A Dawson City man was sentenced to 45 days in prison earlier this month for hunting a moose in the dark near a subdivision outside Dawson.
It’s rare for someone to be imprisoned for a violation of the Yukon Wildlife Act, but the man, Denis Sevigny, requested imprisonment rather than a fine when he pleaded guilty to reckless use of a firearm and exceeding his bag limit, said Kirby Meister, the conservation officer who investigated the case.
The shooting occurred on September 20, 2008, near Henderson’s Corner, about 20 kilometres outside Dawson City along the Klondike Highway.
Conservation officers charged Sevigny, 49, with four offences. Two of these charges were later dropped by the Crown in a plea bargain – of hunting after dark and hunting near a residential area.
The shooting occurred two hours after sunset. Hunting is prohibited one hour after sunset.
“It was black dark,” said Meister.
And, while hunters are forbidden to shoot within one kilometre of a house, Sevigny was found to be within that distance of eight houses, said Meister.
Sevigny, who had a licence, had shot a moose one week earlier. Licensed hunters are limited to shooting one moose a year.
Whether Sevigny actually shot the second moose is unclear. He said he wounded the animal, but the moose was never found.
Besides jail-time, Sevigny’s sentence also includes a three-year suspension of his hunting licence. After this period, Sevigny will need to complete a hunting safety course before he’s issued a new licence.
The last time Meister knows of someone doing jail-time for a hunting offence was in the mid-1990s.
Both of the offences Sevigny was convicted of carry maximum penalties of a $50,000 fine and one year imprisonment.
Sentences vary considerably. Sevigny’s sentence was “close to the upper end of the seriousness scale,” said Meister.
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