Hunters fined for illegal sheep kill

Two hunters have been fined $2,000 each and have received a one-year hunting ban for harvesting a sheep southwest of Whitehorse without proper authorization.

Two hunters have been fined $2,000 each and have received a one-year hunting ban for harvesting a sheep southwest of Whitehorse without proper authorization.

Luke Macdonald and Daniel Macdonald pleaded guilty to charges related to a hunting trip to the Alligator Lake area in 2012. The charges were laid under the territorial Wildlife Act.

During the hunt, the pair killed a sheep in a game management subzone, an important piece of sheep habitat. Only a restricted number of hunters are allowed to hunt in these zones every year, and these two did not have authorization.

Ryan Hennings, manager of enforcement and compliance with Yukon Environment, said the hunters were “inexperienced sheep hunters but experienced hunters overall.” He said they didn’t know they were in a restricted area when they hunted the sheep.

Game management subzones are generally delineated by geographic features like creeks or roadways. Yukon Environment has maps available with the boundaries marked, and Hennings said hunters can easily use Google Earth or GPS devices to make sure they’re on safe ground.

But he said these two simply transcribed the boundaries onto their own map by hand, and did it wrong.

“They didn’t really understand map-reading and they thought they were somewhere else than where they were on the map,” he said.

Hennings said it’s difficult to know how often this kind of thing happens, because the territory’s 20 conservation officers “can’t be watching everybody all the time.”

He said these two were apprehended because they posted a video of their hunting trip online, and it was seen by another hunter who recognized where they were.

In addition to the fines and the hunting ban, the pair has been instructed to attend a mandatory sheep-hunting workshop before they can obtain a sheep seal allowing them to hunt again.

Violations of the Wildlife Act and the Environment Act can be reported confidentially to the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525 or at www.env.gov.yk.ca/tipp. Hennings said such violations include illegal hunting, wasting meat, or littering.

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