Canada: Alberta man fined $9K, loses hunting, guiding privileges in B.C.

https://globalnews.ca/news/8888767/alberta-man-fined-9k-b-c/

06/02/2022

An Alberta man has lost his hunting and guiding privileges in B.C. following an investigation that included cross-border help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) says Richard Todd Bunnage pled guilty in May to being involved in an illegal guiding operation by Tenaka River Guide Service in northern British Columbia.

According to the COS, in September 2018, a party of non-resident hunters were guided in several locations outside the designated guide territory. And during those hunts near Fort Nelson, a moose and a black bear were illegally harvested.

READ MORE: Leave fawns alone: B.C. Conservation Officer Service

Sparking the investigation was a pilot who discovered a moose carcass along the Muskwa River.

“A ‘trophy photo’ circulating on social media appeared to show a moose killed in the same area,” the COS said on its Facebook page.

“The pilot, suspecting the area was outside guiding territory, later flew back and retrieved what was left of the moose carcass — a leg.”

The COS said the pilot delivered the leg to conservation officers, who then identified the suspected hunter and tracked him to his home in the U.S.

Notably, the COS said the social media post was found by a complainant and forwarded it to them.

“With the assistance of officers from Utah Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a DNA sample was taken from the moose carcass in his possession,” said the COS. “It matched a sample from remains at the B.C. scene.”

The COS said officers later learned a black bear had also been illegally harvested during the same excursion.

It added that Bunnage recently pleaded guilty to making a false statement and being a party to an offence by a guide outfitter in an area outside of authorization.

“With the assistance of officers from Utah Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a DNA sample was taken from the moose carcass in his possession,” said the COS. “It matched a sample from remains at the B.C. scene.”

The COS said officers later learned a black bear had also been illegally harvested during the same excursion.

It added that Bunnage recently pleaded guilty to making a false statement and being a party to an offence by a guide outfitter in an area outside of authorization.

Along with losing his hunting and guiding privileges, the COS said Bunnage was also fined $9,200 under the B.C. Wildlife Act.

The COS said most of the fine will go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Global News has reached out to the COS for more information.

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