AGW Notebook

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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Two poachers charged for elk kill: Sundre District

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.

On 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 licence suspension.

Poaching ring nets $18, 975 in fines: Barrhead District

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 investigate.

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.

Judge P. 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:

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