Two Melfort residents have been ordered to pay more than $15,000 in fines for running an illegal outfitting operation.
According to a news release issued by the Ministry of Environment Tuesday, Melfort conservation officers initiated an investigation after receiving numerous public complaints regarding illegal outfitting for migratory bird hunts in the area. In Sept. 2017, undercover officers booked hunts with the two individuals and paid for their outfitting and guiding services, including arranging hunting locations and supplying hunting equipment. During the hunt, one of the accused said he was okay with the undercover officer shooting his, and his assistant’s, limit of birds, even though they were not present on the day of the hunt.
On Sept. 15, 2017, officers conducted a search at a rural property and seized a large amount of waterfowl hunting equipment, including two firearms. During the search, 29 filleted walleye were also discovered, putting them over the legal possession limit of eight.
A guilty plea was entered in Melfort Provincial Court on Aug. 16. Garnet Roy Gunderson, 72, and Barbara Ann Lynne Gunderson, 68, of Melfort, were fined $9,800 under The Outfitter and Guide Regulations, $3,875 under The Wildlife Act, and $2,030 under The Fisheries Act. Both individuals also received two-year angling suspensions and a two-year firearms prohibition. Garnet Gunderson also received a one-year hunting suspension.
Approximately $20,000 worth of hunting equipment seized during the investigation was also forfeited to the Crown.
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