Released on September 9, 2021
An Alberta couple recently pleaded guilty in St. Walburg provincial court to several hunting offences, including misrepresenting their place of residence, lying to a conservation officer and improperly harvesting and tagging game. The pair was fined a total of $14,340, concluding a long and complex investigation that was set in motion by a decision to use a cell phone while driving.
On November 22, 2020, a conservation officer patrolling near Turtleford noticed a driver using his phone and stopped the vehicle, which contained two occupants. During the stop, the officer found a harvested white-tailed doe with improperly applied seals.
Further investigation confirmed that both individuals had obtained multiple Saskatchewan resident hunting licences, despite being Alberta residents since 2018. As well, the couple provided false information about where and when several deer had been harvested, and tried to enlist another person to commit an illegal act to cover up the deceptions.
Richard Bannister of Veteran, Alberta, was fined $10,750 for:
- The non-resident purchase of a Saskatchewan resident hunting licence (four counts);
- Providing false information to a conservation officer;
- Unlawful hunting (three counts);
- Failing to possess a valid firearm licence;
- Illegal export of game; and
- Using a cell phone while driving.
Valerie Lavelle, also of Veteran, Alberta, was fined $3,590 for:
- The non-resident purchase of a Saskatchewan resident hunting licence (three counts);
- Providing false information to a conservation officer; and
- Allowing another person to use their seal.
The court also imposed a three-year hunting suspension for Bannister and Lavelle.
If you suspect wildlife, fisheries, forestry or environmental violations, please call Saskatchewan's toll-free Turn In Poachers and Polluters line at 1-800-667-7561, or text #5555 for SaskTel cellular subscribers. Violations can also be reported online at www.saskatchewan.ca/tipp.
You may be eligible for cash rewards from the SaskTip Reward Program.
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