Illegal bison, muskox hunts get reality show founder $8K fine

Thomas Pigeon, the founder of Canada in the Rough, a reality hunting show, has been caught breaking hunting rules north of 60, thanks to unaired footage that shows muskox being herded by snowmobile in what was portrayed in the show as a fair hunt.
Thomas Pigeon has been fined $8,000 for possessing two muskox and a wood bison that were illegally hunted in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The founder of a hunting reality show is being forced to pay an $8,000 fine for possessing two muskox and a wood bison that were illegally hunted in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

In March of 2003, Thomas Pigeon came north to hunt muskox in Nunavut and wood bison in the Northwest Territories for his hunting adventure show, Canada in the Rough.

But the hunters drove their vehicles too close to the animals so they were easier to kill.

Five years ago someone tipped off the Ontario government about mounts brought back to the province, and wildlife investigators seized video footage of the illegal hunt.

Too much time had passed to lay charges for the illegal hunting activity. 

However, investigators used unedited video footage to make their case for the illegal possession charges, according to Steve Aubry of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 

“Certainly in comparing the commercially produced episode to the raw footage, all evidence of the motorized vehicles, the snowmobiles and sleds, were certainly edited from the final product,” he says.

It’s illegal in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories to use vehicles to get within 1.5 kilometres of a muskox for the purpose of hunting. 

In a news release, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources says video footage shows muskox being herded by the guides using snowmobiles so that Pigeon can shoot them.

That footage was also edited from the final product.

“The final production depicts the hunters as engaged in a fair chase hunt while approaching the animals on foot and then shooting them,” the release says.

Pigeon pleaded guilty to the charges.

A Justice of the Peace heard the case in Milton, Ont. on May 2.

In addition to the fines, the taxidermy mounts of the animals and unedited video tapes of the hunting activities were forfeited to the Crown.

The Nunavut and N.W.T. departments of environment and Environment Canada helped with the investigation.

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