Six men have been fined after an undercover investigation found evidence of unlawful outfitting.
According to a news release from the Saskatchewan government, the investigation was led by the Ministry of Environment, after the ministry became aware of an increase in illegal outfitting and hunting in the North Battleford area.
The ministry began their investigation in 2015, with undercover officers from the United States scheduling hunts with Rezz Raxx, an outfitting business based on Red Pheasant First Nation. The officers witnessed numerous instances of illegal outfitting and hunting, which has resulted in the charges against the six men.
The charges were as follows:
Lawrence Lee Meechance, age 39, was fined $17,900 for outfitting without a licence, aiding and abetting unlawful hunting near North Battleford, falsifying an export permit application and driving without a driver’s licence.
Robin D. Wuttunee, age 38, was fined $12,510 for unlawful hunting near Landis, use of a search light for hunting, unlawful hunting and hunting on posted land near Kindersley, guiding without a licence and driving without a driver’s licence.
Tyrone Adam Cuthand, age 32, was fined $10,470 for guiding without a licence near Battleford, unlawful hunting near Sonningdale, using a search light for hunting near Maymont, driving without a driver’s licence and falsifying an export permit application.
Dennis Kennedy, age 27, was fined $3,150 for aiding and abetting, carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle, guiding without a licence near Battleford, hunting on posted land near Landis, unlawful hunting near Ruthilda and driving without a driver’s licence.
Stephen A.D. Armstrong, age 28, was fined $10,000 for unlawfully hunting and hunting on posted land near Kindersley, unlawful hunting near Golden Prairie, using a search light for hunting near Gull Lake and guiding without a licence near Battleford.
Gregg John Shawn Meechance, age 28, was fined $1,120 for falsifying an export permit application.
The total amount of fines added up to $55,200 between the six men charged.
Court orders under the Wildlife Act were also put in place to restrict the six from any aspect of hunting other than on the land of their respective First Nation, and then only for subsistence. The six must also provide details on the animals killed while outfitting, make sure all their clients attend the Ministry of Enviroment office, and appear in person to swear to an affidavit that all the information of their hunt is true, and sign export permits required by their clients.
“Outfitting and guiding in unauthorized areas is a serious issue and this type of illegal activity hinders other outfitters who follow the rules,” the release stated.
“Laws to manage outfitting, outfitter allocations and areas are designed to provide effective management of wildlife populations to ensure hunting opportunities are available now and into the future.”
Members of the public are asked to call their local Ministry of Environment office if they suspect any violations of fisheries, wildlife, forestry, or environmental violations. The toll-free line for turning in poachers is 1-800-667-7561.