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Winter 2003-2004

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...or at least I do. It's taken me nine months to get to the point where 1 can sit down, put my fingers to the keyboard and actually write this article without getting totally peeved.

Back in November 20011 had a case involving numerous infractions by two duck hunters from Bourget, Ontario. The case was finally completed in February 2004. Here's what happened...

By David Critchlow, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources


Back in November 20011 had a case involving numerous infractions by two duck hunters from Bourget, Ontario. The case was finally completed in February 2004. Here's what happened...

had received several complaints about waterfowl hunting Iat the Casselman sewage lagoon, relating to both hunting after legal time and the fact that the lagoon is clearly and prominently posted against trespassing. On Saturday, November 24, 2001, I was patrolling Russell County, in which Casselman is located. After checking on some ammunition sales at a local business, relating to another investigation, I left the store at about 16:30 hrs, five minutes after sunset. I proceeded to the local Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachment to touch base with local officers, and left there shortly before 17:00 hrs. The lagoon is less than a five minute drive away so I decided I'd go check if anything was happening. I had planned to pull over nearby and listen for shots but as I approached the lagoon a vehicle behind me started flashing its lights. I continued a short distance before pulling over to let the vehicle pass. Instead, the vehicle pulled in behind me, and the driver leapt out and approached my window. He asked if I was a game warden and then told me that there were hunters in the lagoon right then.

After the complainant left me, I turned around, drove back to the lagoon and entered the laneway leading to the entry gate. It was now shortly after 17:00 hrs, and quite dark. I did not want to alert anybody in the lagoon that I was driving in, so I turned off my vehicle lights, but it was so dark I could not drive any further. I parked my vehicle in the laneway and walked the rest of the way in to the gate. I was only ten metres or so from the gate when I finally saw that there was indeed a pickup truck parked there. It was about five metres from the gate. It was now about 17:15 hrs. Using my flashlight, I was able to see that there were two soft shotgun cases, without guns in them, on the passenger side of the pickup's seat. I could also see two boxes of lead shot on the seat, one apparently empty and the other about half full.

At 17:17 hrs, I heard a gunshot coming from the lagoon. I entered the lagoon, passing between the gate and the gatepost. Both gateposts had clear "Defense de Passer" (No Trespassing) signs posted on them. Upon entering the lagoon it became apparent to me that without turning on my flashlight it would be futile to try to find anybody, so I returned to the pickup.

At 17:25 hrs I saw two people walking, silhouetted above me on the lagoon embankment. I could hear them talking and the crunch of their steps on the gravel drive. As they came level with the laneway they turned and descended towards the gate, disappearing in the dark. I heard the two of them squeeze through between the gate and the gatepost. I was standing at the driver's window of the pickup truck at this time. As soon as I was sure both persons had come through the gate, I stepped out from the driver's side, turned on my flashlight, and saw that each man was carrying an unencased shotgun. I identified myself, and ordered them to put the guns on the ground and step back. Both men were clearly startled to see me, the older of the two practically jumping off the ground. They both put their gun, and everything else they were carrying, onto the ground and backed away.




I proceeded to secure the two guns. The first one I picked up was loaded, with one steel shot shell in the chamber and a second shell, lead, in the magazine. The second gun was unloaded. I asked both men for their hunting licences and any other shells they had on their persons. Both indicated they had no more shells. One produced hunting licences and identification. The other indicated that his licences and identification were in his truck, back in Bourget. This man, the younger of the two, also indicated to me, before he was cautioned, that the shot fired was his, killing a crippled bird. The two were father and son.

On a second query as to whether the hunters had any more shells, the father, who had the unloaded firearm, pulled three more shells from his pocket. He was looking at these, not apparently prepared to hand them over, so I removed them from his possession. All three were lead shot.

At this point, I decided that there were enough violations present to keep me occupied for a while, and that I could really use some assistance in securing all my seizures while watching these two, so I called the OPP for assistance. Two officers arrived in very short order; the same two officers with whom I had been speaking when I had stopped at the detachment earlier. While one watched, the other and I searched the two hunters. No more shot shells were found on them. I proceeded to make my seizures.

Among the other items placed on the ground were a number of waterfowl carcasses. The son, holder of the loaded firearm, had put one duck on the ground. I bagged it. The father had put a goose and four ducks on the ground. These I also bagged, separately from the son's duck.

The OPP then transported the two men back to the detachment in their cruiser while I placed the seized items in my vehicle and followed them to their detachment. I did my paperwork there, including Part III summonses (for possessing un-encased firearms at night), a report-innotice for the son's licences, and seizure receipts. I forgot to put the one duck seized from the son on his seizure receipt. It was clear that they were not going to give me a statement, so I served them and let them go. The OPP drove them back to their vehicle. I then completed my paperwork and drove back to the office. I secured the firearms and other seizures and then went to clean the birds. One duck was a northern shoveller. The second bag contained one Canada goose, one mallard and three black ducks. The black duck limit in southern Ontario is one per day.

After a day off I was back in the office and seeing as I had never checked the two guns the day of the incident to see if they had been plugged I proceeded to do just that. One gun was fine; the other, the one that had been loaded, was not properly plugged and I was able to get three shells easily into the magazine. So, as I was going on holidays in three days, I got to work on my charges. The son did send in copies of his small game licence and migratory bird permit.



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"Great job…some good new ideas and good format.
Just wanted to send along my congratulations on a well-done effort."
Don Hastings, founder and former editor International Game Warden magazine.

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