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Manitoba

UNLAWFUL FILLETS AT THE FORKS

In March 2016, two commercial fishermen from Fisher River, Manitoba pleaded guilty to illegally transporting fish fillets and received total fines exceeding $1,400.

On July 18, 2014, a conservation officer received a phone call from an informant. The information the officer received led him to believe that there would be a delivery of fish to Fergie’s Fish N Chips & Seafood Market restaurant at The Forks in Winnipeg later that day. A plan was put in place and Manitoba conservation officers, plus one Canadian Wildlife Service wildlife officer, set up in various locations throughout The Forks.

A black Ford F-150 pickup truck with two occupants was observed entering the parking area near the restaurant. The occupants got out and were recognized by officers. One was identified as Edna Govereau. Shortly after, a second black Ford F-150, driven by Shaun Govereau, arrived at the restaurant.

Officers watched as S. Govereau began unloading garbage bags, which were believed to be full of fish, from the back of his mother’s vehicle into a plastic container being held by one of the restaurant’s employees. The employee brought the can into the cooler within Fergie’s restaurant. S. Govereau appeared to prepare to unload more garbage bags of fish from the truck but then suddenly exited the truck’s box and began pushing the garbage bags back in. Some of the garbage bags tore and Ziploc bags of frozen fish fillets fell out. Officers moved in and made contact with both vehicles.

S. Govereau’s pickup truck contained several coolers with 219 one-pound packages of fish fillets inside. There were no fish transportation load slips accompanying the fish. The fish that had been brought inside the restaurant was removed, and, in addition to what remained in the back of E. Govereau’s truck, totalled 100 fivepound packages of fish fillets. There were no fish transportation load slips accompanying this fish either.

In total, 719 pounds of fish were seized, which was donated to various charitable groups such as Winnipeg Harvest and the Selkirk Food Bank.

S. Govereau pleaded guilty to transporting fish without a load slip and was assessed a $1,000 fine due to previous related offences. E. Govereau also pleaded guilty to transporting fish without a load slip and was assessed a fine of approximately $475.





Alberta
BOOZE-FILLED POACHING SPREE ENDS WITH CONVICTIONS

An investigation that will probably remain in the minds of fish and wildlife officers from Edson and Evansburg for a long time has finally come to an end with some significant penalties. The investigation started in 2013 when fish and wildlife officers began getting an unusual number of shot and left wildlife complaints. Over the course of a three-month period, a significant number of crime scenes were located and investigated.
  ● September 20, 2013 - Shot and left black bear cub, determined to be killed with a small calibre bullet
  ● October 7, 2013 - Shot and left antlered mule deer
  ● October 8, 2013 - Shot and left antlered moose
  ● October 14, 2013 - Shot and left spike bull elk
  ● October 26, 2013 - Two shot and left antlerless white-tailed deer, one antlered white-tailed deer, and a spike bull elk
  ● October 26, 2013 - A shot and left spike bull elk
  ● October 26, 2013 - Shot and left whitetailed doe  ● October 26, 2013 - Shot and left antlered moose
  ● October 27-28, 2013 - Five shot and left white-tailed deer
  ● October 30, 2013  - Shot and left calf moose
  ● November 1, 2013 - Shot and left antlerless white-tailed deer
  ● November 1, 2013 - Three shot and left antlerless white-tailed deer
  ● November 3, 2013 - Shot and left cow moose and two calves
  ● November 5, 2013 - Two dumped whitetailed bucks
  ● November 12, 2013 – Three shot and left mule deer



Officers examined the kill sites and developed a suspect profile and conclusions based on what they found.

1: Those involved were relatively close to the Town of Edson. Edson is a town of approximately 8,000 people and is primarily an oil and gas community surrounded by a vast amount of crown land. It is a hunter, trapper, and angler paradise where hunters can hunt almost every big game species in the province, including deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, black bear, cougar, and wolf. The surrounding rivers provide fishermen the opportunity to catch arctic grayling, Athabasca rainbow trout, and mountain whitefish.

2: There were often multiple animals found at any given crime scene.

3: A disturbing factor was that there was usually very little, if anything, taken from the animals that were shot.

4: Any gun shots were usually heard well after dark and in the early morning hours. This could mean that the poachers came out to hunt when they knew no one was around and when the wildlife was active. It was also possible that this activity occurred after the bar closed and when their conscience and sense of judgement may have been affected by alcohol.

5: Officers knew the suspects were shooting the animals from their vehicles or picking up the spent brass because no casings were found.

