Wasted meat leads to hefty fines for hunter and guide

An American hunter and his B.C. guide have been fined $11,500 and $15,000 respectively, following a 2011 Yukon hunt.

An American hunter and his B.C. guide have been fined $11,500 and $15,000 respectively, following a 2011 Yukon hunt.

Abraham Dougan, of Kamloops, B.C., and Brian Tallerico, of Etna, Wyoming, pleaded guilty to two charges each under the Yukon’s Wildlife Act.

Both men admitted to wasting game meat and hunting less than six hours after getting off a non-commercial flight.

Prosecutor Lee Kirkpatrick called the 2011 hunt a “train wreck waiting to happen.”

Dougan, an experienced licenced guide, and Tallerico, an experienced hunter, were hunting in August 2011 near Fox Mountain with a photographer and an assistant.

In the end the hunter killed a caribou, sheep, moose and grizzly bear on what was designed to be a remote backpack hunt.

That’s enough game to equal more than 700 pounds, or 300 kilograms, of meat, the court heard Tuesday. Instead, they came out with about 200 pounds, or 90 kilograms.

Tallerico pleaded guilty to wasting the sheep and moose meat. Dougan pleaded guilty to wasting the meat from a caribou, sheep and moose.

Kirkpatrick said Tallerico, 43, was looking to hunt the stone sheep as part of what is known as a “grand slam.” That means a hunter has killed a Rocky Mountain sheep, a desert mountain sheep, a Dall sheep and a stone sheep.

Killing the stone sheep means Tallerico had completed two of the four in his years as a hunter.

The hunt started on Aug. 16, 2011. Moments after landing in the area, the caribou was photographed, territorial court judge Peter Chisholm heard.

Within an hour and a half it had been killed.

The group left that carcass in bags under rocks and brush.

Yukon law requires that a hunter wait at least six hours after getting off a non-commercial flight before they kill any game. The rule is aimed at ensuring there is a more fair chase.

The hunter and guide initially told conservation officers the caribou was taken the day after the group landed.

On the 20th, Tallerico shot and killed a grizzly bear. The next day was a stone sheep.

By the time the group got back to the original site the next day, the caribou was unsalvageable.

Tallerico later shot a moose.

When the group returned to Whitehorse to report the hunt, conservation officers became suspicious of how little meat they had brought out.

Everyone cooperated with officials and led the conservation officers back to the kill sites, the court heard.

Neither Tallerico nor Dougan, 39, appeared in court yesterday.

The large fines were part of a joint submission from the Crown and the men’s lawyers.

The case was scheduled to go to trial starting yesterday and continuing for the rest of the week.

Both lawyers for the men said their clients were incredibly remorseful after what happened.

In making his final ruling, Chisholm said Tallerico showed a “serious lack of judgment.”

Chisholm agreed with the $11,500 fine. He pointed out that Tallerico has no previous record and has apologized for what happened.

In the case of Dougan, who received the $15,000 fine, Chisholm said the guide in this situation was the one with the greatest expertise.

Chisholm acknowledged that Dougan too was remorseful and had no previous record.

Tallerico has been banned from hunting in the Yukon for 10 years. Dougan is banned from hunting or guiding in the territory for 20 years.

All the wildlife, including the trophies from the caribou, sheep, grizzly bear and moose, were ordered forfeit.

The fines will be going to the Yukon Fish and Game Association’s Turn in Poachers & Polluters fund.

The court heard that Tallerico has already written a cheque to pay his full fine. Dougan paid $10,000 of the $15,000 fine. He has one year to pay the rest.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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