A pair of investigations in the North Battleford area have resulted in fines for illegal hunters and guides.
According to a press release issued by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, the two investigations took place in the last four years. The first began back in November of 2013, after a bull moose was poached on private land in the Eagle Creek area, east of Struan, around 80 kilometres southeast of North Battleford.
Following the poaching, a First Nations outfitter and his American client acquired a permit to export a set of moose antlers, stating that the moose had been taken on First Nations land. However, after DNA analysis comparing the moose remains to antlers seized in West Virginia, it was determined both samples were from the same unlawfully taken moose.
71 year old Daniel Shriver, of Valley Grove, West Virginia, had plead guilty to unlawful hunting, unlawful possession, and providing false information to a wildlife officer. He was fined $3,260.
37 year old Stewart Baptiste of Cando, Saskatchewan, has plead guilty to outfitting without a license endorsed for that activity, and providing false information to a wildlife officer. He was fined $5,920.
Baptiste also received a court order under The Wildlife Act restricting him from being in the company of anyone involved in any aspect of hunting other than on the lands of a First Nation in Saskatchewan, or in the company of another treaty person hunting for subsistence.
He will also have to provide details and information on all animals killed while outfitting, ensure that all his clients attend a Ministry of Environment office, and appear in-person to swear an affidavit that all the information and details of the hunt are true. He must also sign export permits required by clients. The conditions will last for the next five years.
Additionally in 2016, Baptiste was caught guiding an American resident in the Sonningdale area in September. He was fined $3000, and charged for unlawful guiding.
The second investigation into illegal outfitting began in December of 2016, after conservation officers in North Battleford conducted a compliance check south of the city.
After the conclusion of that investigation, Brett Zeis, age 30, of Langdon, North Dakota, pleaded guilty to having a loaded firearm in a vehicle and to unlawful hunting and was fined $1,880. 32 year old George Keewatin, from Kamsack, Saskatchewan, plead guilty to unlawful guiding, and was fined $10,000.
Keewatin will face the same conditions imposed on Baptiste. The conviction was his second for unlawful guiding in 2016.
The release states that unauthorized guiding and outfitting is a serious issue, with the illegal activity hindering outfitters who follow the rules.
If you suspect fisheries, wildlife, forestry or environmental violations, please call your local Ministry of Environment office, Saskatchewan’s toll-free Turn In Poachers line at 1-800-667-7561 or #5555 for SaskTel cellular subscribers, or report a violation online at www.saskatchewan.ca/tip. You may be eligible for cash rewards from SaskTip Reward Program.