July 16, 2007

Hunters fined $17K for poaching endangered wild bison in northern Alberta

ASSUMPTION, ALTA-An Alberta court has levied $17,000 in penalties against two men convicted of poaching a bison calf in a remote area of northern Alberta last spring. Acting on an anonymous tip received in early April through the province's Report-A-Poacher line, Fish and Wildlife Officers with Sustainable Resource Development investigated and discovered the partial remains of the calf in an area near Assumption, Alberta, about 880 km northwest of Edmonton. The investigation led to a nearby camp. Steven Neil Dean, of Assumption, and Owen Lake Pickell, from Fort St John, British Columbia, were charged under Alberta's Wildlife Act. Pickell was fined a total $10,000 after pleading guilty to one count each of wastage and hunting wildlife where there is no season. He was also ordered to pay a total of $1,500 in victim surcharges and was suspended from holding a recreational hunting licence for six years. Dean was fined $5,000 for wastage for assisting Pickell in disposing of the bison carcass and levied a $750 victim surcharge. His recreational hunting licence was suspended for one year. Wild bison exist in Alberta only within the Hay-Zama area, which is near Assumption, and near or in Wood Buffalo National Park. In the Hay-Zama area, these animals are classified as "Endangered" under the Wildlife Act.

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