repeats itself as party hunt lands group in court - Wetaskiwin District
A history of hunting violations
caught up to a Wetaskiwin man once again this year. Editor’s note: this earlier
case file is part of an ongoing story..
On Dec. 1, 1985, a Wetaskiwin
fish and wildlife officer received a complaint from a person who had found three
dead bull moose in a farmer’s field near Hay Lakes, northwest of Camrose. As there
were very few moose in that area, there was no open season for moose at all. Officers
patrolled to the area and located the three dead bull moose laying in close proximity
to one another. None of the animals had been dressed, and all were bloated and
The ensuing investigation
revealed that Alvin Metzker, 46, of Gwynne, had been hunting with two other men
on the morning of Nov. 30, 1985. Metzker stated that all three moose were killed
by one of the other hunters when they were chased out of a bush into an open field.
Metzker admitted that after the shooting was done, he observed one of the injured
moose struggling to stand up. Only because the moose was badly injured and was
suffering, Metzker shot twice at the animal, killing it. The three men then fled
the scene, leaving all three moose to spoil where they lay. No attempts were made
by any of the men to salvage the meat or contact the authorities to report the
On Dec. 30, 1985, Metzker
plead guilty to three counts of allowing the edible flesh of a big game animal
to be wasted and was fined a total of $750.
In January, 1999 a conservation
officer stationed in Wetaskiwin received a public complaint about two moose that
had been illegally killed northeast of Hay Lakes. The complainant stated that
he was present when the violation was committed, and explained to the officer
what had occurred during the morning of Nov. 11, 1998.
The complainant recalled the
event in detail and stated that he and three other men: Jason Brunett, 25, of
Edmonton, William Rost, 63, of Hay Lakes, Alvin Metzker, (now) 60, of Gwynne,
were all hunting in an area northeast of Hay Lakes. As the complainant sat in
his truck having a cup of coffee, his attention was caught by Jason Brunett waiving
his coat in the air. Brunett met up with the complainant and advised him that
he had just shot two moose, a cow and a calf. Brunett did not possess a special
moose licence for the area and was hunting deer when he came upon the moose. Brunett
however, was aware that Metzker and the complainant did have moose licences. The
moose were eventually located by all four members of the hunting party who then
discussed what to do with the dead animals. In the end it was decided that the
moose would not be left to waste. The animals were taken from the field to Metzker’s
residence where they were dressed, skinned and butchered.
On Apr. 13, 1999, conservation
officers executed search warrants at the residences of Metzker, and Rost. Two
rifles and more than 300 packages of meat were seized from the residences. Charges
were laid against the three men and on Nov. 29, 1999, they appeared in Wetaskiwin
provincial court and plead guilty to a total of four charges. Alvin Metzker and
William Rost plead guilty to unlawful possession of wildlife, and Judge D. J.
Plosz ordered each to pay a fine of $1,150. Jason Brunett plead guilty to two
counts of hunting wildlife without a licence and received a total fine of $2,300.
The remaining charges were withdrawn.
Hawk shooter receives fine
- Hanna District
A man who tried to explain away
the shooting of two Swainsons hawks, didn’t get far before a Hanna provincial
court judge handed down a $2,300 fine.
On Sept. 22, 1999, Raymond Abram
of Endiang attempted to explain the rationale behind the shooting of the birds
to Judge G.W. Clozza. The explanation fell on deaf ears as the judge levied the
fine and suspended Abram’s privilege to hold a recreational hunting licence for
a period of a two years.
An investigation was initiated
on May 20, 1999 after reports were received at both the Stettler and Hanna Natural
Resources Service district offices. The complainant advised officers that two
hawks were killed illegally and identified the area where they were killed. The
complainant also provided a licence plate of the suspect vehicle. Upon arriving
at the kill site and conducting a thorough search, officers located two dead Swainsons
Hawks, and two spent 12 gauge shotgun shells
Officers reached Raymond Abram’s
residence prior to his returning home and intercepted him before he entered into
his residence. A 12 gauge semi-automatic Berretta shotgun and a box containing
some shotgun shells were seized from Abram’s vehicle.
The two hawks were submitted
to the forensic lab in order to determine the exact species, cause of death, and
to recover any shot left in the dead birds for possible ballistics analysis.
The seized shotgun was submitted
to the RCMP Crime Laboratory – Firearms Section, for the purpose of matching evidence
seized at the kill sites with the firearm and shotgun shells seized from Abram.
The forensic analysis obtained from both laboratories confirmed that Abram’s shotgun
was used to kill the two hawks.
Conservation officers receive
a seemingly unlimited number of injured, orphaned, or abandoned wildlife every
year. A large number of these animals can be rehabilitated and are taken to one
of the non profit rehabilitation centers. A creative sentencing request was made
by the investigating officer, and was brought forward by the prosecutor assigned
to the case. Judge Clozza agreed to direct the payment of the $2,000 fine to two
rehabilitation centers, the Alberta Birds of Prey Center in Coaldale and the Medicine
River Rehabilitation Center near Red Deer.
The remaining $300 accounts for
the 15 per cent surcharge that is tacked on to the assessed fines. This money
cannot be reallocated, as can the actual fines levied.