Listed below are only two concluded court cases from the "online" officer's notebook. If you would like to read all the wildlife and fisheries investigations and the final outcome of the court cases be sure to pickup your Alberta Game Warden magazine at your favorite bookstore. Or better yet, purchase a yearly subscription so you won't miss an issue.

  • What are the odds? - Barrhead District
  • Fish poachers take notice - Stoney Plain District
  • Bait hunter charged - Lac la Biche District
  • Moose killer caught - Bonnyville District
  • Angler caught at Rattlesnake Lake - Medicine Hat District
  • Their story didn't hold up - Grande Cache District
  • Disturbing conduct - Kananaskis District
  • Roadblock turns up illegal deer - Rocky Mountain House District
  • Traffickers tripped up by Operation Duckfoot - Special Investigations
  • It pays to get licence first - Rocky Mountain House
  • Party animal gets whacked - Grande Cache
  • Decoy operation brings in night hunters - Grande Prairie District
  • Sentencing on fish trafficking charge - Athabasca District
  • Judge issues warning to others - Grande Cache District

Report-A-Poacher Dial 1-800-642-3800

Moose killer caught - Bonnyville District

On March 7, 2000 John Makaruk, 60, appeared in Bonnyville provincial court to answer to three counts of hunting moose out of season and one count of giving false and misleading information to a wildlife officer. He was ordered to pay fines of $5,000 in addition to having his recreational hunting privileges suspended for a period of three years. Judge D.E. Demetrick also ordered the forfeiture of the .303 calibre rifle used to kill the three bull moose.

The court heard that on Oct. 27, 1999, Makaruk was illegally hunting moose North of Franchere Bay when he killed two bulls. He transported one moose to a residence in Glendon, intending to have a treaty Indian claim ownership of the animal. On Oct. 28, 1999 he returned with a treaty Indian to retrieve the second bull. While en route, Makaruk came across a third bull moose and killed it too. The third moose was immediately transported to the nearby Makaruk farm and hung in a shed. The men then returned to pick up the other moose and transported it to a residence in Bonnyville.

On Oct. 28, 1999 officers responded to a complaint near the Sand and Beaver Rivers and subsequently located the kill sites of all three bull moose. Additional information resulted in the execution of search warrants at three locations: one in Bonnyville, one in Glendon and the third at a farm north of Franchere Bay. All three moose and several firearms were recovered and placed under seizure.

In handing down his ruling, Judge Demetrick stated, "Big game animals are under constant pressure due to the loss of habitat, and restrictive hunting regulations are in place to provide protection for future generations."

Decoy operation brings in night hunters - Grande Prairie District

Two Edmonton men were recently convicted of night hunting and using a light to hunt wildlife. During the fall of 1999 the Grande Prairie Natural Resources Service office received several public complaints regarding night hunting and shot-and-left big game animals. Responding to the complaints, wildlife officers from Grande Prairie and Spirit River set up a decoy elk in an area south of Grovedale, on Oct. 28, 1999. The decoy was that of a young bull elk. The operation began at 7:45 p.m. approximately 47 minutes after legal hunting hours for that day.

At 8:05 p.m. two men in a pick up truck approached the site. The vehicle stopped and a spotlight was activated from inside the cab. Officers looked on as the light was used to scan the area. The light fell on the decoy elk and a shot was fired from inside the cab, striking the decoy in the chest.

The suspects attempted to flee the scene in the pick-up as officers approached in patrol vehicles with emergency lights activated. Officers signaled the vehicle to stop, but were later unable to locate either a recently fired firearm or a spotlight. Upon inspection of the scene, officers recovered a .300 magnum rifle and a spotlight along the road - discarded from the cab of the fleeing vehicle. A live cartridge was located in the chamber of the rifle, which was found lying in the muddy ditch. Both men were apprehended and both refused to say anything before contacting a lawyer.

The men were found in possession of an antlered white-tailed deer and mule deer, that they were licenced for and had killed earlier that day. Ammunition and two other firearms were seized. A spent .300 magnum case that was located on the road was later confirmed as having been fired from the rifle found in the ditch. Both men were issued appearance notices to appear in Grande Prairie provincial court.

On Dec. 15, 1999, Emmanuel Hynes, 51, and Michael Tucker, 36, both of Edmonton, appeared in Grande Prairie provincial court. Both plead guilty to hunting wildlife at night and using a light to hunt wildlife. Hynes and Tucker advised the court (through their lawyer) that the rifle fell out of the vehicle. Judge D. Patterson suggested the accused were getting rid of evidence and stated that pointing a firearm out of a vehicle when wildlife officers were approaching did not make the situation any better. Judge Patterson ordered each to pay a fine of $1,000 for each count, for a total $4,000 in fines. They were suspended from holding recreational hunting licences in Alberta for a period of 2 years. Judge Patterson ordered the .300 magnum rifle and the spotlight forfeited to the Crown. The other items were ordered returned. Charges of careless use of a firearm (Criminal Code), discharging a firearm from a vehicle, having a loaded firearm in a vehicle, and discharging a firearm at night were withdrawn.

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. 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