Conservation officers have been cracking down on illegal game hunting in the province resulting in convictions for three separate incidents.
In October of 2015 a truck was spotted driving slowly on highway 304, shining a light along the side of the road in an area that was closed to moose hunting. Officers stopped the vehicle and found two men along with two rifles and two lights on the floor of the back seat.
Dale Joseph Hardisty and David James Moneyas of Hollow Water First Nation pleaded guilty on August 8 to hunting at night with lights and hunting from a road at night. Their 2014 Nissan Titan was confiscated along with all firearms, ammunition , hunting equipment and spotlights.
The Moose Conservation Closure in this area came into effect in 2010 with the co-operation of three local Indigenous communities after aerial surveys from 2000 to 2010 showed the moose population had dropped from more than 2,300 to just over 800. Hunting, along with wolf predation and diseases related to the presence of whitetail deer, were among the contributors to population decline.
In November of 2017 a complainant called officers to report that he believed two moose had been shot on private land near Sinclair. When they arrived at the site they found hunters had started to dress an adult female moose and a female calf but fled when they saw the officers. Evidence left at the scene and witness statement led to the arrest and conviction of three suspects.
Chris Kelly of Lester Beach, Mike Harris of Belair and Jon Spence of Scanterbury pleaded guilty in March to charges of hunting wildlife on private land without permission and possessing illegally taken wildlife. The group received a total of $9,090 in fines and restitution. Kelly and Harris also received one year hunting licence suspensions. The moose carcasses were donated to a local Indigenous community.
In response to an ongoing enforcement operation, officers set up a moose decoy on highway 77 near National Mills. Monitoring of the decoy revealed a truck driving slowly by the decoy, then a rifle barrel emerging from the back window and firing at the decoy. They were quickly apprehended by the conservation officers.
Morgan Lambert of Moose Lake pleaded guilty to hunting moose in a conservation closure and discharging a firearm from a vehicle. He was ordered to pay $2,642 in fines and forfeit his rifle. Lawrence Knight of Moose Lake was found guilty of hunting moose in a conservation closure and hunting from a provincial highway and was ordered to pay $1,856 in fines.
Anyone with information about illegal activities is asked to call their local Sustainable Development office or the Turn in Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-782-0076.