Listed below is one concluded court case 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.

  • No right at night: Athabasca District
  • Bear poacher treed: Cold Lake District
  • Gone but not forgotten: Barrhead District
  • Nabbed at the narrows: Barrhead District
  • Shots fired into bush kill two moose: Fort Vermilion District
  • Disease worries no defense: Olds District
  • Poachers loose in deer dragging event: Barrhead District
  • No breaks for careless students: Lethbridge District
  • Alberta resident charged for holding Ontario licenses: Cold Lake District
  • Bad time for a breakdown: Manning District
  • Party-hunting no fun: Wetaskiwin District
  • Fish under mattress: High Prairie District
  • Illegal fish operation nets big fine: Edmonton District
Report-A-Poacher Dial 1-800-642-3800

Gone but not forgotten: Barrhead District

Barrhead conservation officers netted the conviction of an outfitter on three Wildlife Act charges May 1, following a joint-force force investigation that wrapped up just a few days short of the two-year limit for evidence.

The 29-month investigation was launched in conjunction with several U.S. wildlife authorities, into the illegal activities of Craig Jensen, 29, of Edson, dating back to November 1999.

Jensen's appearance in Westlock provincial court reaffirmed that Wildlife Act offenses continue to be treated seriously by the courts; especially against those involved in wildlife-related commerce who choose not to abide by the rules. Subject to a plea agreement submitted to the judge by both defense counsel and the prosecution, Jensen plead guilty to three of four charges brought before the courts. He was ordered to pay more than $4,700 in penalties.

The court heard that on Nov. 14, 1999, a non-resident alien hunter from Wisconsin arrived in Alberta for a prearranged hunt with Outfitter/Guide Craig Jensen. Under Jensen's guidance, this client hunted an area north of Westlock in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 505. Two or three days into his hunt, the client was approached by a local resident in the area who inquired as to whether appropriate permission had been obtained in order for the client to hunt on the property in question. The client advised the resident that he had been placed there by his guide, Jensen, to hunt for deer. He further stated that he believed Jensen had obtained the proper authorization from him to hunt there. Shortly after this encounter, Jensen was contacted and together they attended the landowner's residence to confirm that permission had in fact been granted. Once permission was confirmed, Jensen's client continued to hunt the same area until he succeeded in killing a large antlered white-tailed deer. After successfully concluding his hunt, the client returned to the United States with both the antlers and cape from the deer. The client's 1999 deer license, valid in WMU 510, was used as the document to export his deer out of Alberta.

Subsequent investigation revealed that Jensen's allocations (an outfitter's allocated privilege to guide a hunter, or have a hunter guided in a specific area), was not valid in the particular area where the encounter and the harvest of the deer had taken place. The WMU where Jensen's client's allocation was valid was in the more northern WMU of 510. Based on this information, the deer had been illegally hunted and illegally killed; and the subsequent possession of the animal and its exportation were illegal.

In addition to these facts, the court also heard that although Jensen was aware of the requirement to report his client's success on an Outfitter/Guide activity report, he neglected to do so. Prior knowledge of his requirement to do so was supported by the fact that Jensen had submitted his Outfitter/Guide activity report in 1998 as a condition of his outfitting permit.

Statistics gained from the submission of these forms are used by both biological and enforcement staff in many ways to monitor outfitters' success and activities throughout the spring and fall seasons.

Upon hearing all the evidence and confirming the allegation with Jensen, Judge M. White ordered Jensen to pay a fine of $3,500 for guiding for gain or reward without the prescribed authorization. In relation to the illegal export of the deer from Canada (a Federal charge), Judge White ordered Jensen to pay a fine of $1,000. Jensen was additionally fined a $57 penalty for the offense of failing to submit an outfitter/guide activity report. All fines were further tallied with an additional $50 victim surcharge.

Outfitter allocations are a valuable commodity in today's outfitting business. At the last Alberta Professional Outfitter's Society conference, a single right to an allocation in WMU 508 was being offered for sale at $20,000. This WMU lies just to the south of WMU 505 and holds very similar habitat and quality of deer. Hunting deer in the improper zones weighs against proper game management and can have a negative impact on the resource.

The Alberta Professional Outfitters Society has gone on record as strongly supporting an increase in penalties handed out by the courts for these types of offenses. Jensen's Wildlife Act convictions over the past few years relating to his outfitting operations are currently awaiting review by the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society Disciplinary Committee.

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 case file details and photographs to:

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