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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Island wildlife conservation officers are reminding hunters of their responsibilities after receiving several calls about carcasses of Canada geese being left in ditches.
“We’ve had a number of calls this season about dead Canadian Geese left in the roadside right-of-ways, ditches or out in the open. All but one showed that the geese had not been breasted, which is a violation of the Wildlife Conservation Act as wasted game,” explained Wade MacKinnon, the manager of investigation for justice and public safety.
MacKinnon says it’s a hard violation to prosecute.
“Often times we’ll get a call, but without anyone providing a tip to who may have left the birds there, we’ll have a hard time prosecuting someone for the offence.”
Recently, MacKinnon received a call about four Canadian geese being left in the Montague River. They had not been breasted.
“That matter is before the courts now. We got lucky with this case because someone called, gave us information about who may have been responsible for the offence and we were able to act on it.”
If the case ends with a conviction, the person will be fined and will be under a one-year license suspension from the day of the conviction.
MacKinnon said even if the geese are breasted, birds left in a highway right-of-way or in clear view and left on land without the permission of the owner can be offenses under the provincial Highway Traffic Act of Environmental Conservation Act.
He added that the improper disposal of game shines a bad light on the hunting community.
“I’m a hunter myself, and as these situations continue to happen, it sheds a negative light on hunters. Imagine walking down a trail an seeing birds discarded in the open. People would see it as a waste, even if they’re breasted and used for purpose. It’s instances like this that would lead hunters to lose public support.”
MacKinnon also received a call about several geese lying in the ditch on the Lyle Road in Lot 16.
“We sent someone out there to dispose of them properly. The birds had been breasted, but in this case it’s still an offence. There were nine birds there, total. We are asking the public’s assistance for who may have left the birds there. If the person or persons responsible are found, they will be fined.”
Recently, a farmer in Lower Bedeque found a bag of breasted geese on the shoulder of the road.
“It’s a remote spot, there’s often people who come out and dispose of garbage and other things. I saw the bag, thinking it was recyclables, and was prepared to take it home to put out the next trash day. But ,I quickly found that it was geese,” said the 73-year-old man, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution from the person who left the animals.
MacKinnon urges the public to continue to report instances like this to the wildlife conservation department.
“It’s the onus of the hunter to correctly dispose of the game. And they shouldn’t be put in waste or green bins either.”