'It's a joke:' Poacher's fines and jail time not enough say hunting guides
The fines should have been larger and the jail time should have been longer.
That's the opinion of some outfitters, guides and hunters in New Brunswick responding to the sentencing of Daniel Dyer to more than $18,000 in fines and seven days in jail for his guilty plea to four major violations of the Fish and Wildlife Act involving illegal hunting and the illegal possession of animal parts.
According to the Fish and Wildlife Act, Dyer also faces a lifetime ban on holding a hunting permit for having two major violations in a span of less than five years.
"It's a joke," said Ray Dillon, a hunter and guide for more than 50 years. "I know people who have lost their license for life. They call them the ninety-niners at one-time, ninety-nine years and all they did was go and hunt the next year without a license."
"It's not something that is a deterrent as far as I'm concerned."
Dyer plead guilty in December to illegally possessing moose meat and portions of a moose carcass. He also pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a portion of a bear carcass and bear bacula — the bone found in a bear's penis.
A total of 378 bear gall bladders were seized from Dyer's family business, Lawrence Dyer and Son Outfitters in Plaster Rock in January 2015. A total of 438 pounds of meat, five bear penises displayed on a board, a walrus penis bone, and variety of other deer and moose parts including heads and partial carcasses were also seized during that time.
"For a bear gall, you can get hundreds on the black market for that in China if you can get it there," said Dillon, who has written several books on hunting and hunting stories. "So I just don't think this is a deterrent."
Additional illegal hunting charges against Dyer's wife and son were dropped after Dyer agreed to plead guilty to four violation of the Fish and Wildlife Act.
"We should be bearing the standards of the community, protecting our fish and wildlife, not doing something of this nature," said Dillon. "Given that he was an outfitter,… he should be held to a higher standard."
Sets a precedent
Other lodge owners say the stiffest penalty handed out under the Fish and Wildlife Act in recent memory gives a warning to those considering illegal hunting actions.
"Oh absolutely, absolutely," said Keith Wilson, owner and operator of Wilson's Sporting Camps in Miramichi. "I'm a law-abiding citizen and business man, and most outfitters are. So if you're guilty, you shouldn't be in the business, you shouldn't be operating that way."
The investigation into Dyer and the trial that followed took considerable time and resources. Undercover officers were investigating the Plaster Rock outfitter as far back as September 2014.
"But I think it's obvious that they're working on a shoestring budget," said Wilson. "We don't have the amount of wardens that we had. What we have now is just a fraction of what we had protecting the forests 20 years ago."
CBC News reached out the Department of Energy, Mines, and Resource Development, but were told that no one could be made available for an interview Thursday.