On November 15, 2013, a newspaper article requesting assistance from the public was distributed by local media outlets in Edson. Shortly after, Report A Poacher calls started coming with information about possible suspects. Through assistance from the public, officers were able to determine that there may be more than just a few people responsible for this
illegal activity. Edson fish and wildlife officers and the Major Investigations and Intelligence Unit began the significant undertaking of interviewing and interrogating over 20 potential suspects and close to the same number of witnesses.

The information obtained during the statements was compared to 21 wildlife crime scenes that were analyzed and investigated. Edson is surrounded by vast amounts of crown land and therefore, it is highly unlikely that many of the kill sites would have ever have been noticed by the public, or found by officers. During the investigation, six search warrants were executed. Evidence collected from those searches was submitted to the Alberta fish and wildlife enforcement branch forensic laboratory, the RCMP K division technological crime unit, and a private firearms forensic lab in Saskatchewan for ballistics. Once everything was analyzed and interviews were completed, officers felt they had a good handle on those responsible. Continued interviews and investigations resulted in responsibility being accepted by six different individuals. Originally, 12 people were charged with over 350 violations.

As a result of the interviews and interrogations, officers were able to put together the events as they happened. The people involved in these events eventually pleaded guilty.

Joint statement of facts as read in court:

A: In early September 2013, Colton Campbell, Derek Brown, and a female youth who cannot be identified were out hunting at night with a rifle from Derek Brown’s truck. Campbell, Derek Brown, and the youth were consuming alcohol in the vehicle. Campbell and Derek Brown were using a spotlight to search for wildlife from within the vehicle. Campbell and Derek Brown were taking turns holding a spotlight, and they shot three or four deer while seated inside the vehicle. At no time did they stop to see if they had killed anything. Later that night, while Derek Brown was holding the spotlight, Campbell sat on the passenger side window sill of the truck, leaned over the top of the roof, and shot a moose. Derek Brown then drove towards the moose, and Colton Campbell shot it once more from the same position. The moose was still injured but not dead. The youth asked if she could shoot the moose, which is when she exited the vehicle, walked up to the moose, and shot it in the head. Campbell, Derek Brown, and the youth then cut pieces off of the back of the moose, took that meat with them in the truck, and left the rest behind.



B: Between September 22 and October 1, 2013, Derek Brown was driving his truck with Campbell and one other individual as passengers. During the late evening, Derek Brown located a deer with the headlights of the truck. Campbell then held a spotlight on the deer while Derek Brown shot and killed it. Campbell and Derek Brown then loaded the deer into the truck and drove away.

C: Sometime during late September or early October 2013, Devon Dozorec, Derek Brown, and Campbell were in Campbell’s truck, hunting at about 11:00 p.m. Campbell was driving and spotted a coyote in the truck’s
headlights. Campbell got out of the truck and shot the coyote from the road. It dropped, and Campbell got back into the truck and drove away.

D: Sometime in September or October, 2013, Colton Campbell was driving his truck with Devon Dozorec and other passengers. Campbell and Dozorec were passing the light back and forth, searching for deer. At approximately midnight, a deer was spotted. Campbell stopped the truck, sat on the driver’s side window, leaned onto the roof, and shot a rifle at the deer. Officers learned that the shot was close to hitting Dozorec’s hand as he held the spotlight at the time the shot was fired. The deer ran off, and Campbell pursued it with the truck. They were not able to locate it, and they were unsure if it was killed or not.

E: Sometime in late September or October, 2013, Derek Brown was driving his truck at night with Tayler Brown and one other individual as passengers. The group was out hunting for wildlife. They approached two deer, and Derek Brown shot the first deer from the vehicle. He then turned the truck, and Derek Brown shot a second one. They then loaded up both deer and took them back to a barn where the deer were hung up.

F:  In the late evening of October 10, 2013, Campbell was driving his GMC truck with Dozorec, Derek Brown, and one other individual as passengers. Campbell had spotlights wired into the battery of his truck to enable night hunting. There was a keg of beer in the truck which had been more than half consumed that night by the group. They were also drinking rye. Campbell brought the spotlight up on two elk, and Derek Brown shot one of them with a rifle while he was sitting in the passenger window sill and resting the gun on the roof of the truck. The elk ran into the trees, and they were unsure if it was killed.The group eventually became tired of shooting wildlife, so they attempted to kill deer by hitting them with the truck. Colton Campbell stated that he wanted to “kill deer with his 1500 calibre,” referring to the truck. At least one deer was run over and killed by the truck while Campbell was driving. Later, while Campbell was chasing another deer through a field, he accidentally rolled the truck. Fortunately, there were no significant injuries despite the fact that the truck rolled multiple times. In an attempt to destroy evidence, Colton Campbell then lit the truck on fire. The truck was found entirely engulfed in flames in the early morning of October 11, 2013, by a nearby property owner.



