Watson Lake doctor guilty of wasting meat

On Wednesday, Watson Lake doctor Said Secerbegovic was found guilty of wasting meat and fined $3,000. The 62-year-old Secerbegovic is also…

On Wednesday, Watson Lake doctor Said Secerbegovic was found guilty of wasting meat and fined $3,000.

The 62-year-old Secerbegovic is also prohibited from hunting in the territory for one year.

He was charged under the Yukon Wildlife Act after abandoning more than 30 pounds of edible sheep meat near Dog Lake in September 2005.

“He made a choice,” said presiding territorial court judge Dennis Overend.

“The wrong choice.

“He took the meat he wanted and abandoned the rest.”

Secerbegovic’s conviction stems from a hunting trip with two other men – a close friend and a Slovenian fellow known only as Duchone.

On the evening of the first day of the hunt, Secerbegovic shot a sheep, but light was waning and, after gutting the kill, they returned to camp.

It was a two-and-a-half-hour walk.

The next day, the men hiked back to the kill site. But when they arrived Duchone was looking ill, Secerbegovic told the court.

“Duchone looked grey to me; the only time I saw people looking that grey, they were having a heart attack,” he said.

He told the man not to smoke and medicated him with baby aspirin.

Then Secerbegovic began dressing the sheep.

He took 45 pounds of meat off the animal, including the head, horns and cape, which are often mounted as trophies.

He took everything he thought was “edible” he told the court.

“I was in a hurry,” he said.

“I had one eye on Duchone.

“I was so concerned about this guy, that I was going to have a death on my hands out there.”

After some failed attempts, the pilot was contacted by satellite phone and the men were flown out early.

Secerbegovic’s actions did “not show due diligence,” said Overend.

“He was not so concerned with the health of Duchone to leave all the meat behind.

“He spent considerable time cutting up the head and cape.”

Secerbegovic stated he took “all he could carry,” said Overend.

But he also described his close friend as strong, so his friend could have carried it out, added Overend.

Or Secerbegovic could have tagged the sheep with the intent of returning, he said.

“He could have taken all the edible meat and the head and cape.”

Instead, he took the meat he wanted and abandoned the rest, said Overend.

“It was a decision that was made in self-interest, not out of necessity.”

Secerbegovic does not have any prior convictions, said Overend.

“And he’s a citizen any community would desire to have.

“But he made a serious error in this particular case.”

In 2002, the maximum fine for wildlife act violations was increased to $50,000 from $10,000.

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