from Williams Lake, BC, confessed to firing the shotgun, pleaded guilty on a violation ticket, and was fined $345 for unlawful possession and failing to report the killing of wildlife for protection.

    The 150 Mile House man was issued an appearance notice and the case went to trial. In his own defense, the subject presented
a video of himself striking the moose in the flank with a single arrow. At the conclusion of the one-day trial, the provincial court judge handed down a guilty verdict on the obstruction charge as it was determined that the accusedhad lied several times and delayed the officers from carrying on with other hunter compliance checks. The matter would have been resolved quickly if the truth had been told from the beginning.

    On June 24, 2014, a disposition hearing was held to determine if the subject was entitled to ownership of the trophy moose antlers. The judge ruled that the subject was not able to convince the court on a balance of probabilities that his single arrow wound to the flank had actually killed the moose. All ownership in British Columbia wildlife is vested in the crown unless lawfully harvested, therefore the moose antlers were forfeited to thecrown and the meat was donated to charity.





North West Territories

Charges for transporting timber without a permit
    On September 9, 2012, a renewable resource officer with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) was conducting a patrol of Highway 3, south of Yellowknife, NT. The officer was checking wood cutters as well as conducting vehicle stops to inspect people transporting timber.

    During one stop, the officer pulled over a red Ford F-350 with a matching red canopy at Kilometre 188 on Highway 3. The truck was pulling a trailer full of eight-foot logs.

    The officer walked up to the driver's side window and asked for the driver's Free Timber Cutting Permit. The driver responded by saying that he was a First Nations person and did not need one. He then went on to say that he found the wood in the bush, but soon
changed his story to say that he had bought the wood from a man in Fort Providence, NT. He was unable to provide the seller's name and none of the stories lined up.

    The situation became a little violent and after identifying the suspect, the officer decided the best course of action was to disengage and return to the patrol truck. Before the suspect left, the officer was able to take pictures of truck, trailer, and wood.

    Once back at the office, a search of ENR'S database revealed that a Free Timber Cutting Permit was not issued to the suspect.

    On September 22, 2012, officers served the accused with a summary offence ticket information for transporting wood without a permit. The accused advised that he would not be paying the fine and that he intended to take the matter to trial. The ticket was not paid
and the accused appeared in court. During the accused's second appearance on this matter, he advised the Court that he was in the process of retaining legal counsel to represent his interests. At that time, a trial was set for October. In October, 2013, the officer received confirmation from the courthouse that the accused had paid his fine of $230.




Saskatchewan

Wasted deer results in charges
    Estevan conservation officers received a TIP call about a FALL 2014 WCGW white-tailed deer that was found west of headquarters. An officer attended and found the remains of one white-tailed deer left out in the field. The officer noticed that no meat had been removed from the front shoulders of the adult deer. Officers examined the scene and collected evidence from the dump site. The hide seal which had been attached to the hide, was left at the scene, and was a key piece of evidence.

    Officers conducted a query on the licence and eventually located the person to whom the licence had been sold. The officer asked the subject to meet him at the violation location and questioned him about the incident. At that time, the subject advised the officer that he had dumped the deer in the field in hopes that the coyotes would eat it up and that he had made no attempts to remove any of the edible meat from the two front shoulders. The subject was issued a ticket for leaving edible game in the field, which carried with it a fine of $980. In addition to the fine, the subject was given a one-year recreational hunting licence suspension.





Manitoba
Men charged for unlawfully hunting white-tailed deer
    On November 17, 2012, natural resource officers were on patrol near Tolstoi, Manitoba, during deer hunting season, when they observed two pickup trucks with occupants wearing hunter orange clothing.

    The trucks were pulled over and a severed, antlered whitetailed deer head was discovered within the box and the box lining was covered in blood and deer hair. The antlers of the deer head had a game tag attached to them. Several firearms, a spotlight, various boxes of ammunition, and numerous spent rifle cartridges were found in the vehicle.

    The two males - only one of whom was in possession of valid hunting licence - claimed they were hunting that morning with a couple of other men from the area and that one of those men was the licence holder who had shot the deer. When asked if the men had had permission to hunt on the property, the two males revealed they weren't listed on the permission slip and then changed their story, stating one of them had actually shot the deer for the licence holder.