G: Sometime in early October of 2013, an individual was driving Campbell’s truck with Michaela Scott, Dozorec, Campbell, and another individual as passengers. Scott, Dozorec, and Campbell were passing a spotlight back and forth while they were searching for deer. At approximately 2:30 a.m., the group located a white-tailed deer. Campbell shot the deer with a rifle while Dozorec held the spotlight on the animal. Campbell and the driver then loaded the deer into the truck. The driver of the vehicle had to help Campbell load the deer because he was too intoxicated to do so on his own. The group drove with the deer to an oil-field lease site where the driver and Campbell skinned the animal and left the remains behind.

 H: Sometime in October 2013, Campbell was driving his Ford truck with two passengers. Around 1:00 a.m., Campbell used the truck’s headlights to spot an elk. He then leaned out of the driver’s side window and shot and killed the elk with a rifle. The dead animal was left where it was shot.



I: Sometime in early October 2013, Campbell was driving his GMC truck, with Derek Brown and Dozorec as passengers, hunting for wildlife. At approximately 10:00 p.m., Campbell shot and killed what he thought to be an elk or a deer. Dozorec approached the animal and realized that it was, in fact, a beef cow. They drove away in the truck, leaving the dead animal behind.

J: Sometime in October 2013, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Derek Brown was driving his red Chevrolet truck with Tayler Brown and four other individuals as passengers in an area southwest of Edson, referred to as the Talisman fields. Derek Brown was driving down lease roads off the Talisman Road where he and Tayler Brown took turns spotlighting and shooting any wildlife they came across. Tayler Brown shot at an antlerless white-tailed deer three times while seated in the vehicle, but the deer was only hit once before it ran away. Derek Brown was sitting out the window and shining a big spotlight on that deer. Shortly after, Tayler Brown used a spotlight on a second deer that Derek Brown shot, and the deer ran into the trees and died. Derek Brown and Tayler Brown went in to see if the deer was dead. They located the dead deer and proceeded to cut off the back straps because those were their favourite cuts of meat. The back straps from the deer were placed in the back of Derek Brown’s truck, and the rest of the deer was left behind.

K: Sometime in October 2013, Tayler Brown was driving his truck at night with Derek Brown and other individuals as passengers. They were using spotlights in Tayler Brown’s vehicle to illuminate wildlife. Derek Brown shot and killed a white-tailed deer buck from inside the passenger side of the truck while Tayler Brown illuminated the deer with the spotlight. Derek Brown and Tayler Brown then got out of the truck, cut the back straps off of the deer, put them in the back of the truck, and drove away, leaving the rest of the deer behind. They took only the back straps because they said those were the part that tasted the best.



L: Sometime in October 2013, Tayler Brown was driving his truck at night with Derek Brown and three other passengers. They drove until they eventually entered into a field where they saw some elk. Derek Brown quickly got out of the vehicle, rested the gun through the open door, and shot one of the elk once. Tayler Brown used the truck headlights to locate and then shoot the elk. The elk was injured but not killed, so Tayler Brown and Derek Brown approached the elk and proceeded to kick it and to beat up its head. Derek Brown then put a kill shot into the elk. They then removed only the back straps of the elk, put them in the truck, and drove away, leaving the rest of the animal behind. Again, they took only the back straps because they said those were the best part. Approximately 15 minutes after they had shot that elk, they continued driving until they saw three deer, which Tayler Brown began chasing with his truck. The deer was eventually cornered, but Derek Brown then shot the deer while seated in the vehicle. They never stopped or got out to check if the deer was killed. Both Tayler Brown and Derek Brown were drinking while this event was taking place.

M: Sometime in October 2013, Tayler Brown was driving his Ford truck with a youth and two other individuals as passengers. Around 11:00 p.m., the group saw two sets of eyes in the ditch. Tayler Brown turned the truck around and one of the passengers passed him the rifle. Tayler Brown shot a white-tailed deer doe while seated in the vehicle. One of the passengers then expressed concern that she was worried that the deer was pregnant. The group wanted to take the antlerless deer back to Tayler Brown’s house so they could find out if, in fact, it was pregnant. Tayler Brown then loaded the deer into his truck whole by skidding it up with some loading planks. The deer was then taken back to Tayler Brown’s barn.

N: Sometime during October 2013, Tayler Brown, Scott, and another
individual were in Scott’s green GMC pick-up truck, hunting at night. Scott was driving the truck while the others were passengers. Scott was able to startle a deer by catching it in the headlights of her truck, and then, Tayler Brown, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, shot and killed the deer from inside the vehicle. The dead deer was left at the scene. Scott then drove off to find more wildlife.

