Whitehorse Daily Star

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Judge Michael Cozens

Hunter fined for wasting bison meat

A territorial court judge has issued a $1,000 fine and other sanctions against a hunter for failing to harvest his entire kill.

By Gord Fortin on June 12, 2019

A territorial court judge has issued a $1,000 fine and other sanctions against a hunter for failing to harvest his entire kill.

Philip Emerson appeared Tuesday before Judge Michael Cozens and pleaded guilty to one count of not harvesting all of the meat of a bison, a violation of the Wildlife Act. This wasted the remaining meat.

During the subsequent sentencing hearing, territorial Crown prosecutor Kelly McGill went through the facts of the case, none of which Emerson disputed.

Emerson was out hunting with another person in the wilderness near Haines Junction on Dec. 26, 2018. Both are inexperienced hunters.

They killed a bison, but began to have trouble with the carcass when they tried to turn it over. They were unable to do so, which led to a significant amount of meat left behind.

McGill said approximately 191 pounds of meat went to waste.

She recommended a $1,000 fine and a one-year hunting prohibition as a sentence. She also wanted Emerson to complete the Hunter Education and Ethics Development (HEED) course.

McGill felt this was an appropriate sentence for a couple of reasons. She pointed out that Emerson has had no previous issues, and the waste was due to a lack of knowledge and experience – not a disregard for regulations.

Emerson did not say anything on the proposed sentence, but did ask for three months to pay the fine.

Cozens said he felt the recommended sentence was appropriate considering the circumstances outlined by McGill. He added that Emerson was co-operative with the investigation.

He imposed the $1,000 fine, one-year hunting prohibition and the order to complete the HEED course.

“That (the course), I can expect you to do in the year,” Cozens said.

Comments (11)

Up 12 Down 0

Bill on Jun 17, 2019 at 9:39 am

Good they got fined, just because you're inexperienced doesn't mean you can waste meat. If you've never harvested a big game animal before and don't know what you're doing you should go with someone who has for your first hunt so they can show you how it's done. It's a lot of work and not easy!

Up 12 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Jun 14, 2019 at 6:39 pm

I see opportunity for the Fish and Game Assn or similar NGO to provide for fee guiding/training services for novice hunters. How to prepare and plan for a hunt, tracking and IDing the best animal to harvest, humane shooting techniques, field dressing and proper care and treatment of the meat, cape and kill site clean-up. I'm not sure if this would be permitted within the current regulations, but it would help more than the information published in the regulations booklet and some Youtube videos to train new hunters to best practices in the bush.

Up 33 Down 6

Yukon Hunter on Jun 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm

Anyone sympathizing with these people is ridiculous. Being inexperienced is not an excuse to waste meat. They sure weren't too inexperienced to kill the animal. There would have been lots of other options besides wasting. Call a friend, ask for help. Call a CO, ask for help. Bring a snowmachine to help turn the animal over. Put half the bison into a skimmer. etc

I get that more and more people are getting into hunting, and good on them... but this is just the start of the problems inexperienced people out in the field create.
If you're not confident and experienced in bushcraft, firearm safety, butchering, engine trouble shooting, first aid etc. either go with someone who is, or get more experience via training. Heck, maybe take the bison course 2 or 3 times. Disappointed an animal had to die before they realized they were in over their heads

Up 13 Down 10

Yukon Justice on Jun 13, 2019 at 3:57 pm

I bet those two chechakos arrived in the Yukon on Monday and shot that bison on Tuesday.

Up 21 Down 1

Hunting Girl on Jun 13, 2019 at 1:39 pm

My boyfriend and I do a bit of hunting, I think if two people are going to go out and hunt for a Bison should do their homework before they go out I don't think a course will cover it all, it is a lots of sites in the internet with lots of information. Also I think instead of leaving the meat there, call friends so they can come and help and take the meat, or go to the locals and explain your situation. Haines Junction has wonderful people that could use that meat if they were not able to deal with it...COMMUNICATION goes long away. I feel sorry for them but it has to be some consequences for this action. It ruins it for all the rest of us who enjoy hunting not as sport but as a way to provide for family. More regulations should be implemented.

Up 15 Down 24

Patti Eyre on Jun 13, 2019 at 11:21 am

Didn't deliberately waste the meat so that makes it alright? Good intentions are the Devil's toilet paper, shame!

Up 31 Down 1

Woodcutter on Jun 13, 2019 at 9:15 am

I recall, when I was a little wood cutter growing up in British Columbia, that before I could get a hunting license, I had to take a hunter education course first. Why not just make this required here? Might prevent some problems and tone down some of the complainers about the justice system.

Up 28 Down 3

k tutin on Jun 12, 2019 at 11:14 pm

Hunting any wild animal is not all fun and glory. There's lots of work involved after the easy part of pulling the trigger. It should be mandatory to take the bison course, no excuses. This type of problem is going to increase if the GOV does not make it mandatory for the bison course.

Up 30 Down 5

At home in the Yukon on Jun 12, 2019 at 6:08 pm

I really feel for these hunters. I remember the first time I got a moose. Neither my hunting partner nor I had field dressed a moose before. I had watched videos, including the one provided by the Yukon government. I had taken the HEED course. But when confronted with the real thing, I was all thumbs. We did eventually get the animal home, but it took a lot longer than it should, and the meat was significantly dirtier than ideal.

Now, a bison is a lot bigger than a moose. Do I wonder why these guys struggled with it? Nope.

Up 46 Down 19

YT Hunter on Jun 12, 2019 at 4:00 pm

This is one of those occasions when you wonder WTF?
So these two didn't deliberately waste the meat, yet they are getting similar fines to poachers, guides and outfitters who do deliberately break the law.
Maybe if these two had been affiliated with the outfitting industry they could have avoided a fine altogether?
It's not that ya know, but who ya know these days.

Up 33 Down 23

wow on Jun 12, 2019 at 3:30 pm

amazing... larger sentence than murderers get!

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