Outfitter convicted of Wildlife Act charges

Convictions relate to hunting without a licence and hunting out of season in West Country in 2015

A Cardston guide outfitter was convicted of eight hunting-related Wildlife Act charges in a Red Deer court on Monday.

Richard “Todd” Bunnage and his company, Rugged Outfitting, were convicted of hunting without a proper licence and hunting out of season for incidents in the West Country dating back to 2015.

Bunnage and his company were initially charged with nearly three dozen Wildlife Act charges but some were dropped by the Crown prosecutors and the judge dismissed the others.

The convictions were for hunting without a proper licence and for hunting out of season.

Bunnage’s lawyer, Richard Fritze, argued at trial in April that the regulations are unclear and do not exclude using bow licences out of that season.

The government adds to the confusion by issuing bow licences after bow season has ended, he said.

“If that (licence) isn’t valid, the government is selling an invalid licence,” Fritze told Red Deer provincial court Judge Bert Skinner on Monday.

He questioned why the government can sell someone an invalid licence and then prosecute them for it.

In sentencing, Skinner said with Wildlife Act charges the Crown prosecutor only has to prove that the offence occurred and it is up to the defence to show that the accused did their due diligence and is not liable.

Since Bunnage did not testify in his own defence, it is difficult to determine if an “honestly held belief” played a role, the judge said.

Outside court, Bunnage disagreed with the ruling.

“The judge found, I believe wrongly, that the government can sell invalid licences.”

Bunnage said the government should not be selling bow-only licences outside of that season if it is not legal. Those who buy them also have no way of getting their money back.

All of the hunters that Bunnage was guiding had licences and the government only laid charges two years after the fact, he said.

“This was not a poaching thing. It was simply a disagreement over the validity of the licence.”

The government needs to change the way it handles hunting licensing, he said.

Sentencing has been set for July 11. These kinds of charges usually result in fines.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Alberta investing $3.7B to move oil by rail, leasing cars

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it’s investing $3.7 billion to move… Continue reading

Red Deer College introduces safety app

Safe RDC provides reliabilty and speed

Alberta farmers await Saskatchewan court decision on carbon tax

Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association applaud Saskatchewan government

Halifax fire claims seven Syrian refugee children: ‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’

HALIFAX — Seven children, all members of a Syrian refugee family, died… Continue reading

Pro-pipeline protest convoy reaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolled up… Continue reading

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Make your funds move at the speed of life

Change is constant — especially when you’re young. Chances are you’ll cycle… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Vancouver duo faced health scare while making Oscar-nominated ‘Animal Behaviour’

TORONTO — Husband-and-wife filmmakers Alison Snowden and David Fine had almost finished… Continue reading

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard drops second-round match against Simona Halep

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is out of the… Continue reading

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s iconic couturier whose designs had an unprecedented… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

Most Read