A 51-year-old Penticton man has been ordered to pay $1,495 in fines for poaching a bighorn sheep just outside the Penticton City limits.
The incident occurred just before dusk on Dec 6 off of Saliken Drive.
South Okanagan conservation officer, Bob Hamilton, says a hiker with binoculars observed the man shoot the ewe, field dress the animal and remove the meat from the site.
Hamilton says it was also determined the man shot two mule deer in the Okanagan this past hunting season. The mule deer limit is one.
He says the suspect was cooperative and, along with the fines, surrendered the meat to officers who in turn distributed it to the Salvation Army Food Bank.
"Wildlife Act fines can be quite steep," says Hamilton.
"Provincial Court judges have the discretion of levying monetary penalties anywhere from zero to $100,000 for a first offence. In this case, conservation officers took into account that the shooter was a new and inexperienced hunter - it was his first offence and he was extremely cooperative with the officers."
Hamilton says a request has also been made to the Director of Wildlife to suspend the man's hunting privileges for an as yet to be determined period of time.
He will likely be required to retake his C.O.R.E. course (Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education) after the suspension is served.
The hunting season for California Bighorn Sheep in the Okanagan is only open by way of a provincial limited entry draw (LEH), only open for rams and in the Penticton area there are only 7 LEH permits issued for the year.
There is no hunting allowed for ewes anywhere in the Okanagan.
The Penticton Conservation Officers wishes to acknowledge the efforts of the young witness who saw it as his duty to “observe, record & report” the violation.
His name will be submitted to the BCWF (BC Wildlife Federation) for a reward.
Should you witness a violation involving BC’s wildlife resources or pollution to the environment, please call the Report a Poacher or Polluter hotline @ 1-877-952-7277.
Okanagan Conservation Officers are also seeking information from the public on a possible moose poaching incident that occurred on Monday, Dec. 30. Three men were involved in the harvest of a moose just off the McCulloch Main Forest Service Road at km 11 south-east of Kelowna.
The kill location was between Grouse Forest Service Road and Browne Lake Forest Service Road.
The culprits loaded the moose and left down the 201 Forest Service road towards Penticton. Two vehicles are involved and conservation officers are asking people who may have information on the owners of these vehicles to come forward.
One of the vehicles was a dark green Jeep Rubicon and the other was an older model light green Chev pick-up truck with a large custom flat deck with short box sides.
The vehicles were travelling together. The witness does not believe the suspects are aboriginal.
If you can identify the vehicles, please contact the Conservation Officer Service @ 1-877-952-7277. The caller may wish to remain anonymous.