Keremeos hunter pays price for shooting elk out of season | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Keremeos hunter pays price for shooting elk out of season

A Keremeos man was fined $3,150 in Penticton court today, Aug. 9, 2017, for shooting a five point elk during six point season. He also faces a two year hunting ban.
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August 09, 2017 - 8:30 PM

PENTICTON - Shooting an elk without a license to hunt proved costly for a Keremeos man in court today.

Derek Sward was sentenced in Penticton court today, Aug. 9, after entering guilty pleas on one count of hunting out of season and one count of unlawful possession of dead wildlife.

Crown Prosecutor Mallory Treddenick told court Sward was on a hunt with a First Nations member in the Kootenays where he is alleged to have shot a five-point bull elk during what was a six-point season.

Treddenick said Sward's First Nations hunting partner believed Sward was using his native status to get away with his behaviour, and informed conservation officers.

Sward, a former taxidermist who had a shop in Keremeos, denied shooting the elk initially, but then quickly admitted to the deed when questioned by conservation officers.

A search warrant revealed the elk in Sward’s possession.

Treddenick asked court to consider a $4,000 to $5,000 fine and a two- to three-year hunting prohibition, noting the environmental and economic impact of the crime.

She said hunting regulations were in place to ensure survival of adequate populations of elk, noting studies showed the hunting of a single elk was worth $6,620 to the Kootenay economy.

Defence lawyer Doug Lester said his 36-year-old client was an upstanding citizen in the Keremeos area, lending his time to various organizations and projects related to wildlife conservation.

He said his client’s reputation has suffered greatly from the social media attention garnered by the charges. He said Sward lost his taxidermy business and became estranged from his father, also an ardent outdoorsman, as a result.

After a short recess, Crown and defence counsel agreed mutually to a dispute on evidence after Lester indicated to the court the elk in question had been shot and wounded by Sward’s First Nations partner.

He said Sward fired the fatal shot into the elk after his partner, who had aboriginal hunting rights, refused, because it was too far away.

Lester asked Judge Gregory Koturbash to consider the damage done to Sward’s personal life as a result of the charges in asking for a $2,000 fine and a two year hunting ban.

Judge Koturbash noted Sward’s early guilty plea, calling his social situation,“a fall from grace in the hunting community.”

The judge also noted the need to call the public’s attention to such matters, as hunting limitations are imposed to ensure species survive, saying a very clear message needs to be sent to the hunting community.

Sward was sentenced to fines totalling $3,150 on both charges, with $2,000 of that money to be directed to a conservation fund.

Sward also faces a two year hunting ban.

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