    After further questioning, the male without a hunting licence admitted that he had shot the deer that morning and that the licence holder was not, in fact, present at the time.

    The Wildlife Act states no person shall hunt, trap, take, kill, or capture, or attempt to trap, take, kill, or capture a wild animal unless the person does so under the authority of a licence. It is also illegal under the Wildlife Act to possess a licence issued to another person
and exercise any rights or privileges granted under the licence. Three firearms were then seized, as well as the deer head, to which the subject's game tag was attached.

    Subsequent investigation at a local Hutterite colony revealed that four hunting licences were illegally obtained by members who did not have the hunter safety course which is required to purchase a licence. These licences had been given to the two male hunters to supply deer meat to the colony.

    Three deer carcasses were subsequently seized, including one which belonged to the severed head seized from the two male hunters.

    In provincial court on July one subject pled out to two charges under the Wildlife Act and was fined a total of $750. The Hutterite colony had pled out earlier to charges under the Wildlife Act for a total fine of $1,200. All wildlife seized during the investigation was forfeited to the crown and donated to people in need.

    As a result of the two convictions, and in addition to a third conviction under the Wildlife Act from 2007, the male hunter's Hunter Education Certificate will be suspended and he will have to complete the course again prior to obtaining a hunting licence.




Saskatchewan
Abandoned ice shack results in large fines
    Blackstrap Lake is used by a wide variety of recreational users, namely fisherman, boaters, campers, hikers, birdwatchers, and hunters. It is located about 25 miles south of Saskatoon. One of the more common complaints conservation officers receive about this
lake is the amount of garbage that people leave behind. In addition, floating debris such as an abandoned ice shack, can result in dangers to boaters and water skiers in the summer, or it will float up on shore in front of the lakefront cottage owners.

    On March 24, 2014, conservation officers found an abandoned ice fishing shelter on Blackstrap Lake. All ice shelters must be removed by March 15 of each year. This ice shelter was larger than many - 14 feet long by 8 feet wide and 8 feet high. This ice shack was partially frozen in the lake. All ice shacks are to be clearly marked with the owner's name, address, and telephone number. This ice shack originally had the name, address, and phone number on it, but when the officers attended the shelter on March 24, the information was scraped off. There was a considerable amount of garbage left inside the ice shack consisting of beer cans, cigarette packages, plastic, and wood debris. Through the debris and garbage left inside the ice shack, a suspect was eventually identified.

    Conservation officers interviewed the accused. The accused stated he thought his shack was too frozen to be removed, so he used his chainsaw in an effort to remove his name, address, and phone number off the side of the shack, making it impossible to locate the owner. He then left the ice shack and the rest of his garbage to fall through the ice when it melted. Three conservations officers spent approximately five hours removing the ice shack and all of the garbage.

    The accused was charged with leaving an unmarked ice fishing shelter on ice-covered waters contrary to Section 23(1) of the Saskatchewan Fisheries Regulations, and for abandoning a manufactured article into or upon water contrary to Section 3(1) of the Litter Control Act.

    The accused appeared in court, pled guilty to both counts, and received a fine of $1,400 for each count, totaling $2,800. The ice fishing shelter was forfeited to the crown.




British Columbia
Dangerous operation of an ATV
    On April 24, 2014, a Fort St. James man entered a guilty plea in a Prince George courtroom to charges of obstruction and dangerous driving under the Criminal Code of Canada. The case originated in the spring of 2013 on a remote logging road west of Fort St. James, BC.

    Local conservation officers had an all-terrain vehicle driver accelerate through their check stop while conducting compliance checks on the May 2013 long weekend. The all-terrain vehicle sped off down a deactivated logging road but officers were forced to terminate any pursuit for reasons of public safety.

    A short time later, the conservation officers tracked the ATV to a dead-end road located near Ogden Lake. Upon locating the ATV, the driver accelerated towards officers once more. The driver was physically pulled off the ATV by officers and arrested. The Fort St. James man was sentenced to a fine of $2,500 and six months' probation.




