[Game Warden Archives]


Officer's Notebook Spring 1997

We invite wildlife and fisheries enforcement officers from all jurisdictions to submit current and significant cases for inclusion in the Notebook segment of the publication. All details must be accurate public record. Please send the details and photographs of case files to:

c/o Jason Hanson
211 Provincial Building
Camrose, Alberta, Canada T4V 1P6

Report-A-Poacher Logo

This wasn't the answer - Coronation

Timber thief jailed - Fairview
Missed the point - Grande Cache
Heavy fine for illegal moose kill - Grande Prairie
Wait for morning light - Stettler
Red Deer man convicted under National Parks Act - Banff
Pre-season kills lead to fines - Leduc

Lamont poacher sentenced - Vegreville
Judge said cruel sport just plain stupid - Vermilion

This wasn't the answer - Coronation

Taking the law into his own hands didn't help a Veteran-area rancher who chose to kill four deer feeding on his hay stacks. The depredation problem continued even after the deer were dead and now Gavin Simkin is required to pay the fine of $2,500 ordered by Judge T.G. Schollie.

Shot and Left for the Coyotes

Simkin plead guilty in Coronation provincial court on Feb. 14, 1997, to one count of hunting during a closed season relating to several deer which he shot and left near his hay stacks last month.

On Jan. 10, 1997, Simkin shot and left two white-tailed deer. The matter was investigated the following day by a wildlife officer who located, in addition to the two dead whitetails, the remains of two dead mule deer. When questioned, Simkin admitted to having shot all four deer. He then left them at his hay stacks as bait for coyotes, believing that with more coyotes around there would be fewer deer causing damage to his hay.

Defence counsel explained to Judge Schollie that his client had become frustrated with the deer as they were destroying the feed meant for his cattle. He went on to say that according to Simkin, the deer had eaten approximately $10,000 worth of hay this winter. At one time Simkin had apparently even tried, without success, to scare off the deer using snowmobiles.

Crown counsel did not waiver when he asked Judge Schollie to fine Simkin $2,500, the maximum penalty for this violation under the Wildlife Act.

"The message to those who try to cut short the legal process is that they will be treated severely," he said.

While sympathetic to Simkin's situation, the prosecutor commented that Simkin had no right to take the law into his own hands.

Judge Schollie recognized Simkin's situation as a "real crisis." He agreed that individuals can't take the law into their own hands. He stated that it is up to the provincial government to deal with the problem of too many deer.

Pre-season kills lead to fines - Leduc

A Leduc area poacher was fined $10,000 on five charges under the Wildlife Act after officers investigated illegal kills of a moose and several whitetail deer.

Arthur Ravanello answered to the charges in Leduc provincial court on Dec. 12, 1996. Judge L.E. Nemirsky heard the poaching incident began on Nov. 9 when a Leduc wildlife officer received a call on the Report-A-Poacher hotline. The caller claimed Ravanello had been bragging about illegally killing six deer and one moose.

The next day, officers from Leduc and Wetaskiwin attended Ravanello's residence and questioned him. Ravanello admitted there were big game animals hanging in his outbuildings but denied ownership. He stated the animals belonged to a native person.

A short while later he took the officers to a detached garage where parts of a moose were located. Officers observed three moose quarters and also several sausage links which Ravanello indicated were from a deer that the native had also killed. Ravanello was unable to provide proof that a treaty Indian killed the deer.

Ravanello was advised he was in illegal possession of wildlife and statements were taken from him and others at the residence. One statement revealed the truth surrounding the man's poaching activities: that he had killed the moose and several other deer, all before the opening of the season.

When confronted with this information, Ravanello chose to truthfully explain his illegal activities. He admitted killing six white-tailed doe deer, five of which were shot with a .22 calibre rifle during the month of October, 1996. In addition to there being no rifle season open at that time, a .22 calibre rifle is considered an illegal weapon for hunting big game. Ravanello advised the officers that he shot all of the deer in the head so that a bullet could not be retrieved in case he was ever investigated. He also stated that he cut the hides into strips so coyotes would clean up the kills. Officers also learned that one of the deer was killed on opening day with a .270 calibre rifle. Although Ravanello had a valid 1996 white-tailed deer licence, he chose not to use it. Ravanello admitted killing the cow moose on Nov. 5. He had no moose licence.

Ravanello turned over the .22 calibre rifle and the .270 calibre rifle to wildlife officers. His white-tailed deer licence and moose licence were seized along with the moose quarters and sausage.

In addition to imposing the hefty fine, Judge Nemirsky prohibited Ravanello from applying for or possessing a recreational hunting licence for five years.