Two poachers in the midst of a beaver-killing expedition, couldn't resist
shooting a large bull elk from their truck window, five months prior
to the open season.
On May 10, 2003, Fish and Wildlife officers responded
to a Report A Poacher call of shots being fired at 9:15 p.m. Upon arriving
at the location, officers observed a bull elk lying dead in a Sundre
area hay field in the vicinity where the shots were heard. Officers
watching over the area for several hours observed two males return under
the cover of darkness, load and then transport the elk back to a building
on Smith's farm.
Officers arrested both 64-year-old Innisfail man and
36-year-old man from Caroline as they attempted to hang the elk to
skin. The investigation revealed that they had been out driving the area
and shooting beavers from the window of their truck. They observed the
bull elk feeding in a hay field when it was shot. One shot was fired
from a 22.250 calibre rifle from inside the vehicle, killing the animal.
June 25, 2003, both men appeared in Didsbury provincial court. One
accused was convicted of hunting wildlife during a closed season, discharging
a weapon (firearm) from a vehicle and using prohibited items as specified
to hunt big game, netting him $1,500 in fines. In addition to his fines,
he was also assessed a two-year recreational hunting licence suspension.
The other man was convicted of hunting wildlife during a closed a season,
hunting wildlife without a licence and discharging a firearm from a
vehicle. He was assessed a $1,500 fine and a one-year recreational hunting
The investigation of an illegal hunting incident neared completion with
the conviction of an Alberta Beach woman on July 23, 2003, in Grande
Prairie provincial court.
The 46-year-old was fined $6,900 on two counts of hunting wildlife during
a closed season and one count of willfully giving false/misleading information
to an officer. This case is the most recent in a string of convictions
resulting from an investigation into the illegal killing of three antlerless
moose in the Spirit River area, in October 2002.
The court heard that on Oct. 22, 2002, the accused placed a cell phone
call to a Fish and Wildlife officer in Grande Prairie advising him that
she had shot a cow moose in Wildlife Management Unit 358, near Spirit
River , and was wanting authorization for two non-treaty males to transport
the moose for her back to Alberta Beach . The call aroused the officer's
suspicion and as a result he contacted another officer in Barrhead to
On Nov. 4, 2002, she was located in Alberta Beach and provided a false
story in which she claimed she had shot the moose. She provided the name
of a fictitious person who was supposedly in possession of the animal
which was to be processed for her. Further investigation led the officer
to interview three male persons, all from Alberta Beach , who had recently
returned from a hunting trip in the Spirit River area. He learned that
the trio shot three antlerless moose over a two-day period in a zone
that was closed to hunting. It had been pre-planned that the woman would
be called to the area if illegal moose were taken so that she could cover
the kills by stating the animals had been taken under her treaty rights.
She had been called to the area and took the three moose from Spirit
River to a garage in Alberta Beach . The three moose were eventually
taken into a meat processing plant in Spruce Grove and the processing
slip completed with her Indian Status number as the authority the moose
were taken under.
Two of the three, appeared in Stony Plain provincial court on Dec. 4,
2002, and entered a guilty plea to hunting one of the three moose during
a closed season. The accused who pulled the trigger was fined $2,875
while the other man, who was party to the offence, was fined $2,300.
In addition, each had their hunting privileges suspended for one year.
On Jan. 21, 2003, the third individual appeared in Stony Plain provincial
court and entered guilty pleas to three counts of hunting moose during
a closed season. Judge P. Marshall supported the thinking of Judge Ayotte
and imposed fines totaling $6,900. In addition he received a four-year
hunting licence suspension.
Ayotte, in imposing the woman's sentence after hearing the
circumstances, said, "The courts always look at Wildlife Act offences
very seriously. The Wildlife Act is in effect, conservation legislation.
It's an attempt by society to try to preserve the wildlife resource for
the use of future generations as well. The offences are easy to commit
in the sense that there are a limited number of wildlife officers with
a lot of territory to cover and there is always that temptation. When
you get caught you pay a very heavy price. This is one of the more serious
cases I have ever seen because of the planning involved."
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:
THE ALBERTA GAME WARDEN
5201 - 50 Avenue
Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada T9A 0S7