Man Found Guilty Of Illegal Bear Guiding

CBC, Bear Hunting Magazine

A New York man cannot hunt in Canada for ten years as a result of his conviction in the Province of Ontario, Canada, for illegally guiding bear hunters at a Bear Management Area (BMA) in Gowganda, Ontario.

As the owner of a taxidermy in Middleport, New York, he assisted hunters baiting bears, butchering and preparing the carcasses for taxidermy. In return, his clients used his taxidermy services if they had successful hunts.

However, the man, Daniel Vanderwalker was not licensed as a BMA operator in Ontario, nor did he have the proper immigration status to work in Ontario. During a 14-month investigation by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Vanderwalker took six to eight people hunting each year, although he told investigators he had taken as many as 19 people one year. In 1992, her was charged with hunting off the same area and his hunting license was suspended for two years at that time.

Vanderwalker colluded with BMA operator David Runion of Northern Pine Camp, who provided Vanderwalker with reduced rates on accommodations in return for bringing American hunters to the camp. BMA operators are responsible for providing bear hunting services to hunters.

In September 2008 Runion was fined $1,250 for possessing a mounted bear killed out of season. He forfeited the mount. Runion was also convicted of failure to comply with the conditions of his BMA license and fined an additional $2,000.

In addition to the prohibition against hunting, during his ten-year probation Vanderwalker cannot participate in any aspect of operating a BMA, and he cannot associate with hunting activities. All penalties for Vanderwalker apply only in Canada. U.S. agents seized a bear hide and skull, imported illegally, from his home. No charges have been filed against Vanderwalker in the United States.

The convictions of both Vanderwalker and Runion resulted from investigations targeting illegal bear hunting and guiding activity in the Elk Lake and Gowganda areas of Ontario. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents worked with their Canadian counterparts under authority of the Lacey Act, which prohibits interstate and international transportation of illegally taken wildlife.

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