Saskatchewan
Multiple charges stemming from shooting and leaving a deer
    On November 17, 2012, conservation officers from Nipawin received a TIP call regarding a shot and left deer in a ravine north east of Nipawin. Officers attended and examined the scene and were able to collect some evidence including an either sex white-tailed deer
antler seal located at the top of the ravine. Officers requested a licence search to determine the owner of the seal.

    The next day, officers were patrolling west of Nipawin when they encountered three individuals hunting on posted land. Once the investigation was complete, one individual was charged.

    Officers then received information about the hunting seal found at the top of the ravine where the deer had been shot and left. The officers realized that the person who they had charged the day before was the same one who belonged to the found seal. Officers also remembered that the accused had come into the Nipawin office the day before the deer was found to get a duplicate licence as he said that he had lost his original licence.

    Officers felt it was appropriate to have further discussions with this individual and met with him to obtain more information on the deer that had been shot and left. The subject did eventually admit to officers that he shot the first deer and that he had lied on his statutory declaration when he obtained a duplicate licence. The subject was charged with four counts under the Saskatchewan Wildlife
Act and Regulations. The subject pled not guilty and a trial was held on April 21, 2014, where he was found guilty of all four offences including:
  • Allowing the edible flesh of a big game animal to be wasted contrary to Section 22 of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Regulations
  • Providing false or misleading information to the department contrary to Section 64(a) of the Wildlife Act
  • Unlawfully purchasing more than one big game licence; to wit first white-tailed deer licence contrary to Section 38(1) of the Wildlife
  • Regulations
  • Hunting wildlife within Saskatchewan without a licence contrary to Section 25(1) of the Wildlife Act

He was given fines totaling $2,750 and a one-year recreational hunting suspension.



Saskatchewan
Failing to record harvest results in fines
    In October 2013, while travelling on Highway 32 between Portreeve and Lemsford, Saskatchewan, a conservation officer from Leader came across a group of three upland bird hunters parked on the highway. As the officer drove up behind the hunter's vehicle, one of the hunters and his dog came walking up from a slough but had no shotgun in his hands.

    After identifying himself, the officer asked to check their licences, firearms, and any game they had with them. The compliance check revealed a loaded shotgun inside the vehicle. An inspection of their licences indicated that the group had been recording some of their harvest of upland game birds as per the regulations, but not all. In Saskatchewan, the harvest ledger is used to limit the amount of upland birds that Canadian residents and nonresidents of Canada are allowed to harvest in a particular year.

    The hunters and the conservation officer returned to the hunter's motel rooms in Swift Current. The officer was joined by another officer from Swift Current and a search was conducted of the hunter's rooms. The search and additional investigation revealed that the hunters were in possession of 12 Hungarian partridge that they had not recorded on their harvest ledgers.

    One of the hunters admitted to the loaded firearm in a vehicle and to not recording the 12 partridge on his harvest ledger. He was charged with having a loaded firearm in a vehicle and for failing to immediately record their harvest contrary to the Wildlife Regulations. The hunter was fined $1,370 and was given a one-year recreational hunting licence suspension. The unrecorded Hungarian Partridge were forfeited to the crown.


British Columbia
108 Mile House resident charged for shooting neighborhood deer
    In October 2013, 100 Mile House COs received a complaint of an injured deer in a residential backyard in the community of 108 Mile Ranch. This location is home to several local residential deer. When officers arrived and initiated the investigation, officers observed a large gaping wound on the neck of a dying two-point deer in a backyard. Officers followed a long blood trail that ran approximately 400 metres and originated in a vacant lot next to a residence. The deer was dispatched and an investigation of the wound channel clearly showed a sharp, arrowlike wound going straight through the deer on a downward angle through the neck but missing the vitals.

    Conservation officers quickly began a neighbourhood canvass to determine any potential suspects in the area and the investigation led to the residence immediately adjacent to the vacant lot where the blood trail originated. This resident admitted to having a crossbow in his garage, and that he was planning on going hunting, but he denied shooting at any deer in his yard. Officers determined from the physical evidence that there was no other possible location from where the deer could have been shot other than
the suspect residence. Officers interviewed the suspect again and he eventually confessed to shooting the deer with his crossbow from the deck of his backyard.

