Illegal hunting in the Peace River area has led to fines against two people. Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement says they were caught zone jumping, which means they killed wildlife outside of the area they were licensed to hunt in.

The Whitemud‑Hotchkiss Rivers Wildlife Management Unit, Government of Alberta

The animal in question was a mule deer killed by a man from Florida who was being guided by a northern Alberta outfitter. He and his guide killed the deer on the Whitemud‑Hotchkiss Rivers Wildlife Management Unit, when they were only licensed for the Kimiwan‑Winagami Lakes WMU.

The province says they were tipped off to the zone jumping, but the deer had already been taken back to the states. Fish and wildlife officers worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alberta Specialized Prosecutions Branch to get a search warrant.

Mule deer antlers being prepared for DNA comparison analyses in the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch’s forensic lab, Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement

They seized the deer’s antlers and a forensic unit confirmed they were a DNA match to samples found in Alberta. At the time, officers also found out the guide was illegally baiting black bears near Dixonville, Alberta.

“Our strong working relationship with conservation law enforcement agencies in other jurisdictions, as well as the invaluable work done by staff in our forensic lab, helped to close this case,” Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement says. “In fact, Alberta is home to one of the only labs worldwide that is dedicated solely to supporting fish and wildlife crime investigations.”

The hunter pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of wildlife in Peace River Provincial Court last December and was fined $10,000. The guide pleaded guilty on August 16, 2018 to hunting without a licence and setting out prohibited bait for the purpose of black bear hunting. Justin Redlick of Bearpaw Outfitting was ordered to pay fines totalling $12,500.

“Thank you also to those who reported this unlawful activity,” the province adds. “Suspicious or illegal activity can be reported to the 24-hour Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800 or online.”

The outfitter was not charged as they passed away before the end of the investigation.