MANITOBA CONSERVATION OFFICER SERVICE ENFORCEMENT UPDATE - Media Release Dec 31, 2022
Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development advises that conservation officers are continuing enforcement to protect Manitoba’s natural resources, including compliance checks for fisheries, addressing illegal and unsafe hunting, and enhancing the presence of officers in the field.
In August, Boissevain conservation officers were informed of a bull and calf elk shot on Crown land near Wawanesa. The hunter retrieved the bull elk and removed only the hind quarters of the elk calf, leaving the remainder to waste. Following an investigation, a Winnipeg man was charged on Dec. 3 with abandoning an edible portion of a big game animal. He now faces a $672 fine and a two-year big game and game bird licence suspension.
Hunting on private land without permission continues to be a common enforcement issue. On Nov. 20, an off-duty conservation officer from the Riverton compliance area saw a driver shoot a deer on private land from the road without retrieving it. The officer noted the licence plate and called on-duty officers to attend the scene. The truck and subject were located nearby and the subject’s rifle, deer tag and licence were seized. He was issued three tickets: $486 for hunting on private land without permission, $486 for discharging a rifle from a municipal road and $672 for failing to retrieve a big game animal. The accused was also required to pay restitution of $1,500 for the deer. A conviction carries a two-year hunting suspension of big game and game bird licences.
On Nov. 19, conservation officers at The Pas received a tip about a truck chasing down a whitetail deer in a field and provided the licence plate number and the name of the driver. Through investigation, it was determined the accused used a vehicle to chase and hunt the deer. The deer, a rifle and ammunition was seized, and the accused issued a $1,296 fine for pursuing big game from a vehicle.
On Dec. 5, conservation officers from the Dauphin area received information an elk may have been killed illegally. Investigation led to the discovery of packaged elk meat and the individual now faces charges under the Wildlife Act for hunting on private land without permission, discharging a firearm from a public road, possessing illegally taken wildlife, hunting without a licence and hunting from a vehicle. The elk meat was seized along with several firearms.
On Dec.11, conservation officers in Lac du Bonnet received information from a landowner about two illegally taken deer on private property. The landowner had confronted a hunter on the property, who left the scene on a snowmobile. Officers found the individual with a loaded rifle and he was unable to produce his hunting licence. As a result, the accused was fined a total of $1,458 along with having to pay $3,000 in restitution. Two whitetail deer and the rifle were seized.
On Dec. 11, Carberry conservation officers received information a hunter was shooting at a deer from a road allowance and onto private land in the Rural Municipality (RM) of North Cypress-Langford. The officer found one of the hunters shot at a deer on private land and neither hunter had permission to hunt on the land. One was subsequently charged with hunting wildlife on private land without permission. In addition to a $486 fine, the hunter faces a one-year suspension of all big game and game bird licences.
On Dec. 14, conservation officers from Riverton compliance area were conducting a big game compliance patrol for winter elk season near Fisher Branch. Officers saw two hunters dragging a whitetail fawn off a privately owned field to the roadway. During a compliance inspection, it was determined the fawn was shot and killed on private property and the shot was made from a municipal roadway. The hunters were charged with retrieving on private land without permission and illegal possession, receiving fines totalling $3,500 and restitution of $1,500 for the whitetail deer. The deer was seized as well as two rifles. The deer meat was donated to a food bank.
A number of night hunting incidents were investigated. On Oct. 26, conservation officers from the Riverton compliance saw two men in an ATV driving across private land, illegally spotlighting and sweeping a hay field. Two males from Peguis First Nation were detained at the scene and their hunting equipment seized. The pair must now appear in court to face charges of night hunting and hunting on private land without permission.
On Oct. 31, conservation officers from the Swan River and Dauphin compliance areas heard a rifle shot and observed four men dragging a deer carcass to a truck. With the help of a helicopter and a K9 unit, the four were apprehended, and their truck seized along with three deer, two spotlights and a rifle. All four men were charged with illegally hunting at night and possession of illegally taken wildlife, willfully obstructing a peace officer and each is required to pay $1,500 in restitution.
