October 31, 2005

Hunters, guides fined $36K for violating federal, Saskatchewan wildlife laws

CUMBERLAND HOUSE, SASK-Fines totalling $36,000 were imposed on four Saskatchewan men, including a waterfowl outfitter and three guides, after they pleaded guilty to 56 counts of violating federal and Saskatchewan wildlife legislation in connection with illegal waterfowl hunting and guiding activities in the Cumberland Marsh area of Saskatchewan. Gary Carrière, Delvin Laliberté, Cory McKenzie and Claude Dussion pleaded guilty in March 2005 to a total of 51 counts under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act and five counts under the Saskatchewan Wildlife Act. The charges related to aiding, abetting and counseling others to hunt over legal limits of waterfowl; failing to retrieve dead and wounded birds; using a power boat to disturb wildlife; and failure to report contraventions. The violations occurred in 2002 and 2003 while the accused were guiding American waterfowl hunters in the Cumberland House area, about 400 km northeast of Saskatoon. The charges were laid by Environment Canada and Saskatchewan Environment after a two-year investigation conducted jointly with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The investigation, dubbed "Operation Overboard," also resulted in four North Carolina hunters being fined $27,000 after pleading guilty to nine counts of violating federal and provincial wildlife legislation. The hunters also donated $4,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund in exchange for the return of some seized equipment. Additional equipment with an estimated value of $10,500 was forfeited, including firearms and clothing. As well, three hunters from South Carolina were fined a total of $2,570 for similar offences they committed while hunting in the area in 2002. The charges related to ignoring laws, encouraging clients to shoot up to three times their daily limit of ducks, and often not retrieving birds that were shot. Evidence presented by the Crown indicated these activities had been going on for ten years.

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