A judge said Yukon conservation officers did a brilliant job investigating a five-year-old caribou poaching case.
The officers’ evidence convicted a trio of Yukon hunters for illegal caribou kills in the Finlayson Range area.
The hunters, Alan Robinson, John Robinson and Jean-Claude Masse, denied the allegations until three days into last week's territorial court trial.
The judge called it a brilliant bit of investigative work by the conservation officers. The charges were initially laid in 2009, but while investigating, the officers found the same hunting party had posted trophy hunting photos on a website from a 2007 hunt. The officers then matched photos from the same area to prove the men were hunting in a non-permitted zone.
The poachers’ lawyer was eventually unable to refute the photographic evidence.
"Well it's evolving. A lot of people in law enforcement are realizing that social media can be a source of evidence sometimes and we are certainly ready to explore those options when it's available to us. It can be quite compelling," said Kris Gustafson, an enforcement manager for Environment Yukon.
All three men hung their heads in shame while sentencing was passed Friday.
The men must each pay a $5,000 fine, forfeit two all-terrain vehicles which were used in the hunts, and they are banned from hunting for at least five years.