Fish and Wildlife Officers bust prolific poachers


On September 28, 2015, Sophie Goupil and Gerard Visneskie pleaded guilty to a wide variety of poaching charges in Stony Plain Provincial Court. Sophie Goupil received a fine of $16,000. Gerard Visneskie received a fine of $34,000.

In addition, both Goupil and Visneskie are prohibited from hunting or accompanying others who are hunting for eight years and fishing or accompanying others who are fishing for two years. They are also required to report any change of address and any possession of wildlife or fish to Fish and Wildlife Officers.  In addition, they are subject to comprehensive limitations on where they can be in possession of weapons for eight years.

This was the conclusion of a complex investigation that involved several different suspects and incidents that occurred over a period of about seven years. On January 28, 2014, Fish and Wildlife Officers in Stony Plain received a complaint via the Report A Poacher program about pictures and videos showing alleged illegal hunting activity posted by Gerard Visneskie to Facebook and YouTube.

Damien Verheyden (left) and Gerard Visneskie (right) pose with two black bears.

Damien Verheyden (left) and Gerard Visneskie (right) pose with two black bears.

The investigation revealed that Gerard Visneskie, Sophie Goupil, Damien Verheyden, Alyssa Rogers, Mark Ernewein and Stanley Raugust participated in a substantial amount of unlawful hunting and fishing activity.

The activities demonstrated a complete lack of regard for conservation laws and ranged from using a variety of unlawful equipment and methods, falsifying documents to unlawfully obtain licences, hunting and fishing without licences, and hunting and fishing during closed seasons.

Any suspicious hunting or fishing activity can be reported to the 24-hour Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800. Thanks to the public who called in regarding this investigation.

RaP

Outcomes

On November 4, 2014, Stanley Raugust received a total penalty of $667 after pleading guilty to:

  • butcher failing to complete records;
  • butcher failing to retain records; and
  • unlawful possession of wildlife.

On January 28, 2015, Alyssa Rogers was fined $3,105 and suspended from fishing for one year and huntingfor two years after entering guilty pleas to the following offences:

  • hunting wildlife without a licence; and
  • two counts of fishing without a sport fishing licence.

On June 25, 2015, Mark Ernewein was fined $4,500 and suspended from fishing three years after pleading guilty to:

  • two counts of exceeding the possession limit for fish; and
  • sport fishing in closed waters.

On July 15, 2015, Damien Verheyden was fined $13,500 and suspended from obtaining a hunting licence for 30 months after entering guilty pleas to the following offences:

  • four counts of unlawful possession of wildlife;
  • fishing with a spear gun;
  • ineligible person applying for, obtaining and/or holding a licence;
  • hunting wildlife without a licence; and
  • wilfully give false and/or misleading information.

On September 28, 2015, Sophie Goupil was fined $16,000 and suspended from hunting for eight years and fishing for two years after pleading guilty to:

  • hunting wildlife during a closed season;
  • exceeding the possession limit for fish;
  • two counts of hunting wildlife without a licence; and
  • fishing without a sport fishing licence.

On September 28, 2015, Gerard pleaded guilty and was fined $34,000 and suspended from hunting for eight years and fishing for two years for:

  • hunting wildlife during a closed season;
  • unlawfully baiting big game;
  • exceeding the possession limit for fish;
  • using a handgun to hunt;
  • fishing with a spear for prohibited species;
  • using an electronic calling device to hunt;
  • ineligible person applying for, obtaining or holding a licence; and
  • unlawful possession of wildlife.

The fines in this investigation totalled $71,272.

 

This entry was posted in Fish and Wildlife, Law and Courts, Law Enforcement, Public Security. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fish and Wildlife Officers bust prolific poachers

  1. Steve Broadhead says:

    Great job, Officers!

  2. Evelyn Ball says:

    Poachers are a disgrace to the human race. They deserve to be punished for their disrespect for other species and the law.

  3. Dana Belyk says:

    Great job! Keep up the good work on catching those poachers and making them pay!

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