    The suspect was charged for hunting out of season and providing false information to a conservation officer. The subject paid voluntary fines of $700.



Saskatchewan
Facebook moose hunting results in charges
    In November 2013, conservation officers received an anonymous TIP with regards to a video posted on Facebook involving a possible violation. When officers investigated the video they observed two moose being shot on the side of the road from the cab of a vehicle. Officers from the Buffalo Narrows Field Office determined that the video posted on Facebook had originated in Dillon, Saskatchewan. Conservation officers interviewed a potential suspect from Dillon who admitted to shooting the two moose from the cab of a truck and in a road corridor game preserve.

    The suspect pled guilty to unlawfully discharging a firearm from a vehicle contrary to Section 40(b) of the Wildlife Act and hunting wildlife in a road corridor game preserve contrary to Section 5(1)(a) of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Regulations. A small amount of
moose meat was seized and forfeited to the Crown. A total fine in the amount of $2,350 was imposed by the courts.



Saskatchewan
Hunting on private land results in fines
    On November 17, 2012, the Watrous RCMP detachment received a complaint that three individuals had shot a moose adjacent to land that was 14 miles southwest of Watrous, Saskatchewan. Two RCMP officers responded and found the three accused field-dressing two bull moose. The accused did not have landowner permission and said they were hunting under their treaty rights. The RCMP contacted the renter of the land upon which the hunters were dressing out the moose, who said that he did not want to proceed with charges. The accused's information was recorded and they were allowed to leave with the two moose.

    A conservation officer met the complainant on the following morning and determined that the two moose were, in fact, shot on the complainant's land. One of the moose walked, while wounded, to the adjacent land and the other moose was dragged there with a vehicle. Ten spent rifle casings were found on the road, including five 7 mm Rem Mag and five 300 Weatherby Mags. Witnesses who were in the area at the time of the offence told officers that they had heard in excess of 25 shots.

    Investigation revealed that the moose were shot at a distance of 300 - 350 yards. Evidence, including DNA samples, were collected and photos were taken of the scene. Both fields were in canola stubble. Neither field was posted with signs and the draw moose season had closed on November 17, 2012. The complainant advised the officer that he wanted to proceed with charges. The RCMP
provided conservation officers with descriptions and identification of the three men involved in the shooting of the moose.

    On April 17, 2014 at Watrous Provincial Court, a suspect accepted responsibility for the two moose and pled guilty. He was given a fine of $3,080.




Saskatchewan
TIP call results in charges against moose poachers
    On January 21, 2014, at approximately 4:00 pm, conservation officers in the Saskatoon office received a call from the Turn in Poachers hotline. A concerned citizen in the area near the river east of Blaine Lake called in to advise that he suspected some illegal
hunting activities were currently ongoing in the area. The complainant advised officers that he heard several rifle shots, and could also hear snowmobiles driving around in the area where the shots were coming from.

    Conservation officers have received several complaints in the same general area over the past couple of years in regards to illegal hunting. Conservation officers made their way to the area and, upon arrival, found the accused's truck and empty snowmobile trailer. A short while later, the accused, one other adult, and two children returned close to their vehicle via snowmobile and pulling two
sleighs. The snowmobiles took off to the east about a half mile, seemingly to avoid contact with the conservation officers. Conservation
officers travelled along a roadway and located the snowmobiles and engaged emergency lights. The accused eventually came over to the patrol truck on his snowmobile. The second snowmobile would not come over, so an officer walked out into the field and directed
them over to the truck.

    Once back at the vehicle, the accused identified himself and told officers that he did not have a licence, nor did he have permission to hunt on the private land upon which the animals had been harvested. A white-tailed deer buck and a coyote were seized as evidence. In addition to the wildlife, one of the black plastic sleighs and two rifles that were used in the commission of the offence were
also seized.

    The accused was asked several times if there were any other animals that had been shot and were still out in a field somewhere. The accused would not admit that there had been any other animals shot. Conservation officers returned the following day with snowmobiles and followed the accused's tracks through several fields in the area. Conservation officers were able to locate evidence of two moose kills during the patrol, as well as the location where the deer had been shot. At one of the moose locations, the accused had left behind one half of one of the moose – both hind quarters. Evidence was collected at the scene of the violations.

