Two Rainy River hunters fined and suspended for hunting deer illegally

By Eric Shih
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Thunder Bay Source

Two men from the Rainy River area are out thousands of dollars and have had their hunting licences suspended after shooting a deer from a roadway and trespassing on private property.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry released details of the case involving two men from Devlin, which took place in late 2020.

On Nov. 7, 2020, MNRF conservation officers investigated a complaint regarding an antlerless deer that had been shot on private property. 

It was determined that one of the men, who did not have a license to hunt antlerless deer, had shot and killed the deer from the roadway. Both men then entered the private property, without permission to enter or hunt, to retrieve the deer.

One man pleaded guilty to hunting deer without a licence and careless use of a firearm while hunting. He was fined $8,500 and had his hunting licence suspended for three years, and is required to retake the hunter education course. The other man pleaded guilty to trespassing for the purpose of hunting and was fined $2,500 and received a one-year hunting licence suspension.

The pair were convicted of offences under Ontario’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act at a remote hearing in Fort Frances on July 7 of this year.

David Critchlow, a regional enforcement operations manager for the MNRF based in Thunder Bay, said with the gun hunting season for deer about to open on Monday, deer hunters should use the case to remind themselves to hunt carefully, safely, and only in areas where they have permission.

“This is a case that shows poor choices by hunters,” he said. “It’s a safety concern and it’s also a hunting ethics concern.”

“The hunters discharged a firearm from the roadway, that’s illegal anywhere in the Province of Ontario,” he said, adding that it’s also unsafe.

“They saw the deer and they opportunistically shot it in the field, and then they trespassed into the field to retrieve the animal. People expect that when notice has been given on their property, their property is theirs and not to be entered by others without permission.”

Hunting is allowed on private property, if permission is given, Critchlow noted.

Similar cases happen “more than we’d like to see,” he said, but emphasized most hunters are ethical and abide by the law.

If members of the public suspect a resource violation, they can contact Conservation Officers or the ministry toll free at 1-877-847-7667 or online, or anonymously via Crime Stoppers.