On Nov. 26, Riverton compliance area was conducting an aerial patrol for illegal night hunting. The helicopter located an illegal spotlight working less than three miles northeast of Chatfield off municipal roads on private land. The truck was located at a hunt camp with two suspects nearby who admitted their offences. A third suspect left the area without apprehension. The two suspects were ordered to appear in court. Conservation officers are working to identify and locate the third suspect. The truck and various hunting equipment were seized.
On Nov. 11 in the Sandilands Provincial Forest in the RM of Reynolds, conservation officers stopped a vehicle and discovered a processed untagged whitetail deer in the rear compartment. The driver had no hunting licence or game tags with him. The deer was seized and he was issued a $174 ticket for failing to carry the required licence and a second ticket of $203 for failing to attach the tag to a big game animal.
While conducting a decoy operation in southeastern Manitoba during the deer-hunting season, conservation officers saw two hunters stop on the road and walk back to the whitetail decoy. A female hunter knelt on one knee in the middle of the road and shot twice at the decoy. Officers stopped the individuals and issued the shooter a $486 ticket for shooting from a public road within a municipality.
On Nov. 16, conservation officers in Beausejour were told an individual near Elma was offering to shoot deer for anyone who had a deer licence. Investigation led to a recently harvested whitetail deer that was picked up by another person at the hunter’s residence. That person attached his deer tag to the animal before loading it into his vehicle and leaving. The deer was seized and both individuals were fined a total of $970 for using a licence issued to another person and possessing big game with a tag not used to harvest the animal. The investigation also revealed a third person had also received a deer from the individual. That individual was fined a total of $672 for possessing a big game animal with a tag not used to harvest the animal.
Officers were also involved in animal rescue situations. On Nov. 19, conservation officers from The Pas compliance area responded to a call regarding a whitetail deer on the ice at Rocky Lake. With assistance The Pas Fire Department and some members of the public, the deer was removed from the lake and redirected to safety.
While the vast majority of hunters follow safety rules, dangerous hunting is a major concern to enforcement. On Nov. 20, a hunter called conservation officers from Dauphin to report someone got out of a vehicle and shot a deer from the road in the RM of Gilbert Plains. The hunter was in a blind and directly in the line of fire. An occupied residence was also in the direction the suspect was shooting. Officers later located a vehicle matching the description given by the hunter. The vehicle’s two occupants were charged with dangerous hunting, hunting from a vehicle, discharging a firearm from a public road, hunting on private land without permission, possessing illegally taken wildlife and failing to attach a game tag to the animal. The deer and firearm were seized and a restitution notice issued.
On Dec. 12, Boissevain conservation officers received a call about dangerous hunting activity. The caller reported being out in a field and hearing a rifle shot in his immediate area, believing someone had shot directly at him. An officer stopped a vehicle matching the description provided and located a rifle inside. Neither suspect had permission to hunt on the private property in question or any other private property in the area. It was also determined one suspect had discharged the firearm from the municipal roadway. Both men, from the RM of Killarney-Turtle Mountain, were found to be prohibited from possessing firearms and the driver disqualified from operating a motor vehicle. With help from the RCMP, both suspects were arrested at the scene. The vehicle driver was charged for offences under the Wildlife Act, the Highway Traffic Act, the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. The passenger was charged with one criminal offence.
On Nov. 23, conservation officers from the Dauphin and Swan River areas conducted two simultaneous search warrants on two residences in Crane River. A report led officers to believe a bull moose had been taken illegally in Saskatchewan and illegally transported back into Manitoba. During the search, officers located and seized moose meat and a truck. RCMP officers found and seized approximately 12 firearms. Two people were arrested and later released, and must appear in court at a later date.
Anyone with information on illegal activities is asked to call their local Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development office or the Turn in Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-782-0076.