    Further investigation revealed that the accused had shot the white-tailed deer and the coyote. The accused also admitted that he was present and allowed his 12-year old daughter to shoot the two moose under his direction and supervision. The accused admitted
that he had allowed the half of a moose to go to waste and never went back to retrieve it as his snowmobile had broken down and he also knew that conservation officers were going to go and look for it.

    The accused was charged accordingly with 10 counts under the Wildlife Act and Regulations for the violations that occurred. These violations included:
  • Unlawful hunting
  • Waste of game
  • Hunting on posted land
  • Aid and abet
  • Unlawful possession
  • Unlawfully hunt coyotes
Total fines issued for these offences totaled $5,180. The rifles were eventually returned to the accused along with the toboggan. All of the unlawfully harvested animals were forfeited to the crown and the accused was given a two year recreational hunting suspension.




Alberta
An expensive turkey dinner
    On October 19, 2013, Blairmore fish and wildlife staff received a Report A Poacher call regarding two people hunting wild turkeys. In Alberta, the turkey season is only open in the spring and then under a very limited special draw. A wildlife officer responded and stopped a truck leaving the area. The truck was occupied by two adult males. When the officer questioned the individuals, they both denied being in possession of any wildlife.

    The officer searched the vehicle and found one dead wild turkey in the back of the truck. The officer confronted the individuals about this and one admitted to accidentally killing the bird with a rock. This story did not fit well with the evidence at the scene. Officers learned that the subject picked up some beer, a .22 calibre rifle, and went for a drive looking for something to shoot. A flock of turkeys was found and pursued into the forest by the men. While this was happening, a member of the public watched as they took turns firing into the flock with the semi-automatic firearm before killing at least one bird. The firearm was then smashed and left in the forest by its owner, as he was frustrated at its inaccuracy. The firearm was later recovered by the accused and given to the officer.

    Both men were charged with hunting during a closed season. The male who shot the turkey was fined $1,500. The other male was fined $500. Both men received a one-year recreational hunting suspension. The turkey and the firearm were forfeited to the crown,
spoiling their attempt at a turkey dinner.



Saskatchewan
Deer head found in back yard results in charges
    In January 2014, conservation officers in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan received information from the Shaunavon RCMP that an individual from Shaunavon was possibly in illegal possession of a deer. An RCMP member and the two conservation officers attended
the residence of the suspect. A quick search of the yard revealed an adult mule deer head lying in open view in the subject's yard. At this time, the subject stated that he had found the deer dead and had recovered the head but did not know what he was going to do with it. He denied shooting the deer.

    The Shaunavon officers began a lengthy process of interviewing other potential witnesses and suspects. The investigation eventually revealed that the suspect, along with two other individuals, had been involved in the killing of this deer in mid-December,
2013. The mule deer season had closed on November 14, 2013, and none of the individuals involved had a valid mule deer licence. Additional investigation revealed that only the head had been removed from the deer and the rest of the carcass with edible meat was allowed to waste.

    The first subject who denied shooting the deer was charged with unlawful possession of wildlife contrary to the Wildlife Act and waste of game contrary to the Saskatchewan Wildlife Regulations. He was fined $2,380 and given a one-year recreational hunting suspension. The second subject involved was charged with unlawful hunting contrary to the Wildlife Act and waste of game
contrary to the Wildlife Regulations. He was fined $2,380 and given a one-year recreational hunting suspension.




Alberta
A picture costs $800
    Rocky Mountain House Fish and Wildlife received a complaint from a concerned member of the public who had witnessed two individuals catch and keep approximately 10 brown trout from the North Raven River. The North Raven River is a catch and release fishery with a zero possession limit. The witness took pictures of the suspects who were then identified by the investigating fish and wildlife officer. The suspects were eventually located and questioned. The suspects told the investigating officer that they were unaware of the fishing regulations for the North Raven River. They were both charged under Section 16 of the Alberta Fishery Regulations for catching and retaining more fish than permitted.

