Alberta Man Fined For Shooting Bear From Hwy

Fort McMurray News, Bear Hunting Magazine

An Alberta man pled guilty to killing a black bear along Highway 63 and then abandoning the hide of the animal. The two charges he pled guilty to were in relation to an October 2007, incident in which he shot a bear just north of Fort McMurray. He was found guilty of discharging a firearm, causing a projectile to pass along or cross a highway and for allowing the skin of a killed bear to be abandoned. The man received a $2,000 fine and is not allowed to hold a hunting licence for a year.

After spending the weekend on a hunting trip, the man said he saw the black bear just north of Fort McMurray beside Highway 63. Once the truck was stopped, he took two steps away from the vehicle before shooting the bear. The incident was witnessed by another driver who took note of the trucks licence plate and contacted the police.

When police went to the man's home to question him, they found the black bear's hide in a black bag on the side of the road. The hide was placed on the curb for garbage pickup but was not collected because the address had too many bags put out for disposal.

Defence attorney Michael Jakeman told the court that his client had been co-operative with police and allowed the officers to enter his house and search his freezer where the meat from the kill was being kept.

When given the opportunity to speak on his own behalf he explained that he had just received a licence to hunt bears and that he reacted hastily when he saw the bear on the side of the road. "Excitement took over me. It was my first bear, my first licence and I didn't really take time to think," he said.

When delivering his verdict, the judge told him there are lots of places nearby where he could be legally and safely hunting. "There's thousands of miles of back-country here and my understanding is that the roadway includes the ditch," the judge stated.

Two charges were withdrawn; one for discharging a weapon from a motor vehicle and one for hunting an animal, black bears under a year old, for which there is no open season to do so.

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