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Poachers Fined $45,700

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THUNDER BAY, ON  -----  April 21, 2011 ------  Seven southern Ontario residents have been fined a total of $36,500 for 30 offences relating to illegal hunting, and were ordered to pay an additional $9,200 in applicable court costs.

 Six men and one woman pleaded guilty to numerous offences under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act related to the poaching of three adult moose and a deer in the Dog River Road area, Thunder Bay District. 

 Scott Walker of Badjeros was fined a total of $14,000 for hunting a bull moose, two cow moose and a white-tailed deer during the closed season, possessing and abandoning the illegally killed animals, unlawfully using another person’s licence and obstructing a conservation officer. His rifle was forfeited to the Crown and his hunting licence was suspended for 10 years.

 George Speer of Priceville was fined a total of $5,500 for unlawfully possessing illegally killed animals, unlawful abandonment and knowingly making a false statement to a conservation officer.

 Johan Speer of Dundalk was fined a total of $5,000 for unlawfully possessing illegally killed animals, unlawfully enabling the use of his licence and knowingly making a false statement to a conservation officer.

 Lyle Reynolds of Dundalk was fined a total of $5,000 for unlawfully possessing illegally killed animals, unlawful abandonment and knowingly making a false statement to a conservation officer.

 Geordan Speer of Priceville was fined a total of $4,000 for unlawfully possessing illegally killed animals and unlawful abandonment.

 Beverly Speer of Priceville was fined $1,500 for knowingly making a false statement to a conservation officer. 

 Johnathon Speer of Dundalk was fined $1,500 for unlawfully possessing illegally killed animals. His hunting licence was suspended for two years.

 All meat from the animals was unlawfully abandoned and ultimately became unsuitable for human consumption.

 The court heard that on October 12, 2008, Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers came in contact with some members of the group while conducting a routine check on Highway 17, west of Schreiber. The officers inspected two adult moose in their possession. Investigation later revealed that Scott Walker, George Speer and Geordan Speer were travelling in a separate vehicle and had abandoned additional illegally killed moose and a white-tailed deer.

 Four days later, the Ontario Provincial Police investigated a complaint from the public regarding rotting meat abandoned behind a Schreiber business and alerted the Ministry of Natural Resources. Conservation officers used DNA, forensic ballistics, search warrants, photography and physical evidence to link all the abandoned animals to the same group.

 The investigation revealed that Scott Walker had independently killed a bull moose, two cow moose and a white-tailed deer prior to open hunting season. To cover up this fact, the group made false statements to the investigating officers. George Speer, Geordan Speer, and Scott Walker also abandoned and hid the illegally killed moose and deer meat in an attempt to obstruct the investigation.

 Over 20 officers from three different Ministry of Natural Resources units were involved in the investigation, as well as Ministry of Revenue special investigations officers who specialize in searching computers, cameras and digital media.

 Justice of the Peace Ray Zuliani heard four of the cases in the Ontario Court of Justice, Thunder Bay, on April 1, 2011. Justice of the Peace John Guthrie heard the other three cases in the Ontario Court of Justice, Thunder Bay, on April 6, 2011.

 To report a natural resources violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours.  You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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