[Game Warden Archives]




Poacher kills elk in town- Grande Cache District

[Dead Bull Elk] On October 12, 1995, a complaint was received of a dead bull elk located along highway 40 in the town of Grande Cache, Alberta. Investigation revealed that the elk had been shot and killed approximately 12 hours earlier and had not been touched by the shooter.

On January 6, 1996, investigators interviewed Bruce Vance, of Grande Cache, and learned that he had been driving out of Grande Cache at approximately 3:00 a.m. on October 12, with intentions of shooting a six-point elk. He spotted the animal in the ditch along Highway 40, inside the town limits, north of the landfill site road. Vance admitted shooting the elk from the highway in the moonlight, but he was unable to see where it went down. He quickly returned to town for assistance and upon return to the kill site, claimed he and the others he was with could not locate the dead animal to salvage it.

The elk died in a patch of small willows approximately 100 metres from where Vance had shot it.

Fourteen hours had passed since the elk had been killed to the time of its discovery and it was no longer salvageable. The animal had antlers bearing six points on one side and five on the other and would have been a fair game if it had been legally killed.

Bruce Vance attended Grande Cache Provincial Court on February 1, 1996, and plead guilty to night hunting, allowing the edible flesh of a big game animal to be wasted and discharging a firearm from a primary highway. He was ordered to pay a fine of $1850 ($1400, $150, and $300 respectively). The Crown was quick to appeal the sentence believing the penalty would not serve as a deterrent.

The appeal was heard on June 10, 1996 at which time a fine of $2500 was handed down. Vance was suspended from holding a hunting licence until at least February 1997.


You Again? - Fort Liard District - NWT

A Northwest Territories man recently convicted for illegally hunting and killing a trophy-sized Dall's Sheep in Nahanni National Park (The Alberta Game Warden - Spring 96 edition) during the summer of 1995 has found himself back in front of the Territorial courts for other NWT Wildlife Act violations. Robert Borrelli of Fort Liard, NWT received maximum fines under the Wildlife Act for two counts of illegal possession Dall's Sheep, and one count of hunting from a vehicle. Deh Cho Air Ltd., for whom Borrelli is Chief Pilot, also received a maximum fine for transporting wildlife, namely moose which had been unlawfully killed contrary to the Wildlife Act after Renewable Resources Officers were tipped off about Borrelli's activities.

Officers seized a cow moose and hide from the Deh Cho Air Ltd. single otter after sources revealed that the moose being transported had been shot from the floats of the taxiing aircraft while it was swimming across a lake. Borrelli was charged with hunting from a vehicle and received $1000 fine after pleading guilty. Deh Cho Air Ltd. also pleaded guilty to transporting unlawfully killed wildlife and received $1000 fine for their involvement. The moose and hide were forfeited.

In the course of this investigation, authorities received information that Borrelli also had in his possession two Dall's Sheep mounts that were killed back in August of 1993 on the Liard Range in contravention of the provisions of the Wildlife Act. Search warrants were obtained and the two heads as well as photographs taken during the August 1993 hunt were seized. Both sheep had been shot within the mandatory 12-hour waiting period following an aircraft flight.

The case went to trial in July 96, and Borrelli was found guilty on both counts. He received two $1000 fines for his actions and the two mounted heads were forfeited. Borrelli has been prohibited from holding any licence or permit under the NWT Wildlife Act for five years ending July 11, 2001. Borrelli was handed down a total of $3000 in fines plus a Victim/Crime surcharge of $450.

Renewable Resources acknowledges the assistance provided by the Fort Liard RCMP detachment and the RCMP Ident. Unit in Hay River.

We invite wildlife and fisheries enforcement officers from all jurisdictions to submit current and significant cases for inclusion in the Game Warden's Notebook segment of the publication. Details of case files can be sent to:

c/o Jason Hanson
211 Provincial Building Camrose, Alberta, Canada T4V 1P6
All contents copyright © 1996, Alberta Game Warden. All rights reserved.