Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development advises that conservation officers are continuing enforcement to protect Manitoba’s natural resources, including compliance checks for fisheries, addressing illegal hunting, and supporting wildfire prevention and suppression, and additional officers are now in the field.
Five conservation officer recruits who have been training over the last year are now full-time conservation officers and are working in the field. In addition, six new conservation officer recruits recently started core-skills training in Winnipeg. Following that, the recruits will head out to the field in October for on-the-job training and will soon join enforcement efforts provincewide. These officers provide support for ongoing enforcement efforts around the province.
On Sept. 7, conservation officers patrolling in an area north of Roblin saw someone shining a spotlight into the fields along the road. Officers pulled over the vehicle and arrested three adult males for hunting at night. Two firearms, two spotlights, numerous hunting-related items, as well as a 2021 Ford F-150 pickup truck, were seized.
On Sept. 5, conservation officers set up an elk decoy in the Carberry area to combat illegal road hunting and hunting on private land without permission. Officers were watching as a vehicle approached and the passenger fired two shots at the decoy with a high-powered rifle. The vehicle fled but was pulled over, and the passenger was charged with hunting on private land without permission and discharging a rifle from a public road within a municipality, and the rifle was seized.
Later that same day, another group of hunters approached the decoy. One man left the vehicle, climbed over a fence and aimed his rifle at the decoy while another tried to call the elk. Officers laid a charge of hunting on private land without permission and seized the rifle.
On Aug. 13, Neepawa conservation officers responded to a tip about individuals hunting on private land without permission within the Rural Municipality of North Cypress-Langford. Using cellphone video of suspects loading a whitetail deer into the back of a truck, officers were able to identify the individuals involved in the offence. Charges of hunting on private land without permission and restitution for the illegal killing of the animal have been served on two of the individuals and are pending against a third.
Following a lengthy investigation that began in September 2019, based on a tip about hunting on private land without permission and social media posts by the suspect, conservation officers from East Selkirk were able to lay charges and recently the suspect pled guilty. Conservation officers found that a whitetail deer had been killed and cleaned near two camouflage hunting blinds and a pile of crab apples set up on property where the landowner had not given permission to hunt.
Based on interviews and internet search evidence of a hunter who had posted photos with a deer in the area, officers obtained a search warrant and found a deer mount that matched the animal in the photo and deer meat, as well as several cameras and memory cards. In June 2021, Keith Lovelace pled guilty to hunting within 800 metres of a cervid bait. He was fined $900 and ordered to pay restitution of $3,000 for the whitetail deer.
Anyone with information on illegal activities is asked to call their local Manitoba Conservation and Climate office or the Turn in Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-782-0076.