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Hunters face thousands in fines

Out-of-area hunters nabbed for tags and other violations

LAC LA BICHE - Law-breaking hunters coming to the region from outside the area have left some significant dollars in the local justice system.

The conviction of three men — two from Calgary and one from Manitoba — in Lac La Biche Provincial Court earlier this month resulted in a combined fine tally of more than $3,000 and three-years of hunting bans.

Calgarians Domenico Gulli and Douglas Rafael Franco plead guilty to charges of failing to properly tag a harvested animal and were fined a total of $2,250 for the contravention of the Wildlife Act.

Court heard that on Nov. 14 of last year, the two were part of a hunting camp in the Lakeland area that was visited by Fish and Wildlife officers on routine compliance checks. Three harvested deer at the location were not displaying the proper tags. A warning was initially issued by officers. A return visit by the officers a short time later, found the animals still without the proper tags, and the charges were issued.

On the second visit, the officers also found Gulli on an all-terrain vehicle carrying a loaded firearm, and Franco riding an ATV without a helmet.

Gulli was fined an additional $120 for the firearms violation and Franco will pay a similar $120 fine for the helmet violation.

Both men made their guilty pleas over the phone into open court as the Lac La Biche provincial courtroom is still under in-person restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

No license

Also pleading guilty to a hunting offence over the phone was Daniel J. Ballard. Court heard that regional Fish and Wildlife officers located the visiting Manitoba man lying in a ground hunting blind in a rural field near Lac La Biche on the morning of September 9 last year.

Information checks at the time revealed that Ballard was not in possession of the proper hunting license.

Ballard plead guilty to the Wildlife Act charge and will pay a fine of $500 plus a victim fine surcharge of $100.

All three men were also each banned from hunting in Alberta for one year.