    On December 18, 2013, both individuals entered guilty pleas in Rocky Mountain House Provincial Court and received a fine of $800.




Saskatchewan
Northern pike overlimit on Dore Lake
    On June 7, 2014, officers were conducting a compliance check at the filleting shack on Dore Lake. Officers took note of one individual and determined that he had 18 northern pike in his possession.

    When questioned about the obvious overlimit, the subject said that he and a partner caught the fish last evening and then again that morning, prior to the compliance check.

    While officers were in the process of concluding the investigation with the appropriate paperwork for the offence, the accused and another male, who was his supposed fishing partner, approached the officer's truck and advised the officers that the accused had
given the officers false information.

    Officers learned that the accused was staying at a local outfitting lodge and had caught all the fish himself. Officers also learned that the subject had more fish stored in the freezer in the lodge. After officers inspected the lodge, they found that the accused was in possession of an additional 13 northern pike.

    The accused gave officers another statement taking full responsibility for all the fish. Once all the fish were collected and counted, officers determined that the subject was in possession of 31 northern pike. The subject had 31 pike in his possession - 26 pike over the limit.

    The accused had a valid Canadian resident angling licence and was fined $2,100. Twenty-six northern pike were forfeited to the crown and the subject was given a five-year recreational angling suspension in Saskatchewan.




Alberta
Large fine for undersized pike
    On September 12, 2013, a call was received on the Report-APoacher line. The caller stated that he was at Jackfish Lake and observed two individuals fishing from shore north of the boat launch. The caller indicated that one of the subjects was male and the other was female. The caller and his family observed the pair catch four or five fish and place them in a black net. The net was then
stashed the weeds to hide them.

    When the fish and wildlife officer arrived at Jackfish Lake it was after dark. The officer located the two suspects and carried out a compliance check. The officer was not able to find the black net but did manage to locate some fresh walleye in a white plastic bag. These fish were found in the bush covered by grass, directly behind the suspects, approximately 10 feet away.

    Both subjects initially told the officer that they did not catch any fish. They then changed their story and told the officer that they had caught and released one northern pike which was too small to keep. When confronted with the fresh walleye in the bag, they denied any knowledge of the walleye but told the officer they had a pike in their vehicle.

    The male subject led the officer to their vehicle and removed a white bag from a cooler in the back seat. The bag was the same type of bag in which the walleye was found. The officer dumped the contents of the bag out and found a small northern pike. The officer
measured the fish and determined that it was 60 cm, under the required size limit of 63 cm. The female claimed that she had caught the fish.

    On October 24, 2013, in Stony Plain Provincial Court, the female subject from Edmonton entered a guilty plea for keeping a protected size northern pike from Jackfish Lake. She received a $1,500 fine and a one-year licence suspension as part of a joint submission with the Crown. The charge against her partner was withdrawn as part of the plea agreement.



Alberta
They did just about everything wrong
    On November 26, 2013, Barrhead fish and wildlife officers received a call from the Provincial Radio Control Centre shortly before 8:00 am. The complainant reported being awoken by two gunshots at 7:35 am. Legal time to begin hunting on this date was 7:50 a.m.
The caller stated that after being awoken, she got into her vehicle and drove a few hundred metres down the road, where she confronted three hunters loading a white-tailed deer into the back of a pick-up truck. Drag marks and blood stains in the snow indicated that the deer had been harvested on a neighbour's land.

    The caller was aware that the neighbour did not allow hunting on his land. When the caller questioned whether or not the hunters had obtained permission to hunt on the land, they apologized and got back into their vehicle. Before departing, the caller observed that the deer was not tagged. The caller then proceeded to wipe snow from the vehicle's bumper and recorded the vehicle's licence plate.

    Officers met the complainant at the location of the incident soon after receiving the report. The fresh snow provided a fairly good indication of the events that took place earlier that morning. Vehicle tracks in the snow showed where a vehicle had turned around and
stopped. A single set of footprints appeared to lead directly from this location to the location where the animal died, with no obvious interruption or alteration in gait or pace.