O: Sometime in October 2013, Tayler Brown was driving his truck with Scott and two other individuals as passengers. Overhead lights and fog lamps were being used to illuminate deer. Between 8:30 p.m., and 9:00 p.m., Tayler Brown exited his truck and shot and killed a white-tailed deer doe from the road while Scott and the other two individuals encouragingly yelled at him to do so. Scott and one other individual then helped Tayler Brown load the dead animal back into his truck. The deer was taken back to Tayler Brown’s barn where it was hung up from the ceiling.

P: Sometime during the evening in November 2013, Derek Brown was driving his red Chevy truck with the unnamed youth, Dozorec, and Campbell as passengers. Campbell was using a light to try and locate deer. On two different occasions that evening, Campbell found a deer with the light, and Derek Brown shot and killed the deer. In each instance Derek Brown would drive up to the deer, confirm it was dead, and then drive away.

Q: Tayler Brown was night hunting with three other individuals sometime around the end of October 2013. Tayler Brown was driving his Ford truck with others as passengers. At approximately 9:30 p.m., Tayler Brown shot a coyote once while seated in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Tayler Brown drove away and left the coyote behind.

Convictions
On December 18, 2015, in delivering his sentence in court, Alberta provincial court Judge Gardiner reflected on his travel out to Edson that day, explaining that despite the fact it was a grey day, how lucky we, as Albertans, are to live here. Judge Gardiner addressed five of the six co-accused sitting in the Edson provincial courthouse, describing their activities as, “... the wanton, senseless destruction of (the) valuable wildlife asset of the province of Alberta … ” The action Judge Gardiner were referring to was a booze-fueled killing spree over a three-month period in the late summer and early fall, 2013.

Colton Campbell, aged 21, from Edson, Alberta, was charged with 51 counts, and convicted on eight counts under the Wildlife Act.
  ● Hunting without a licence
  ● Hunting in a dangerous manner
  ● Hunting at night
 ● Prohibited items in hunting wildlife (spotlight)
 ● Discharging a weapon from a vehicle
  ● Abandoning flesh fit for human consumption
  ● Unlawful possession of wildlife and controlled animals
  ● Using a vehicle to harass, injure, or kill wildlife
 Sentence: 90 days jail, $45,000 fine, and a lifetime hunting ban.

Derek Brown, aged 22, from Cowley, Alberta, was charged with 53 counts, and was convicted on eight counts under the Wildlife Act
. ● Hunting without a licence
  ● Hunting in a dangerous manner
  ● Hunting at night
  ● Prohibited items in hunting wildlife (spotlight)
  ● Discharging a weapon from a vehicle
  ● Abandoning flesh fit for human consumption
  ● Unlawful possession of wildlife and controlled animals
  ● Using a vehicle to harass, injure or kill wildlife
Sentence: Nine-month conditional sentencing order, which includes house arrest and strict curfew conditions, a $45,000 fine, and a lifetime hunting ban.

Tayler Brown, aged 20, was convicted on seven counts under the Wildlife Act
. ● Hunting without a licence
  ● Hunting in a dangerous manner
  ● Hunting at night
  ● Prohibited items in hunting wildlife (spotlight)
 ● Discharging a weapon from a vehicle
  ● Abandoning flesh fit for human consumption
  ● Unlawful possession of wildlife and controlled animals
 Sentence: $25,000 fine and a lifetime hunting ban

Devan Dozorec, aged 19, from Edson, Alberta, was charged with 27 counts and was convicted on five counts under the Wildlife Act
. ● Hunting without a licence
  ● Hunting in a dangerous manner
  ● Hunting at night
  ● Prohibited items in hunting wildlife (spotlight)
  ● Unlawful possession of wildlife and controlled animals
Sentence: $10,000 fine and a ten-year hunting ban

Michaela Scott, aged 20, from Edson, Alberta, was charged with seven counts and was convicted on four counts under the Wildlife Act
. ● Hunting without a licence
  ● Hunting in a dangerous manner
  ● Unlawful possession of wildlife and controlled animals
  ● Using a vehicle to harass, injure, or kill wildlife
Sentence: $10,000 fine and a lifetime hunting ban

An unidentified minor was convicted on five counts under the Wildlife Act
. ● Hunting without a licence
  ● Hunting in a dangerous manner
  ● Hunting at night
  ● Prohibited items in hunting wildlife (spotlight)
 ● Abandoning flesh fit for human consumption
Sentence: 200 hours of community service and a five-year hunting ban

In addition to the sentences handed out by the Honourable Judge Gardner, he ordered forfeiture on three trucks that were used in the commission of many offences. In addition, four firearms and many boxes of ammunition were forfeited to the Crown. In his sentencing, Judge Gardner praised the Alberta fish and wildlife officers for their work in this investigation and acknowledged how troubling it was for officers to investigate and see this many violations.

 









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