shot in frustration yields over $3,000 in fines – Smoky Lake District
from Bellis received an expensive education about receiving meat from
an illegally harvested animal, and the poacher was hauled into court
Smoky Lake Conservation Officers received information that Kurt and
Lillian Stahl of Bellis, were in illegal possession of moose meat. A
licence check revealed that neither person possessed a valid moose licence
for the previous season.
Kurt Stahl told officers he had received the moose meat from Ray Bourgeois
of Wildwood. Officers discovered that Bourgeois did not possess a valid
moose licence for the previous season either. Under warrant, the Stahl
residence was searched and the moose meat was seized. Kurt Stahl, 39,
and Lillian Stahl, 40, both gave statements in which they admitted not
knowing whether or not Ray Bourgeois actually possessed a licence to
hunt moose, but they stated that Bourgeois’ wife was a Treaty Indian.
Ray and Sophia Bourgeois were subsequently interviewed and it was determined
that Sophia was in the process of applying for Treaty status, but had
not yet received status. Ray Bourgeois, 42, then admitted to shooting
the moose on his own property because he was frustrated that he could
not obtain a special moose licence for his area. Officers seized the
remaining moose meat that was still in possession of the Bourgeois’.
17, Ray Bourgeois appeared in Evansburg provincial court where he plead
guilty to one count of hunting without a licence. Judge D.G. Rae ordered
Bourgeois to pay a fine of $1,500.
3, Kurt and Lillian Stahl each plead guilty in Fort Saskatchewan provincial
court to one count of illegal possession of wildlife. Before accepting
the guilty pleas of the husband and wife, Judge P. Ayotte advised them
that because wildlife cases are difficult to detect, the fines are generally
high and used to deter other potential violators. In attempt to better
legitimize his possession of the meat, Kurt Stahl commented to the judge
that the meat was received from a native.
Ayotte explained that natives can only hunt for their own use and cannot
legally give meat away, so that was not a defence. The Stahls were fined
a total of $1,724 (including surcharges).