Three of four elk poachers who were caught at the north end of Kissinger Lake in 2009, have finally had their hunting licenses suspended for between one and three years.
The four men, from Greater Vancouver, were caught at that time thanks to a public tip to conservation officers.
Conservation officer Rick Dekelver says that the case was delayed in the court system due to institutional delays such as rescheduling due to lack of judges and a general lack of resources. Since the case was last reported on in 2009, the B.C. conservation officer service took the case to the B.C. director of wildlife who then had direct dealings with the defendants. This action resulted in the three suspensions.
“In conjunction with the suspended licences, all four individuals have been directed to complete the commercial outdoor recreation training that all hunters do initially in order to get a hunting licence,” he added. “These people have been told they need to redo the course and write the test prior to getting their licences back.
The B.C conservation officer also initiated the forfeiture of three high-powered rifles valued at more than $7,000.
Though elk have been considered an endangered species in the past, Dekelver says he is not clear as to whether they are now. However, there is no limited entry hunting for the animals, and there is no hunting season designated to them. “It is illegal to hunt them.”
Dekelver and other conservation officers work closely with the Cowichan Lake Wilderness Watch Society and count on them and local residents to report incidents of poaching.
“I believe poaching occurs more than we know about,” he says. “It certainly happens more than we’re able to apprehend.”
He says he believes that there are two classes of hunters. Those that hunt to feed their families, and those that hunt for the trophy aspect. “There are a lot of legal hunters who hold out for that big trophy animal, and when they get it they utilize the whole animal. Then there are those that hunt just for the trophy.” They remove the head and the rest goes to waste.
Regardless, elk hunting remains illegal. However, deer hunting season will begin on September 10 and will last until December 10. Hunters are allowed two animals per year in this area.
To report any suspicious activity, phone 1-877-952-7277.