At the most recent Association of Manitoba Municipalities conference, councillor for the RM of Sifton, Scott Phillips, says he was pleased to speak with Minister Gregg Nesbitt, Minister of Natural Resources and Northern Development, regarding the increase in conservation officers across the province. With more CO 'boots on the ground' and more charges being laid to offenders, there is more of a deterrent to illegal hunting in Manitoba.
Phillips says the challenge comes in the financing of having more CO's on patrol.
"Illegal hunting is definitely down," shares Phillips, "but there are still cases where people think they can get away with it but with Minister Nesbitt and the night patrols and their systems, they're cracking down!"
"People are going to continue doing it just like people will always speed on the highway," he continues. "But with the measures in place and, hopefully, the fines and penalties will increase, so that people will know it's not just a slap on the wrist to take a moose out of season or at night."
"If you're going to do it, you're really going to have to 'pay the piper' and that's what really needs to be done, " adds Phillips.
"It always comes down to dollars. There is only so much money to go around and the CO's salary has to be compared to other provinces," he notes. "Saskatchewan pays to up to $20,000 more for Conservation Officers that was trained in the College of the North. So, the students that are going to the College of the North, we need to keep them in Manitoba, and that's an obstacle when it comes to pay."
Phillips says discussions are ongoing regarding this challenge. "They've acknowledged that they've got to 'up the ante' and I have the faith in Minister Nesbitt to do that."
For more information on becoming a Conservation Officer in Manitoba, visit Conservation Officer in Manitoba | Job requirements - Job Bank