According to this week’s police report the RCMP in the southwest region received a 911 call from a residence in the Grassland Municipality on September 23rd. The caller reported hearing two gunshots, believing it was someone poaching as he could see a vehicle on the roadway in front of the residence.
No description of the vehicle was given. Police drove through the field and located a deer carcass that had been shot once in the back.
Two days later, police received a report of a suspicious vehicle in the RM of Prairie Lakes believed to be spotlighting and possibly night hunting. Police made patrols in the area and were unable to locate any vehicles. Conservation was informed of the activity and of possible night hunting.
In their most recent news release, the Manitoba Wildlife Federation reported receiving numerous complaints and pictures from their members about night hunting from across the province.
Their news release states, ‘The MWF has been made aware that Conservation Officers are no longer executing nighttime enforcement flights and they have been given direction from management not to pursue, or attempt to pursue, individuals who are fleeing the scene of the crime. The MWF is advocating that the Provincial Government enact the following actions to curtail these illegal activities:’
- Immediately reinstate night flight enforcement efforts.
- Allow our well-trained officers to pursue and apprehend these criminals and allow the officers to use all the tools necessary to uphold the law including: the use of check stops and spike belts.
- Create a task force to come up with a strategic plan for enforcement priorities.
- Increase the criminal penalties.
Poachers who hunt under the illegal practice of night lighting pose a serious safety risk to livestock, pets, landowners and each other as they cannot properly identify their targets at night. Big game animals, such as moose, elk and deer are often left for waste as these illegal hunters often flee the scene after removing antlers, whole heads or choice cuts of meat.
Always an advocate for protecting our province’s wildlife while promoting safe, legal hunting practices, the Manitoba Wildlife Federation requests residents who suspect illegal activity to contact the TIPS line at 1-800-782-0076.
‘We need to remember that our officers are spread thin and members could assist with being the eyes and ears on the ground,’ states the MWF news release.