By Eric Plummer
More poaching has occurred in the region with the discovery of a mule deer shot near Highway 40 South last month.
On Nov. 23 Hinton’s Alberta Fish and Wildlife office was alerted to a full-grown male mule deer abandoned in the ditch next to Highway 40. The carcass was discovered by a passerby in the reclaimed Gregg River mine site south of Hinton, which has been closed to hunting for more than 30 years.
An investigation by wildlife officers determined the animal was shot through the chest with a high-powered rifle on a hill next to the highway, but ran for about 40 metres until it collapsed. Evidence from the scene indicated the buck was dragged another 20 metres onto the pavement, then discarded in the ditch. Fish and Wildlife believes the deer was shot some time between 4 p.m. Nov. 22 and 6 a.m. Nov. 23.
A reward is being offered and anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Report A Poacher hotline at 1-800-642-3800.
The poaching south of town follows another 26 incidents of illegally killed animals in the Edson area over the last month and a half, including deer, elk, moose and one black bear. The killings were done at night and the carcasses were left with barely anything taken, both of which are illegal under Alberta’s Wildlife Act.
Fish and Wildlife officer Adam Jalbert said that over recent years Hinton has seen a decrease in cases of animals being shot and abandoned, but incidents of trespassing and hunting outside of open season has risen.
He encourages poaching witnesses to report to wildlife authorities as soon as possible. Information related to an offence — such as the specific location, time discovered, suspect descriptions and license plate numbers — helps Fish and Wildlife find poachers.
“Even if some of those details are missing, sometimes even the smallest piece of information provided by the public can give the wildlife officer the upper hand in apprehending the poacher,” said Jalbert. “As a wildlife officer, it is surprisingly common to hear comments such as ‘I figured someone else would have reported it,’ or ‘I guess I could have called sooner’ or ‘I guess I just never thought anything of it.’”