Killing four moose is rarely okay. Illegally killing them is never okay.
A Cold Lake, Alta., community is a perturbed after poachers illegally killed four moose while trespassing on private land. Residents are fearful the shooting spree may not be over, because even though one of the men is facing charges of possession of an unauthorized firearm connected with the incident, the group will not be penalized for killing the moose.
The reason for this is that the owner of the property is not pressing trespassing charges, and because the poachers are Indigenous, the government cannot subject them to bag limits.
"Indigenous people with Treaty status have a constitutionally protected right to hunt big game for food and are not subject to bag limits," CBC News reported. "The hunters in this case showed officers proof of their Treaty status."
So, even though it wasn't moose season, indigenous hunters that possess Treaty status are constitutionally allowed to hunt for food. The trespassing charge, along with the unauthorized firearm charge, is the only legal course of action that can be taken against the poachers. As a result, when the landowner declined to provide a statement about the trespassing, the poachers were allowed to keep the carcasses.
Here's the full story of what happened on the night the moose were killed:
"From where their shots were taken and the moose were killed, that's a direct line to our house," said Eric Novak, who lives less than 500 meters from where the moose were killed in a hay field.
Novak heard five shots that sounded like rifle fire.
"I hopped in my pickup and wheeled over there," he said. There were two vehicles at the scene, kind of pointed towards each other, and once they saw my headlights they both kind of took off."
"So I rolled up a little closer and could see four dead moose - a bull, a cow, and twin calves laying in the field."
According to Novak, one of the moose wasn't dead. The bull was trying to stand.
"They had put a bad shot in him," he said. I went back home and got a gun and put him down."
According to reports, one man returned to collect the moose. He had approached the homeowner the previous day requesting permission to hunt on the property, but the homeowner had not given permission due to the proximity of homes in the area. Even though the poachers disobeyed the property owner, he chose not to pursue trespassing charges.
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