Five Kenora men have been fined a total of $7,250 after lying and conspiring to cover up killing a cow moose without a licence.
They all pleaded guilty.
Vincent Schatkowsky, 45, was fined $1,000 for hunting a cow moose without a licence, $1,000 for making a false statement to a Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officer, and $500 for unlawfully attaching a game seal to a moose.
His rifle will be returned when the fine is paid.
Stephen Seitler, 50, was fined $1,500 for obstructing a conservation officer and $750 for unlawfully attaching a game seal to a moose.
John C. Peifer, 63, was fined $1,000 for making a false statement to a conservation officer and $500 for unlawfully attaching a game seal to a moose.
And Loren Knopf, 45, and Richard Moore, 53, have were fined $500 for unlawfully attaching a game seal to a moose.
Schatkowsky and Peifer have been banned from hunting for a year and the moose was forfeited to the Crown.
Court heard that on Oct. 15, Schatkowsky, Seitler, and Knopf were hunting together in the Mac Lake Road area in Devonshire Township, about 60 km southeast of Kenora.
Schatkowsky shot a cow moose although none of the men had a cow moose validation tag. Seitler and Knopf called Moore by cell phone to see if he had a cow tag. He did not.
However, Moore knew that Peifer had the right tag and said he would take Seitler to Peifer’s home the next day. Schatkowsky, Seitler, and Knopf then dressed the cow and covered it with brush.
The next day, Moore took Seitler to Peifer’s home, accessible only by boat, 20 km south on Lake of the Woods. Peifer agreed to use his tag and the five men returned to the kill site.
Peifer tagged the moose and Schatkowsky notched the tag with the actual date and time of the shooting.
They all took part in quartering the moose and carrying it out of the bush to their trucks.
As they were carrying the moose parts to their trucks, Seitler and Schatkowsky were checked by two Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers from Kenora District.
They told the officers the group of five men were hunting together the previous day when the moose was shot.
But as the officers walked away from Seitler and Schatkowsky, and were on their way to speak with the other three (Peifer, Knopf, and Moore), they overheard Seitler radio Knopf and warn him that the COs were coming and to stick to their story.
When the officers spoke to Peifer, he also said the five men had all been present at the shooting. However, after a couple of hours, one of the men revealed the true story and then the others confessed.
Justice of the Peace Joe Morrison heard the case Jan. 17 in Kenora.
The MNR reminds everyone that if they commit an offence, they should contact the ministry as soon as possible. Officers often will take into account prompt disclosures and mitigating circumstances before deciding whether or not to lay charges.
To ensure a healthy moose population, only a limited number of bull and cow validation tags are allocated in any Wildlife Management Unit.
If hunters don’t follow the party hunting rules, more moose may be shot than were allocated, potentially affecting the moose population as well as providing an unfair advantage to unscrupulous hunters.
Call toll-free 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) any time to report a natural resources violation or contact your local MNR office during regular business hours.
You also can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).