Police warn against flying hunters

Consort RCMP have requested the public’s help in finding people responsible for using aircraft in the area for hunting purposes.

Consort RCMP have requested the public’s help in finding people responsible for using aircraft in the area for hunting purposes.

Cpl. Colm Fitzgerald of Consort RCMP said the police have received numerous complaints of aircraft being used for hunting.

Kevin Wingert, president of the Red Deer Fish and Game Association, said the practice is frowned on by all fish and game organizations.

Wingert suspects the aircraft are being used by guides to spot big game, especially potential trophy animals.

The guide, he says, will then report to his clients where the animals are and the client will go after the animal.

“He maps out where all the animals are so he brings in his clients the next day to hunt.

“It saves them having to track and do the real work of stalking and hunting,” Wingert said.

“It’s frowned on by most fish and game groups,” he added.

He said using an aircraft not only locates animals, it helps guides judge their size.

“For instance, if you’re a guide for a client who wants to take a 170-class whitetail (deer), you search the area until you find one.”

The aircraft use allows the guide to bypass the smaller size animals and go for that trophy five-points, he says.

Wingert says the East Central Alberta area is where many of the trophy winning animals have been taken in recent years.

He said reports he’s received and based on his own experience in the field this fall, big game is plentiful in Central and East Central Alberta.

Fitzgerald said police hope the public will help by reporting any instance where they see low-flying aircraft they suspect may be engaged in hunting.

The Wildlife Act says it’s illegal to shoot animals from an aircraft and it’s also illegal for a person to hunt big game within six hours after having disembarked anywhere from an aircraft other than a fixed wing aircraft propelled by jet or turbo‑propeller driven engines.

The act also says a person shall not discharge a weapon from a vehicle or aircraft.

A person who is convicted is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both.

Hunting licence suspensions may also be invoked.

Fitzgerald said police would like a description of the aircraft, any identifiable numbers, colour of aircraft and point of origin if possible.

People can phone 403-577-3001 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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