By Erin Morrison
Regina Leader Post
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
An ongoing debate about more supervision for visiting bird hunters has not been resolved in time to prevent a group of American hunters from breaking 28 hunting laws in Saskatchewan.
Seven U.S. residents, from Arizona, Kentucky and California, have been ordered to pay nearly $20,000 in fines for breaking hunting laws in southwest Saskatchewan.
Among the violations was a conviction for shooting a protected species -- a rare great horned owl was shot by a member of the group.
They were also fined for exceeding daily and annual possession limits, carrying loaded firearms in a vehicle, hunting within 500 metres of occupied buildings and hunting without a licence.
"From time to time you do get a group of individuals that come up and show a total disregard for the law," said Doug Lucyshyn, a Saskatchewan Environment conservation officer.
Hal Stupenoff, executive director for the Saskatchewan Outfitters Association, said the crimes could have been prevented if Saskatchewan Environment proceeded with proposed legislation to require an outfitter to arrange trips for visiting bird hunters.
The organization representing 650 outfitters in the province has spent two years asking the province, along with the Alberta and Manitoba governments, to make outfitters mandatory for visiting bird hunters.
Outfitters are already mandatory for non-residents hunting other animals in Saskatchewan.
Along with the benefits to the outfitter businesses, Stupenoff said that hunters would then be properly informed of hunting laws in the province.
Kevin Omoth, Saskatchewan's provincial outfitting manager, confirmed "that discussion has been ongoing for many, many years," regarding requiring an outfitter.
But he doesn't expect to see any such regulation appear in the near future, he said.
"(The Saskatchewan Outfitters Association) would like to have it mandatory, and other groups don't want to have it mandatory ... I wouldn't put much more stock in it than that," he said.
The Turn In Poachers hotline gets about 1,000 calls each year reporting illegal hunting practices in the province, according to Lucyshyn.
© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2005
I think the penalites were not near enough. I think they should have been thrown into prison for 6 months time AND had them fined the amount of the cost of keeping them imprisoned on top of the game fines.
They were poachers/slobs--make an example out of them IMO.
So for the push to make it mandatory for NRs to have guides, I disagree. It cost me $800 including everything for a 1 week trip. Most outfitters at at least $300 per day and some as high as $600 Even at $300 per day that is $1800 and still does not include transportation and lic fees, it would triple the cost for me. Frankly not doable as I'm a working stiff and takes me 6 months to save for the trip the way it is. Mandatory guides would greatly discriminate against the working Joe freelancers.
So instead, how about some common sense solutions that all could live with?
Cut out the season long NR license. Do a 7 day license for NRs--that is it. No more of the crap of guys staying there for weeks on end shooting limit after limit. That is pure BS IMO.
Or do possession tags for NRs, meaning one would have to tag each bird and you are issued the tags with the lic. You get 1 possession limit total in tags. That is it. If you gift birds-it comes out of your possession tags.