By Craig Smith
The generations-old problem of out-of-season poaching of migratory birds in the springtime continues to bedevil enforcement officers, judging by an operation by game wardens last April that involved guns, the use of force and, eventually, big fines in some of the cases.
The entire course of these multiple crimes took only about four hours to unfold, attesting to the scope of illegal hunting of sea birds in some areas of the province.
The charges stem from an investigation on April 3, 2010, on the Acadian Peninsula, says Craig Smith, manager of operations for the Maritimes for Environment Canada's wildlife division.
That morning, Smith and another warden challenged two armed men on the shore, one of whom had two bags containing 21 dead scoters, which are migratory sea ducks. That man wanted nothing to do with the enforcement officers.
"We got into a fight," Smith says.
"We wrestled and we fell into the water. He broke away, dropped the birds, ran up the beach, grabbed a shotgun, jumped on a four-wheeler and took off."
Smith grabbed hold of the ATV and was dragged about 50 metres down the beach by the vehicle before he was forced to let go of the bike.
Within a month, though, wardens identified the man and charged him. More....