Duck poachers on YouTube plead guilty
Published Monday, August 10, 2009 8:38PM EDT
Three men who filmed themselves illegally shooting ducks in a pond and cheering pleaded guilty to poaching Monday, and were fined thousands of dollars.
Brothers David and James Fraser, and Jeremy Rowlands, appeared in a Saskatoon court on Monday, and tried to hide their faces as they rushed out of the building afterwards.
The incident brought about widespread public outrage after the video was upload to YouTube.
Justice Doug Agnew told the young men their actions were "stupid, reckless and irresponsible," and fined the Frasers $5,000 each and Rowlands $6,000.
He also ordered that the trio turn over their rifles.
The men pleaded guilty to unlawful hunting, hunting out of season, discharging a firearm from a vehicle and leaving edible game to be wasted.
They stood side-by-side in court and apologized for their behaviour.
The maximum penalty was $100,000 for provincial offences and $300,000 under federal law.
"It was a stupid thing to do," James Fraser said outside of court Monday.
Police began investigating the incident after it was broadcast by national media last week. The footage led to a deluge of tips from concerned citizens.
Authorities did not know the exact location where poaching occurred, but they suspected it was in Saskatchewan or Alberta. The video shows a road sign, and blooming yellow canola is visible in the background. It is believed the video was taped in late July.
Hunters said the incident is not representative of their community.
"These fellas aren't hunters, I find it really appalling," amateur hunter David Bosch told CTV Edmonton. "I hope they get what the law can give them."
Brian Petrar of Environment Canada said the case is not about hunting.
"It was people using birds as target practice," he said outside court Monday.
"The response from our standpoint was fantastic in that the public were obviously outraged by what they saw and the number of calls that they made from tip-lines, both in Alberta and Saskatchewan, was a direct result of why we were able to arrest these individuals on Saturday," Petrar said.
The three men were arrested in a small community near Saskatoon on Saturday.