    Officers photographed the scene, documented locations with GPS and sketches, and collected hair and blood samples. They then scanned the area with a metal detector. No shell casings were found between the roadway and the location where the deer died. Also, there was no evidence of a spent shell casing falling through the unbroken layer of snow.

    After taking a statement from the complainant, officers determined the identity of the registered owner of the vehicle and attended his residence. The vehicle belonged to a Barrhead area man, who was acting as hunter host for two hunters from British Columbia. Officers separated the three hunters and questioned them individually. At first the reports were conflicting
and contradictory. Officers eventually obtained confessions from all three hunters, and identified one hunter who had shot the white-tailed deer before daylight hours. In addition, they admitted that the deer was shot on occupied land without permission, shot from inside the vehicle, and was not immediately tagged.

    Additional investigation revealed that a BC hunter had harvested a large white-tailed buck on the previous day. Officers learned that this deer was also harvested on occupied land without permission. As a result, both deer and firearms were seized as part of the investigation. On January 23, 2014, all three hunters attended Stony Plain Provincial Court to answer to the charges. All three hunters pled guilty to all charges.

    The hunter host and the hunter who shot from inside the vehicle were charged with the following:
  • Unlawful possession of wildlife: white-tailed deer. (2 counts) - $1,500 on each count, plus a 1-year hunting licence suspension
  • Hunt on occupied land without authorization (2 counts) - $172, plus a 1-year hunting licence suspension on each count
  • Discharge a firearm at night - $1,000, plus a 1-year hunting licence suspension
  • Discharge a weapon from a vehicle - $172, plus a 1-year hunting licence suspension
  • Fail to immediately affix a tag in a prescribed manner - $1,000

    The hunter who shot his deer on the previous day received the following:
  • Unlawful possession of wildlife: white-tailed deer. (2 counts) -$1,500 on each count, plus a 1-year hunting licence suspension
  • Hunt on occupied land without authorization (2 counts) - $172, plus a one year hunting licence suspension on each count
The total penalty for charges stemming from these events was $14,376, plus 13 years of hunting licence suspensions. The firearms
were returned to both hunters after the guilty pleas were entered. The complainant in this case received a reward of $800 from the Report a Poacher Program for the outstanding effort she put into aiding the apprehension of these offenders.




Alberta
    On August 25, 2013, a Barrhead District fish and wildlife officer was conducting a fisheries compliance patrol on Lac Ste. Anne. The officer observed three anglers fishing from the shoreline under a bridge. This location has a history of poaching offences, as it is close to the City of Edmonton and anglers can fish from shore. Due to fishing pressure, walleye in Lac Ste. Anne can only be harvested with a Special Walleye Licence and must be tagged immediately.

    As a result of the high frequency of fishing-related complaints at this location, the officer positioned himself in a discrete location and observed the anglers with a spotting scope. After a short while, the officer observed one angler catch a walleye fish and bring it to shore. Once the fish was on shore, the angler began looking around and removed the fish from the hook. While continually scanning his surroundings, the angler kicked the fish uphill away from the shoreline. He then picked up the fish, carried it to the top of the hill and deposited it in the tall grass at the edge of the bridge, within a metre of the roadway. He then returned to the shoreline and continued fishing. The officer assumed, and it was later confirmed, the anglers would have to drive past this location on their way back home.

    A second angler caught two more walleye, and placed them in the same location along the roadside as the first fish. When the officer observed the third angler walking towards the fish with a black plastic grocery bag, he drove to the location at which the anglers were parked.

    The anglers arrived at their vehicle just as the officer pulled in the parking area. While the anglers had several fishing rods and tackle boxes, they were not carrying any fish. The officer asked to see their fishing licences and asked how the fishing was. All three anglers denied catching any fish. The officer asked two anglers to stay by their vehicle and asked the third angler accompany him to the shoreline. The officer walked directly to the location at which he saw the anglers hiding the walleye in the grass. As he lifted the black plastic grocery bag, the angler exclaimed, “Those aren't my fish!”

    The officer brought the bag of fish back to the parking area and asked if anyone was going to claim responsibility for catching the fish. The anglers again denied catching any fish. As such, the officer seized the fish and all the fishing equipment, and charged all three anglers for unlawful possession of fish.

