A Whitehorse Copper resident is protesting the way conservation officers treated him after he killed two wolves that were sighted near his property.
Clayton Thomas shot the wolves last month because he believed they killed his friend’s two dogs, he said. He knew he was breaking the law – the season for hunting wolves ends on March 31.
He has been charged with illegal hunting under the Wildlife Act.
Still, Thomas insists it was the right thing to do. He wanted to protect his neighbourhood before someone got hurt, he said.
“I did this for a reason. I knew what I was doing the minute I left here and grabbed my gun,” said Thomas. “I knew that I was going to get caught. I knew what I was doing was right. And I knew that I was breaking the law. I’m going to pay the price, but I know I’m right.”
Thomas has been hunting and trapping his whole life. He knows the wolves killed the dogs because he found them in the same place where the dogs were killed, he said.
“I’m not a wolf-kill advocate. I’m not here trying to think that we should fly helicopters around and shoot wolves,” he said. “That’s not my stance. My stance is that you should be able to protect your family and your property.”
Yet his decision to shoot the wolves resulted in what Thomas sees as an unreasonable violation of his personal property.
Conservation officers came to his house on May 3. They took his guns, hunting equipment, computer and cellphone. There were 47 items seized. A warrant gave conservation officers the authority to take computers and cellphones, which may contain digital recordings or photographs.
Some of the items the conservation officers took belong to Thomas’s wife, he said. She hasn’t been able to get them back, and he doesn’t think that’s right. There needs to be a disciplinary process in place for conservation officers, he said. He’s starting a petition to gather support.
Environment Yukon will not comment on this incident because it is still being investigated, said spokesperson Nancy Campbell. But there is a process for handling complaints against conservation officers, she said.
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