Lower Mainland men slapped with fines for hunting mule deer in Osoyoos neighbourhood

Hunted deer near houses

Two Lower Mainland men were sentenced to pay fines in provincial court in Penticton Wednesday after hunting a mule deer just 200 metres from residences in Osoyoos in 2018.

Shojaa Irtaish, 53, pleaded guilty Wednesday to single counts of hunting without reasonable consideration for the lives, safety or property of other persons and hunting with a firearm without a license, both charges under the Wildlife Act.

Irtaish was using the license to hunt mule deer which belonged to co-accused Ayad Abdul-Majid, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of allowing a license to be used by another person under the Wildlife Act.

Both Irtaish and Abdul-Majid were on a hunting trip in Osoyoos on Sept. 22, 2018 when a mule deer was shot on private property, and died on an adjacent private property. Irtaish and Abdul-Majid approached to property owner to ask permission to harvest the deer that day, and an investigation was launched by a conservation officer after the property owner contacted authorities.

Irtaish fired two rifle rounds within 200 metres of the private property, said Crown counsel Dan Blumenkrans during sentencing submissions.

“This is largely the reason why this is dangerous hunting, your honour. We’re dealing with private property where individuals are being affected by the hunting and certainly at least in the context of hunting, 200 metres from a house is considered to be a dangerous distance,” Blumenkrans said, adding there were signs that the area was private property including barbed wire fencing and the cul de sac style road and homes nearby in the area.

While Abdul-Majid did have a license to hunt a mule deer, it was not transferable to Irtaish.

Judge Cathy Heinrichs said 200 metres from a residential area  “is clearly too close to be discharging weapons,” while handing down her sentence Wednesday.

Both Irtaish and Abdul-Majid expressed remorse saying they had learned their lesson while appearing by phone during the call-in sentencing hearing. Neither have prior records, and both represented themselves in court.

“This hunting issue was my first time and my last time as well. I feel responsible for my acts and I feel bad about it. I learn from my mistakes,” Irtaish said.

Irtiash was sentenced to pay the Crown recommended fines of $3,500, with $950 being contributed to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. Abdul-Majid was fined a total of $1,000 with $950 also going to the conservation organization which directs funds for the protection of wildlife and habitats in B.C.

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