Shoots moose, left it to die

Alanna Kelly

A Surrey man has been given a $10,000 penalty after he shot a moose and left it to suffer for 36 hours before it died in Beaverdell.

Marius Vasile, 55, appeared in Kelowna Law Courts on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to hunting and killing wildlife out of season, failing to report the location of killed wildlife, and failing to retrieve wildlife. 

The incident unfolded on Nov. 2, 2017. Court heard Vasile saw the moose but because it was snowing couldn’t determine if it was in season to hunt. Only a two-point moose was in season to hunt in the Okanagan from Nov. 1 to 15.

He took the shot anyway, while the five-point moose's head was down. 

Crown counsel Dan Blumenkrans said Vasile’s lack of knowledge showed a disregard for regulations and that he committed a cardinal sin of hunting.

“(The) shot was made deliberately, and he failed to ascertain what he was shooting,” said Blumenkrans. “There was unnecessary suffering that came to this animal.”

Vasile left the moose, knowing it was wounded, and he then returned with another hunter an hour later. Hunters are required to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters line after a mistake is made, at 1-877-952-7277.

Vasile left the moose to struggle, didn’t report it to conservation officers and even stopped for lunch in Kelowna before driving home to Surrey. 

On his route home, he would have passed numerous Conservation offices, where he could have reported the offence, but he didn’t.

After being warned by the fellow hunter to report himself, Vasil made contact with conservation officers the next day. 

Conservation officer Ken Owens says the most disturbing part of this investigation was that the animal was subject to unnecessary pain and suffering. 

"If a call had been promptly made to the RAPP line, we would have ensured that animal was humanly euthanized,” said Owens.

A necropsy on the moose stated it died just before midnight the day after it was shot. Struggling for hours, the wounded animal dug a two foot deep hole.

The report found the animal would have suffered significant pain, would have been in shock and significant distress. The animal was injured, and part of its body was paralyzed.

Justice Monica McParland fined Vasile $1,500 and he must also make an $8,500 payment to the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. He is also banned from hunting in B.C. for three years and had to forfeit his firearm. 

“Impact on the environment is critical that we denounce this conduct for the sake of the perseveration of these species," the report said.

McParland said there was a lack of dignity towards the animal, and while it was not a human being, it was still a living being. 

Defence Lawyer Bryan Fitzpatrick argued Vasile made a mistake.

“He panicked at the thought of ‘I’ve killed something that is not in season’ and everything went downhill from there,” said Fitzpatrick.

“It was a mistake, negligence and, yes, it was compounded by not following the principles from the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education.”

Vasile said he is “honestly, really sorry” before being sentenced.

“This is a self-regulating activity, the system relies on and cannot function if individual hunters cannot be trusted to follow the rules,” said McParland.

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