David Wedawin, chief of Gameti, N.W.T., and Frank and Jimmy Arrowmaker have has been charged with 12 counts of meat wastage.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources confirmed that the charges are directly related to an incident last spring when parts of more than 50 caribou were found wasted near the community.
- UPDATE | David Wedawin, 2 Gameti councillors not guilty of meat wastage
- Parts of 50 caribou found wasted near Gameti, N.W.T.
In April of 2013, conservation officers with ENR spent four days gathering parts of at least 50 caribou carcasses from 12 different sites on Hottah Lake.
The lake is a popular caribou hunting spot about 90 kilometres northwest of Gameti.
Along with the carcasses, officers found meat suitable for food such as legs above the knee, rump, ribs and backstraps.
Wedawin says he did go hunting with the Arrowmaker brothers last April and says they killed caribou on that trip but didn't leave any meat behind. He says wildlife officials have made a mistake.
"They didn't see it with their two eyes," he said. "I've never wasted any caribou in my life. This is not how I've been taught. You shoot caribou to take it home; you've got to feed your family."
In August last year, Tlicho elder Johnny Washie paid a $575 fine for meat wastage.
At the time, Washie said he felt singled out by wildlife officials. He says he shot a caribou calf someone else had wounded, and left it for them to pick up.
In the N.W.T., the only parts of big game such as caribou which can be left in the field are the head, lower legs, internal organs and meat damaged from gunshot. It is hunters' responsibility to ensure no meat is wasted.
Wedawin and both Arrowmakers are scheduled to appear in court in Behchoko on April 15.