Included below are two concluded court cases 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 pick up your Alberta Game Warden magazine at your favorite bookstore. Or better yet, purchase a yearly subscription so you won't miss an issue.

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Elk slaughter: Athabasca District

Persistence paid off for officers and volunteers who combed the bush near Athabasca in search of elk carcasses. They came up with two specimens, and charges were laid for hunting during a closed season and for wastage of edible meat.

On March 11, after a 27-month expedition through Boyle provincial court, Darrell Wilmer Quinney, 35, of Spedden, was assessed a $3,000 fine on the two charges and suspended from recreational hunting for two years.

The court heard that on Dec. 30, 2000, Quinney, a Treaty Indian, and two of his partners were hunting in the Newbrook area. The group came upon a large herd of elk grazing on private farmland, property to which the three did not have right of access. Quinney stopped his truck and fired numerous shots, wounding several elk before the herd scattered. A witness confronted the men and recorded their licence plate number before they fled. Quinney and his hunting party made no attempt to look for or retrieve any of the wounded elk, even though Quinney later admitted that he " one for sure."

The witness immediately reported the incident and assisted officers in searching for evidence and any sign of wounded animals. Together they located at least five separate blood trails leading out of the field. While officers continued their investigation, two local trappers volunteered spending days combing through dense brush for dead or wounded elk. Eventually, two elk carcasses were found and a third elk was observed limping among the herd. Officers later located all three suspects and laid charges under the Wildlife Act.

All charges against Quinney's hunting party were withdrawn. However, Quinney stood charged and the trial proceeded. In addition to the fine and two-year suspension of Quinney's recreational hunting licence, the seized firearm was forfeited to the Crown.

No more spearfishing: Stettler District

On April 24, a 30-year-old Bashaw man's entertainment of spearfishing came to a close and his recreational sportfishing licence was suspended for two years.

Jeffery Craig Ramstad was convicted in Stettler provincial court of fishing with a spear using prohibited propulsion and was fined $575. The court heard that on March 12, conservation officers were working on Buffalo Lake conducting fisheries patrols. That morning officers parked their vehicle a distance away from an ice-fishing hut. Upon approaching this hut, officers observed the door open and then quickly slammed shut and locked from the inside. Officers identified themselves and immediately demanded the door be opened. The door was eventually opened allowing officers to direct the individuals out of the hut. Among the five individuals in the hut, only two had fishing licences. Officers did not observe any lines in the water; however, two seven-foot spears lay on the floor of the hut.

Upon further inspection, two pike were located and one of them had a hole in its head. Ramstad admitted to spearfishing and that he had built the spears. Officers seized a seven-foot spear, two pike and additional equipment related to the spearfishing activity.

In addition to the fine, Ramstad was issued a Judicial Order pursuant to Section 79.2 of the Fisheries Act. The order prohibits Ramstad from holding a recreational sportfishing licence for two years. It goes further to order that Ramstad cannot occupy any locked or unlocked structure over ice, cannot possess anything that can be used as a spear or modified spear and cannot be around persons having these items. This prohibition will be in effect for the next two years. All items seized by the officers were forfeited.

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