Two Calgary men appeared in Didsbury provincial court
on Dec. 10, 2002, to each answer to a charge under the Wildlife Act.
Jeff F. Koch, 32, and Jeffery Woodhouse, 34, each
entered guilty pleas to hunting wildlife during a closed season and
each were assessed $1,500 in fines. The court heard that through the
fall of 2001, Sundre conservation officers received numerous complaints
of antlerless white-tailed deer being shot during the closed season
in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 318. The season for antlerless white-tailed
deer in this WMU fell between Nov. 1, 2002, and Nov. 7, 2002.
As a result enforcement personnel from surrounding
districts met on Nov. 9, 2002, to conduct an operation with the use
of a decoy deer. The surrogate was placed 20 kilometres within WMU 318
and made to appear as an antlerless white-tailed deer. On this date
both accused stopped and shot at the decoy.
In an interesting order requested by the Crown, both
accused were ordered to pay $1,300 to the Alberta Conservation Association.
Funds were directed for the purpose of promoting the proper management
and control or conservation and protection of wildlife or their habitats,
including repair and replacement of equipment related to surrogate enforcement
A third man from Sundre will appear for trial
on April 11, 2003, in Didsbury provincial court.
Poachers who shot an undersized bighorn sheep near
Williams Lake, BC and left it to waste were fined $9,000 for the crime.
David Kim Aliprandini, of Surrey, B.C. and Randy Allan
Ovens, of Langley, B.C. were both charged with two counts under the
British Columbia Wildlife Act for hunting California Bighorn Sheep during
the closed season and failing to report the killing of an illegal 3/4
curl California Bighorn Sheep.
On Oct. 30, 2002, both men plead guilty to failing
to report the killing of an illegal 3/4 curl California Bighorn Sheep.
Honourable Judge Buller Bennett of the New Westminster courthouse sentenced
Aliprandini to a $5,000, fine of which $4000 was ordered payable to
the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. Ovens was sentenced to a $4,000
fine, of which $3000 was ordered payable to the Habitat Conservation
Trust Fund. In addition to the court-imposed fines the Deputy Director
of the Wildlife Branch said he would consider hunting and firearm licence
cancellations. Provisions within the Wildlife Act allow the Deputy Director
to impose hunting and firearm licence cancellations of up to 30 years.
The incident took place during the evening hours of
Oct. 18, 2000, when the Williams Lake Conservation Officer Service received
a report from the public concerning a 3/4 curl California Bighorn ram
that had been illegally shot and left. The ram was shot off the banks
of the Fraser River within Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 5-03, located
60 km southwest of Williams Lake. This area at the time had an open
Full Curl California Bighorn Sheep hunting season.
A jet boat and then helicopter were successfully utilized
to locate the ram. An investigation of the kill site revealed the evidence
officers needed to execute search warrants at the residences of the
two suspects. Additional evidence was then collected and seized. When
the suspects were confronted, both admitted to their involvement.
It was determined that the men had initially spotted
a band of five rams upslope on a bench off the river. They studied the
largest ram at 300 yards with their rifle scopes and field binoculars
for close to two minutes. The ram was on a 45-degree upward slope and
it was mutually agreed the ram was large enough. The ram was subsequently
shot by both men. The sheep was approached and it was determined that
it was only a 3/4 curl. After discussing the matter it was decided not
to report the incident and the ram was left to waste in the field.
Since 1994, California Bighorn Sheep along Churn Creek
and Fraser River areas have been the subject of a study by BC's wildlife
branch. Through this study 30 to 40 radio-collared sheep have been intensively
monitored. Inventory data indicates that overall ram ratios for the
Churn/Fraser herds have substantially declined from approximately 50
rams/100 ewes in 1985/89 surveys to 1998 levels of less than 20 rams/100
The decline is attributed to low recruitment
rates in combination with high adult mortality rates from both natural
(disease and predation) and human causes. All British Columbians can
assist in protecting provincial wildlife and habitat by reporting violations
to their local Conservation Officer Service, or call the Observe, Record
and Report toll free number at 1-800-663-WILD (9453).
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