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Poaching fines, hunting bans and animal rescue: busy December for B.C. Conservation Officer Service

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it helped rescue and relocate a young female cougar after it had been unintentionally caught in a trap in the Williams Lake area.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it helped rescue and relocate a young female cougar after it had been unintentionally caught in a trap in the Williams Lake area. B.C. Conservation Officer Service

It’s been a busy December for the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, and the month isn’t half over yet.

This week alone, BCCOS sent out eight social media posts via Twitter regarding fines to people and animals needing help.

The most recent post, which was posted Saturday, said a Richmond man was fined $8,000 and banned from hunting for four years in connection with shooting a mule deer doe out of season in Princeton.

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READ MORE: ‘Operation Meat Bag’ leads to 6 convictions related to N.B. Moose poaching

The BCCOS said the incident happened in November 2018 and that the man pled guilty to four counts under the Wildlife Act.

“The #BCCOS hopes this sizeable fine will help deter similar incidents from happening,” it said on its Facebook page.

On Friday, in another Twitter post, it said officers in the North Okanagan executed a search warrant at a suspect’s residence, and that multiple pieces of evidence were seized in relation to an investigation of three bull moose being poached.

Caught on video: Alleged poachers take giant B.C. sturgeon
Caught on video: Alleged poachers take giant B.C. sturgeon

On Dec. 11, it said man was convicted in Dawson Creek and issued a $2,500 fine and a three-year hunting prohibition in relation to a 2017 hunting incident.

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Also that day, it said officers are investigating two incidents on Vancouver Island.

The BCCOS said hunters in the Oceanside region recently discovered air or BB gun pellets in three deer that were harvested in the Nanoose Bay area.

And a blind fawn that had wandered into an active construction site along the 5400 block of Bayshore Drive in Nanaimo “was found to have been shot in the head with a pellet gun. It had to be euthanized due to the severity of its injuries.”

The BCCOS said it wants to emphasize that it is illegal to shoot any weapon at wildlife in a residential area, including shooting deer with a BB or pellet gun.

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“Conservation Officers suspect residents may be frustrated deer are eating their gardens, but stress the need to find legal and humane alternatives,” said the BCCOS.

In the Okanagan, the BCCOS said two out-of-season moose poaching cases led to two recent convictions.

In one case, it said a West Kelowna resident was fined $4,000 in September and banned from hunting for three years. In the other case, an individual was fined $1,500 after being convicted in Kelowna for killing a moose out of season near Jackpine Lake.

B.C. Conservation Officer Service defends killing baited bear during undercover sting
B.C. Conservation Officer Service defends killing baited bear during undercover sting

Also in the Okanagan, it said on Dec. 5 that an officer on an ice-angler patrol seized a loaded pistol from an unlicensed individual.

Not all of the BCCOS’ social media posts were negative, though. Two were positive.

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It said officers in Nanaimo safely tranquilized a deer and removed a plastic planter off its neck and legs, while officers in the Williams Lake area safely released and relocated a cougar that had been unintentionally caught in a trap.

“The young female cougar was tranquilized and taken a short distance away,” said the BCCOS. “The (officers) stayed on-site to ensure the cougar safely recovered and watched it walk away.”