Illegal hunting in Stettler area nets 13 people more than $63K in fines
Licence suspensions total 31 years, Alberta Fish and Wildlife says
Thirteen people have been found guilty in a plethora of hunting and wildlife act offences, most of which occurred while they hunted with an Indigenous person in order "to disguise their illegal activities," says a news release from Alberta Fish and Wildlife.
In total, $63,590 in fines were handed out last year to 13 men and women, most of whom have also been banned from recreational hunting for anywhere between one and six years. Combined, the hunting licence suspensions total 31 years, said the news release, which was posted Tuesday to the Fish and Wildlife Facebook page.
The investigation into the activities, which for the most part involved harvesting elk, deer, moose and antelope out of season or without proper licences, began in 2017 in the Stettler, Alta., area, about 185 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.
"It is our hope that these significant fines serve as a strong deterrent to any would-be poachers," the news release said.
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The Indigenous individual has a constitutionally protected right to hunt, said the release.
Officers determined that the meat from some of the illegally harvested trophy animals was trafficked.
As well, one of the incidents involved an American citizen from Kansas, who was unlawfully guided on a moose and antelope hunt.
The list of offences included:
- hunting without a licence;
- allowing another person to use their licence;
- using another licence;
- hunting during a closed season;
- unlawful possession of wildlife;
- unlawful trafficking of wildlife;
- hunting big game as a non-resident alien without an outfitter-guide;
- providing guiding services to a non-resident alien without an outfitter-guide permit, and;
- guiding for reward without a licence.