MEDICINE HAT — Dozens of Metis people have packed a courtroom in southeastern Alberta to watch the appeal of an aboriginal hunter’s conviction for poaching.
Gary Hirsekorn was convicted in December 2010 of hunting out of season and unlawful possession of wildlife after taking a mule deer near the Cypress Hills, in 2007.
In the original trial, Hirsekorn’s lawyers argued that their client was exercising his aboriginal rights as a Metis man in southern Alberta. That was despite the fact the province only recognizes the Metis’ right to hunt in areas surrounding several northern Alberta settlements.
The constitutional defence was rejected at the provincial court level.
Hirsekorn’s lawyer, Jean Teillet, is arguing in the appeal that Metis rights cover the former Northwest Territories, which up until the late 1800s, included what is now all of Alberta.