Eighty spent shotgun shells, a dead muskrat and three dead birds were found shot near a Nature Conservancy of Canada property east of Pine Lake on Tuesday afternoon.
Local biologist Myrna Pearman made the discovery at about 4 p.m. at a small lake along Range Road 240 near Township Road 360 while taking a break from doing a bird count at nearby conservancy land.
She didn’t know exactly how many birds or animals were shot in the area that was likely used by duck hunters in the fall.
“I just couldn’t bear to launch the kayaks so we just walked up and down the ditch. We dragged out the two baby terns, which are protected migratory birds. They are never open for hunting — ever. And we found the muskrat. The coot, that was also shot, we couldn’t reach it from the shore,” Pearman said on Wednesday.
She called Report a Poacher and was told an investigation would be launched.
“They said this is the definition of poaching and they were sending an officer out to see the site.”
Along with the spent shells, she found three high-powered rifle bullets and over two dozen .22 rifle cartridges near the scenic, winding road.
She suspected the shooting happened either Monday night or Tuesday morning because a shotgun shell box that was left behind was not wet.
Pearman, the biologist at Ellis Bird Farm, took photos of what she found.
“I’m just very upset people would be so irresponsible and so heartless,” Pearman said.
Ken Kranrod, vice-president with Alberta Conservation Association, which is responsible for Report a Poacher promotion, said people typically think poaching is about hunting without a licence or taking more animals than allowed. But it also includes abandoning, destroying or wasting animals.
“Definitely in this case, whoever did this, by essentially shooting and wasting these animals — that’s poaching. You can’t just shoot it and leave it,” Kranrod said.
He said the Report a Poacher line unfortunately does receive a fair number of calls about people either just out shooting for the sake of shooting, likely where they’re not suppose to, or shooting wildlife and just leaving it there.
“It’s a really ugly thing that happens.”
Kranrod said it’s important that people know Alberta’s hunting regulations, which are available on www.reportapoacher.com. The site links to government hunting and fishing regulations.
To report a poacher, call 1-800-642-3800.