Over $71,000 in Illegal Outfitting Fines in Hazlet Area
Following a two and half year investigation into illegal outfitting activities near the community of Hazlet, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment has laid charged against four individuals. The multi-agency initiative led to more than $71,000 in fines for four North Battleford-area men. During a patrol in October 2014, conservation officers encountered four individuals on a ranch in the Great Sand Hills. Information gathered over the next several days indicated that these individuals had been outfitting and guiding two American clients in the area. A multi-pronged investigation ensued, involving Saskatchewan conservation officers from Leader, Spiritwood, North Battleford, and the ministry’s Investigation Unit. It also included assistance from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Conservation Officer Service, forensic analysis experts and witnesses from Wisconsin. Investigators determined the four individuals were outfitting illegally and that a mule deer buck had been illegally shot and eventually exported to the United States.
In November 2016, Charles Meechance, age 59, pleaded guilty to unlawfully acting as a guide, unlawful hunting and providing false information. He was fined $10,920. In addition to the fine, Meechance was also issued a five-year court order with numerous conditions. A trial was held for the other three individuals on May 18 in Leader provincial court with the following outcome:37 year old Gerald Meechance, was found guilty of unlawfully acting as a guide, unlawfully aiding and abetting, providing false information and unlawfully falsifying and applying for an export permit. He was fined $33,800. 43 year old Neal Meechance, was found guilty of unlawfully acting as a guide, unlawfully aiding and abetting and providing false information. He was fined $15,820. 47 year old Steven Pritchard, was found guilty of unlawfully acting as a guide, unlawfully aiding and abetting and providing false information. He was fined $10,920. Total fines in this case, including the Victim of Crime Surcharge, amounted to $71,460. In addition to the fines, the three individuals were also issued a five-year court order with the same conditions as Charles Meechance, plus the following condition:Not be in any vehicle in which there is an un-encased firearm except on the lands of a First Nation in the Province of Saskatchewan or in the company of another treaty person hunting for subsistence.
If you suspect wildlife, fisheries, forestry or environmental violations, please call your local Ministry of Environment office, Saskatchewan’s toll-free Turn In Poachers line at 1-800-667-7561 or #5555 for Sasktel cellular subscribers, or report a violation online at www.saskatchewan.ca/tip. You may be eligible for cash rewards from the SaskTip Reward Program
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