Manitoba convicts, pulls licences of hunting outfitters following Wildlife Act violations
Two Manitoba hunting outfitters have been fined thousands of dollars and lost their licences after a four-year investigation revealed numerous violations of the wildlife act.
Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development said it started on Sept. 27, 2019, when a hunter from Iowa was crossing back into the U.S. through the Pembina, North Dakota port of entry. Inspectors found two raw black bear hides, one had a game tag on it, but the other did not. Both hides were seized and the Manitoba Conservation Officer Service began its investigation.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Environment Department and Environment and Climate Change Canada became involved. The investigation uncovered numerous violations of the Wildlife Act in Manitoba, as well as other infractions.
The joint investigation, called Operation Crossing Line, focused on two specific outfitting companies based near Grandview, Man. Investigators found that several American hunters using these outfitters had hunted black bears in the wrong Game Hunting Area (GHA). As well, officers determined that on five occasions, clients of the two outfitters illegally hunted a second bear.
Two American clients of the outfitters have been convicted of violations of the Lacey Act. The first case involved a hunter who tried to bring an illegally killed black bear into the U.S. The second hunter obtained another licence under a false name to hunt a second black bear.
The hunters were fined $7,500 and $5,000 fines, respectively. They both also received one year of unsupervised probation.
As well, a taxidermist was fined $730 for lying to investigators.
The owner of Royal Elk Outfitting has pleaded guilty to 15 counts of violating the Wildlife Act and was fined $10,000. The owner of South Park Outfitters pleaded guilty to 11 counts and received a $2,000 fine. Both operators have had their licences cancelled.
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