4 US hunters fined a total of $8,000

SASKATOON, Sask. - October 10, 2012 - Four waterfowl hunters from Indiana, United States, pleaded guilty on September 27, 2012 in Saskatoon Provincial Court to three counts each under the Migratory Birds Regulations of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and were fined a total of $8,000.

On early Tuesday morning, September 25, 2012, north of Zelma, Saskatchewan, Environment Canada Wildlife Officers carried out an inspection of a group of five waterfowl hunters following surveillance of their activities. It was determined that the group had contravened a number of Migratory Bird Regulations. 

The wildlife officers determined that the hunters had shot but subsequently failed to retrieve eight white geese, two of which were crippled and still alive. The hunters had also hidden 11 white geese in a nearby slough prior to being approached by the officers. It was found that the hunters had shot 166 white geese, mostly Ross Geese and some Snow Geese. The daily limit for white geese in Saskatchewan is 20 per hunter; therefore the hunters had shot 66 birds over their daily limit.

On Wednesday, September 26, 2012 hunters Ralph Downing Jr., Thomas J. Ehrsam, Thomas A. Vater, and Kevin D. Stratton were each formally charged in Saskatoon with three counts under the Migratory Birds Regulations. The fifth hunter was not charged.

On Thursday, September 27, 2012, all four accused attended Saskatoon Provincial Court, pleaded guilty and were each fined $500 for exceeding the daily bag limit of white geese, $500 for continuing to hunt after the bag limit was reached and $1,000 for failing to immediately retrieve crippled birds. Total fines of $8,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund. The seized white geese were ordered forfeited to the Crown, and all four convicted hunters are subject to an automatic one-year hunting suspension.

The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment Canada, and it provides a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment.

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