    On September 26, 2013, the anglers appeared in Stony Plain Provincial Court. One angler pled guilty, admitting that he had caught two of the walleye. He received a $2,000 fine, a two-year fishing licence suspension, and forfeiture of all fishing equipment. The other
two anglers pled not guilty.

    On December 5, 2013, a second angler pled not guilty and went to trial. He argued that he did not catch any fish, which was in fact the case. The prosecution argued that he was not charged with catching fish, but rather with unlawful possession of fish. The court found him guilty and he received a $3,000 fine, two-year fishing licence suspension and forfeiture of all fishing equipment.

    On March 27, 2014, the third angler appeared in Stony Plain Provincial Court. He admitted to catching one fish and pled guilty to
possession. He received a $1,000 fine, a two-year fishing licence suspension, and his fishing equipment was also forfeited to the
Crown.




Alberta
Grizzly mistakenly shot results in fines
    On March 10, 2014, two local Cardston district men appeared in Cardston Provincial Court facing three counts under the Wildlife Act
for illegally killing a grizzly bear. Upon their first appearance, the two men each pled guilty to one count of hunting during the closed season and received fines of $4,600 each and five-year recreational hunting suspensions. The crown submitted a judicial order, in which the judge ordered that the $9,200 be directed to the Alberta BearSmart Program.

    The court heard that on November 5, 2013, a Cardston fish and wildlife officer received a visit from one of the accused who self-reported the offence. Shortly after, the second man voluntarily came forward to admit to his part to the illegal killing of the grizzly bear. During separate interviews, both men admitted that on the morning of November 4, 2013, they both shot and killed a grizzly bear while out hunting for deer and black bear south west of Cardston, Alberta.

    The men admitted that they believed the bear was a black bear when they made the shot but realized after the fact, and upon closer
inspection, it was a grizzly bear. Once this discovery was made, the men panicked and decided to dump and hide the carcass in a field southwest of Fort Macleod, Alberta. On November 5, the officer was directed to the grizzly bear carcass where it was recovered. The grizzly bear carcass was forfeited upon the convictions.



Saskatchewan
Special investigation ends unlawful fish laundering
    In September of 2012 Ministry of Environment investigators became aware through intelligence supplied by local officers that a Buffalo Narrows area man was trafficking in fish. The two species that he was trafficking in mainly was walleye and northern pike. Over the course of nine months covert officers made numerous contacts with the accused. The accused and his son held commercial fishing licences and initially fish purchased from them was taken under the authority of their commercial fishing licences. All purchases made in this regard were not reported to the Ministry and were not included in the lake count quota.

    After the commercial fishing season ended, the accused continued to supply fish to officers. These fish were taken under the
subjects subsistence rights as a First Nations person.

    On several occasions, the accused discussed with covert officers the fines and consequences of trafficking in fish. During the course of the investigation, investigators were approached by the owners of a Saskatoon restaurant wanting to purchase walleye. The owners of the restaurant knowingly purchased illegally-taken walleye from the covert officer. No evidence was found that the individuals were using this fish in their restaurant and requested that all sales be made away from the restaurant business.

    On May 7th, 2014, the accused pled guilty in Buffalo Narrows Provincial Court to four counts under the Saskatchewan Fisheries Act and Regulations.
  • Count 1 – Section 13 Saskatchewan Fisheries Act  $12,000 + $4,800 surcharge.
  • Count 2 – Section 68 (1)(b) Saskatchewan Fisheries Regulations - $500 + $80 surcharge.
  • Count 3 – Section 84 Saskatchewan Fisheries Regulations - $1,000 + $400 surcharge.
  • Count 4 – Section 38 Saskatchewan Fisheries Regulations - $500 + $80 surcharge.
    In addition, the accused was placed on probation for a period of two years with additional conditions being that he cannot commercial fish or assist another commercial fisherman, and that he must contact Saskatchewan conservation officers within 24 hours of placing or pulling any sustenance nets.

    The two owners of the restaurant in Saskatoon were fined a total of $2,800 for unlawfully purchasing fish taken unlawfully contrary to
Section 91(1)(b) of the Saskatchewan Fisheries Regulations.





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