Whitehorse Daily Star

Company failed to report bear’s death

A mining company near Carmacks has been convicted of violating the Wildlife Act for failing to report the killing of a bear in 2016.

By Gord Fortin on September 12, 2018

A mining company near Carmacks has been convicted of violating the Wildlife Act for failing to report the killing of a bear in 2016.

Derek Dodge appeared in territorial court Tuesday by phone, with deputy judge William Digby presiding.

Dodge represented himself and his company, Derek Dodge Mining Corp. He is featured in Gold Rush, a reality TV show.

Territorial Crown prosecutor Lee Kirkpatrick said she has been in contact with Dodge.

Based on the discussions, she told the judge there is a joint submission ready to present to the court.

As per the agreement, the company would plead guilty to one count of failing to report the killing of a bear. The Crown would stay all three charges against Dodge himself, and two charges against the company.

The stayed charges against Dodge were:

• one count of encouraging wildlife to become a public nuisance;

• one count of failing to report the killing of an animal to a conservation officer; and

• one count of allowing the bear’s pelt to be wasted.

The company also faced these three charges, and the first and third were stayed as well.

Digby asked if the company could be held liable for the actions of its employees.

Kirkpatrick explained that Derek Dodge Mining could be convicted for something done by its employees.

Digby asked for a plea, and Dodge said he was pleading guilty on behalf of his company.

Kirkpatrick read the agreed statement of facts.

On May 21, 2016, four black bears were killed in the Carmacks area. None were reported to a wildlife officer.

Kirkpatrick said Dodge was well aware that he would have to report a killing a bear on his property.

She pointed out he was given this information in 2013 from a conservation officer. That officer told him that if a bear wandered onto his property and posed a safety risk, he could kill the animal, but would have to report the incident and turn in the carcass.

The killing would need to be reported to a conservation officer or the Turn in Poachers and Polluters line.

Kirkpatrick said Dodge had similar discussions with conservation officers in August 2015 and March 2016.

A conservation officer received a tip about four unreported dead bears in Carmacks. An officer responded on July 15, 2016.

Kirkpatrick said she did not dispute that the bear posed danger to the mining operation; instead, she focused on the failure to report.

She said Dodge had a satellite phone at the time which he could have used to report the incident.

The conservation officer spoke with Dodge during the investigation on July 15, 2016.

Dodge was asked if there were bear problems in the area. The officer reported that Dodge said there were no issues and that no bears had been killed in the area.

The joint submission only covered one of the dead bears – the one that Dodge admitted to killing himself.

Employees killed the other three. Kirkpatrick said they were following the boss’ lead.

Kirkpatrick explained that Dodge thought the worker who had killed the bear had to be the one to report the incident.

She added that he was worried his mining operation would be shut down while conservation officers investigated the incident. She added that he has since taken responsibility.

Dodge did not dispute any of the facts.

As for the joint submission, Kirkpatrick said the fines for failing to report can be significant.

The fine for an individual can be as high as $50,000 for the first offence and $100,000 for a corporation.

The agreement called for Dodge to make a $3,500 donation to the Wildlife Conflict Solution Education Program on behalf of the company.

This initiative provides information on how to avoid conflict between humans and bears. She said he has already made this donation and presented the court with a receipt.

“This would be an appropriate way to deal with this matter,” Kirkpatrick said.

She feels this order will deter similar behaviour.

Dodge said he had nothing to add.

Digby accepted the joint submission and wished Dodge luck.

“I hope you have a good mining season with no conflict with bears,” he said.

Dodge thanked Digby and added that he has not been in conflict with wildlife for the past two years.

Comments (11)

Up 8 Down 4

Rod on Sep 14, 2018 at 6:33 pm

Pretty sure the bears don’t know Derrick was on gold rush lol...I actually worked for him this season and was witness to the bear activity. It was fairly intense and scary at times. He should have reported them and done a few other things to avoid this...but Derrick is a decent guy and really was doing what was best for his crew. That being said he should have followed through and reported. But what in &$&$ does appearing on a reality show a few times have to do with this lol...I was there 6 months and didn’t see one camera ... maybe these bears watched gold rush and wanted to be filmed ?

Up 14 Down 11

ProScience Greenie on Sep 13, 2018 at 9:46 pm

Shutting those reality TV shows would reduce the number of cowboy mentality types doing stupid things in the Yukon giving real people that work in the bush a bad name. Cameras or no cameras, that cowboy mentality was at play in this bear incident. Dodge should have known better as he's been around that part of the country for a considerable time. Sloppy.

Up 4 Down 10

ralpH on Sep 13, 2018 at 6:23 pm

@Rod - We both know they are capitalizing off the show. They both are involved in a large business in the U.S. Reality is he may not star in that B.S. but I am sure production rights are shared.

Up 10 Down 7

Ilove Parks on Sep 13, 2018 at 5:37 pm

This case has merit, you can shoot a problem bear but you have to man up and report the incident.

Up 18 Down 3

Rod on Sep 13, 2018 at 3:21 pm

ProScience-
I don’t really understand what you are talking about. There was no reality show being filmed when these bears were shot!
How would shutting down reality shows help?

Up 16 Down 12

My Opinion on Sep 13, 2018 at 12:42 pm

If you really want to make sure a bear gets shot, or as they nicely call it "Dispatched". Then call Conservation, they do it daily. So much hypocrisy here, these guys are way in the bush and have a problem they have to deal with it or people could die, as they have done in the past. Bears seem to be a problem this year, no berries apparently. Please don't take away the ability to defend ones self. Send your kid to work out there and your attitude will change, it is a long way from help. A few years back at Minto a Bear crawled through a guys window as he slept right under it, that caused a commotion. Bad way to wake up.

Up 19 Down 3

My Opinion on Sep 13, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Dear Whitehorse Star. Get your facts straight. Derrick has never been "Featured" on Gold Rush. His Brother Freddie Dodge was, but they do not work together, Derrick wanted nothing to do with the show. Derrick has been mining in the Yukon for decades.

Up 21 Down 9

Yukonmax on Sep 13, 2018 at 7:29 am

"$3,500 donation to the Wildlife Conflict Solution Education Program on behalf of the company." Ah! Ah! Ah! What a joke!!!!

Up 24 Down 11

ralpH on Sep 12, 2018 at 5:58 pm

When are we gonna wake up to the stain these reality shows are putting on Yukoners? I spend my summers in the Klondike and I hear so many horror stories about how these so called miners are ripping and tearing up the pristine real estate we all admire and enjoy. The real fact is they do not portray how mining is actually done and only leave us all looking like buffoons.

Up 22 Down 13

ProScience Greenie on Sep 12, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Totally ignorant on Dodges part to do this crap.
Can we please shut down all these stupid reality TV shows so we can get back to normal in the Yukon?

Up 28 Down 3

At home in the Yukon on Sep 12, 2018 at 2:50 pm

"She feels this order will deter similar behaviour." Um, what enhances similar behaviour is the behaviour of law enforcement when people do turn in the shooting of a bad bear. A friend of mine shot a known problem bear that was on his back porch. He called the bear in, and was told that all was good. The next day RCMP pressed charges of careless use of a firearm. The resultant hassle cost my friend two hunting seasons as he wasn't allowed guns while the charges were in play. Eventually the judge threw the charges out because the RCMP couldn't get their act together to present in court "in a timely fashion."

Many learned that the best way to deal with a bad bear is with a good shovel. There's two sides to this coin.

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