Listed below are concluded court cases from the 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.

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

Fowl play lands trio in court: Lethbridge District

Three out-of-province poachers who filled a motel freezer with illegally killed partridge, walked away with $10,350 in fines and a two-year enforced holiday away from their shotguns.

On Sept. 21, 2001, Judge Glen Morrison, handed down the high fines and license suspensions to three Ontario residents in Lethbridge provincial court.

Franco Latini (66), his brother Luigi Latini (68), and Vincenzo Grigano (68), appeared in court to plead guilty to one count each for hunting without a licence, hunting during a closed season, exceeding the possession limit for game birds and hunting on occupied land without consent of the landowner. Each man was fined a total of $3,000, plus a victim's surcharge. In addition, each man was prohibited from hunting for two years.

The investigation began as a result of a Report A Poacher call to the Lethbridge district Fish and Wildlife with information relating to unlawful hunting activity in the Barons/Vulcan area. Officers attended the area and checked three individuals who were hunting game birds near Barons. None of them were properly licensed. Upon inspection of their rented van, officers discovered 10 grey partridge. Further inspection of the van revealed two hen pheasants hidden inside a pair of rubber boots. The rubber boots were concealed between a dog kennel and the wheel well in the cargo area of the van.

The suspects admitted to hunting in Alberta for the previous five days and claimed to be in possession of 13 additional partridge. When asked where the other birds were, the first claimed that they had eaten them, but later said that they were being stored at a local service station in Vulcan.

The conservation officer in Vulcan was requested to provide assistance by confirming their story. He attended the service station and learned that there were no birds being stored on the premises. The Lethbridge officers then cautioned the men about making false and misleading statements, at which time they confessed that the birds were being stored at a motel in Vulcan. The Vulcan officer attended the motel at which time the motel manager produced six bags from a freezer in his residence. The officer found 72 gray partridge and one hen pheasant in the bags.

The Lethbridge officers then escorted the suspects to the Vulcan motel and seized a total of 82 gray partridge, three hen pheasants and three shotguns. The lawful gray partridge possession limit for the men was 30 birds. There was no season for hen pheasants. Officers issued court appearance documents to compel the men to appear in provincial court in Lethbridge the following day.

Judge Morrison handed down fines of $1,000 each for hunting without a licence; $850 each for hunting during a closed season; $150 each for hunting on occupied land and $1,000 each for exceeding the possession limit. The charge of unlawful possession of wildlife was withdrawn and the shotguns were returned. All other items were forfeited to the crown.

Cat killer gets jail time and big fine: Fort Vermilion District

A trapper who illegally killed double his quota of lynx, was trapping out of season and leaving the wild cats to suffer in unchecked traps, failed to appear at his trial and was granted no mercy by a Fort Vermilion judge.

Donald Robert Currie, 42, was convicted in absence in Fort Vermilion provincial court on Oct, 24. He was arrested and then sentenced the following day in High Level. Judge Clark ordered that Currie serve six months in prison, pay $25,000 in fines, be prohibited from trapping for 5 years and from recreational hunting for 20 years.

Things turned bad for Currie last spring when Fish and conservation officers received information from a confidential informant who reported that while he was travelling on Currie's trapline on March 1, he had observed several traps still set and found half eaten, dead, and live lynx in them. Knowing that the trapping season was over, he reported the information to the Fort Vermilion Fish and Wildlife office.

Conservation officers began the investigation with a visit to Currie's cabin near Wood Buffalo National Park two days later. Currie appeared agitated and claimed that he hadn't caught any lynx over the previous few days or even within the past few weeks. Currie denied having any lynx in his possession at all. After looking in the box of Currie's truck, an estimated 30 to 40 lynx were found. Currie claimed that the lynx were caught during the trapping season and became even more agitated. Most of the lynx were whole and not yet skinned and some still had snare cables attached to their paws. Officers determined that, based on the size of Currie's trapline, his lynx quota was 54.

Conservation officers in Red Earth Creek were contacted to assist with the investigation, and with their help, officers were able to determine that the exact number of lynx that Currie had in his possession was 42. Further investigation also revealed that Currie had already registered and sold a total of 60 lynx for that trapping year. The 60 animals, when added to the 42, put Currie in possession of a total of 48 animals in excess of what he was licenced to legally harvest: nearly double his quota.

As it was suspected that Currie would be returning to his residence in Westlock, officers in Athabasca were called in to assist with the investigation by waiting to confront Currie as he arrived home with the lynx. Athabasca officers stopped Currie at his residence. He was interviewed and admitted to trapping out of season and to harvesting more lynx than his quota allowed. Officers seized the 42 illegal lynx.

Currie was convicted in Fort Vermilion provincial court despite the fact that he failed to appear to answer to the charges. An ex parte trial was held where all of the Crown's evidence was presented. Upon hearing the details of the investigation, Judge Clark convicted Currie of hunting during a closed season, unlawful possession of wildlife, hunting for the purpose of trafficking, and failing to examine traps at specified intervals. Sentencing was put over to the following day in High Level provincial court.

For the offence of failing to appear in court, Judge Clark issued a warrant for Currie's arrest. Moments after the trial had concluded, Currie was observed outside of the courthouse. Currie was arrested and jailed to await sentencing the following day.


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:


Jason Hanson
5201 - 50 Avenue
Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada T9A 0S7