Tuesday, December 14, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 50 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Xmas Hours
 
Blairmore Fish and Wildlife had their hands full this hunting season, after an unexpected surge in the number of poaching offenses was reported toward the end of the season.
Hunting season ended on November 30th for most species, and according to Fish and Wildlife Officer Andrew Gustavson, the weekend of November 27th and 28th was when poaching really got out of hand.
“Things just kind of exploded that weekend,” said Gustavson. “It was a pretty average year until the sudden spike at the end.”
This spike in poaching resulted in numerous seizures of animals and firearms, and charges are currently being laid against many of the perpetrators.
Officers seized a total of nine deer carcases, one elk, and three firearms as a result of their investigations.
Offences committed throughout the season include: seven (7) counts of illegal possession of wildlife, four (4) counts of failing to tag an animal, four (4) counts of discharging a firearm from a road, three (3) counts of allowing another to use your hunting license, three (3) counts of hunting wildlife without a license, two (2) counts of trespassing, one (1) count of failing to retain evidence of species on a big game animal, one (1) count of exporting wildlife without a permit, one (1) count of transporting wildlife without proper documents,
 
one (1) count of removing a tag from a big game animal, one (1) count of hunting on occupied land, and one (1) count of discharging a firearm within 200 yards of an occupied building.
Crowsnest Pass RCMP also arrested a poacher, with assistance from Fish and Wildlife, after the man shot a deer from the highway, toward the town of Pincher Creek.
According to Gustavson, the suspect was charged criminally for the firearm offence, and may also face wildlife charges related to the incident.
Additional cases are still being reviewed, and further investigation into these matters may result in additional charges being laid, in addition to the eight perpetrators who are currently being charged.
All of the edible meat seized was donated to local families in need, who are on Fish and Wildlife’s “meat list”.
“The officers like to take the opportunity to capitalize on this otherwise wasted meat and give it to folks whom can really use it,” said Gustavson.
He noted that concerned citizens aided in prosecuting many of the violators, with the utilization of the Report-a-Poacher program.
“Poaching is still an issue in the area,” said Gustavson, who urges the public to utilize Report-a-Poacher, toll free at 1-800-642-3800, whenever they witness a poaching offense.
Report-a-Poacher is an anonymous tip line, and witnesses may be eligible for a cash reward for information leading to prosecution.
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