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Deer-hunting business hit with hefty fines

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A Fort Frances man has been fined $40,000 for a number of charges related to his deer-hunting business.

Grant Gustafson pleaded guilty to hunting swimming deer, chasing deer with a motorboat, discharging a firearm from a motorboat, unlawfully hunting wolves, killing moose without a licence, attaching a game seal to a moose that had been killed by another person, using an illegal firearm, and making a false statement to a Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officer.

Gustafson is banned from hunting for the next 10 years and from guiding hunters for the next two years.

Three motorboats, a trailer, rifle, and assorted hunting equipment also were seized and permanently forfeited to the Crown.

Two of Gustafson’s employees and five of his clients also were fined a combined total of $15,500, and received a combined total of 26 years of hunting suspensions.

Court heard that between 2007 and 2009, the MNR was assisted by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department in conducting a covert investigation of Gustafson’s commercial deer outfitting business on Lake of the Woods in Kenora District and Rainy Lake in Fort Frances District.

His business caters primarily to U.S. clients.

Gustafson used dogs to drive deer from islands into open water while he and his employees waited in nearby motorboats. They then used their motorboats to push the swimming deer toward clients waiting with rifles onshore.

Gustafson also took hunters by motorboat to get close to the swimming deer.

If the deer were judged to have large enough antlers to be deemed trophy deer, he directed clients to shoot them from the boats.

Gustafson also directed his clients to shoot wolves, although he knew they were not licensed to do so.

Justice of the Peace Pat Clysdale-Cornell heard Gustafson’s case April 12 in Kenora.

The seven other defendants were sentenced in Kenora between May 31 and June 5.

To report a natural resources violation, call toll-free 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) any time or contact your local MNR office during regular business hours.

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