Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development are reporting that conservation officers, through a variety of enforcement activities, have fined numerous individuals for illegal activities during the fall months of 2022.
On Sept. 28 near Churchill, conservation officers were conducting regular hunter compliance checks when a local tourism operator was observed providing a polar bear viewing walking tour near a polar bear mother and her cub. The operator was observed without any means of deterring the bear if it were to approach and allowing clients to be spread out on foot, potentially exposed to a bear attack. Officers charged the tourism operator with failure to comply with the polar bear safety conditions on their resource tourism operators licence. On Nov. 9, the ecotourism operator attended court and was found guilty, receiving an $802 fine.
On Oct. 16, a conservation officer from Riverton conducted a stop on a truck in the Broad Valley area. While speaking to the driver, the officer observed a rifle in the passenger area and asked the driver to exit the truck to inspect the rifle. Instead, the driver fled. The officer obtained the plate number and identified the driver. The driver was issued a serious offence notice for flee from police under the Criminal Code and a ticket for fail to allow officer to inspect firearm under the Wildlife Act for $672.
On Oct. 22, conservation officers from the Sprague area, in collaboration with RCMP, were conducting hunter inspections. During a traffic stop, officers found a loaded firearm in a vehicle. Further investigation revealed the individual was trapping prior to the traffic stop and did not have a valid trapper’s licence or a valid possession acquisition licence. The individual was fined $723 for having a loaded firearm in a vehicle and trapping without a licence. The firearm was also seized.
On Oct. 25, a conservation officer from Riverton district received a call regarding shots heard at Blacks Point cottage subdivision at Grindstone Provincial Park. The officer attended and located a suspect retrieving a buck white-tailed deer he just shot. An investigation revealed the suspect had illegally hunted and killed the buck deer near illegal bait. Officers located corn and beans used as an attractant. It is illegal to use any attractant for cervids. The suspect was issued two tickets for hunting within 800 metres of a cervid bait under the General Hunting Regulation and fined $672, and illegal possession of a big game animal under the Wildlife Act and fined $1,296. He was issued a restitution notice for the illegally killed white-tailed buck. If convicted, he would face another $3,000 penalty. The suspect was also issued a written warning for failing to notch his deer tag.
On Oct. 27, conservation officers conducted a patrol to target illegal night hunting northeast of Roblin. Officers observed a northbound vehicle on Provincial Road 584 that pulled into a field, made a loop and then continued on. When the vehicle then pulled into a second field, officers saw a spotlight being used to illuminate the field from the window of the vehicle. The vehicle continued driving around the field while using the spotlight. Officers stopped the vehicle and two male occupants, one from Winnipeg and the other from the Roblin area, were arrested for night hunting. Officers seized the firearm, hunting gear, as well as the vehicle. Both individuals were issued court appearance notices for illegally hunting at night with lights.
Conservation officers from Riverton received complaints about illegal commercial fishing at Calders Dock after the Lake Winnipeg commercial fishing season ended Oct. 30. On Oct. 31, conservation officers from the Ashern Compliance Area and Special Investigations Unit set up surveillance. A known commercial fisher and his helper were observed pulling nets from the harbour at Calders Dock approximately 50 metres from shore. Later that morning, the commercial fisher and helper were observed delivering the fish from the nets to Lake St. Martin Freshwater Fish Marketing shed. Conservation officers attended and seized all fish.
The fisher and helper were each issued tickets for commercial fishing during a closed season under Manitoba Fishery Regulations and fined $502. In addition, officers discovered the fisher, who was driving, was subject to an indefinite driving suspension. He was issued a ticket for driving while disqualified under the Highway Traffic Act and fined $672. The truck was seized and impounded. Another commercial fisher and a helper who also assisted were issued written warnings for commercial fishing during a closed season.
The accused fisher was previously ticketed on June 5 for the same two offences, for delivering fish well in advance of the start of the Lake Winnipeg commercial fishing season.
On Nov. 5, 2021, a conservation officer from Riverton found an illegal cervid bait west of Inwood. On Nov. 14, 2022, the officer was conducting white-tailed deer rifle season compliance patrols on opening day of rifle season. The officer checked on the illegal bait site area from the previous year and saw a truck parked nearby. The officer followed fresh boot prints in the snow and located a hunter in a plywood tree stand, near the illegal bait. The officer confirmed that a fresh illegal bait site was in the same location as last year, approximately 100 metres from the tree stand. A trail camera was facing the illegal bait site on the same fence pole as last year. The officer seized the hunter’s rifle, which contained four live .308 rifle cartridges, as well as a sample of the bait and the trail camera. It is illegal to use an attractant for big game. This practice of illegal baiting can also create concentrations of deer, where disease can more easily spread.
Anyone with information on illegal activity is asked to call a local Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development office or the Turn in Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-782-0076.