B.C. man pleads guilty to hunting from vehicle, other Wildlife Act charges

James Wiens pleaded guilty to baiting an animal, feeding or attempting to feed dangerous wildlife and hunting from a motorvehicle.

Conservation officers went undercover to investigate a South Okanagan hunting guide outfitter who now potentially could be fined upwards of $30,000 for Wildlife Act offences.

James Wiens pleaded guilty to baiting an animal, feeding or attempting to feed dangerous wildlife and hunting from a motor vehicle when Crown and defence could not agree on what information they wanted Judge Michelle Daneliuk to weigh in her decision.

In the joint agreed statement of facts Crown counsel John Blackman said conservation officers from Washington State and Idaho went undercover contacting Wiens, operator of Vaseux Creek Outfitters, in 2016 about setting up a black bear hunt. The officers told Wiens one of them would be hunting, the other was tagging along to take photos with his friend. Wiens claimed a 100 per cent success rate on his hunts and a contract was signed between the parties at the rate of $4,000 U.S. plus the hunting license fee and about $100 a day for the friend to come along.

Related: Two charged for feeding B.C. bear Tim Hortons timbits

Wiens told the undercover officers that he knew places that the bears come to like “clockwork” everyday. According to Crown counsel, on May 9, 2016, the officers went out on the hunt and noted that an assistant to Wiens said in front of them that he had put out two bags of dog food.

“At 10 a.m., the undercover operators observed Mr. Wiens pouring a semi-thick brownish liquid out of a red gas can onto some old logs,” said Crown.

Over the next hour, the operators were taken to two baiting sites, which they noted smelled like fried chicken, and the two observed signs of grease saturation on logs. Photos of Wiens and his assistant baiting the sites were submitted as evidence.

Related: Bear conflicts keep B.C. Conservation Officers busy

Later that morning, Wiens asked the non-hunting friend to pass him the .17 calibre rifle in the truck and he was observed shooting outside the driver’s side window. While the Crown argued that Weins’ target was a large animal, believed to be a horse, the defense said that was not an agreed upon fact.

On the second day of hunting at 7:45 a.m., the trio came across a black bear feeding at one of the baited sites. Wiens instructed the undercover officer to shoot the bear and it was killed at that site. In addition over the course of a few days, operators saw Wiens dumping out dog food, placing bait and pouring out fryer grease at several sites.

Crown counsel was asking for the judge to consider a global fine on the three counts of $25,000 to $35,000, as well as, the forfeiture of the seized .17 calibre rifle, its ammo and a Polaris ATV.

“Mr. Wiens being a guide outfitter was in a position of trust. His activities take place in the backwoods of the province, and the province is vast. It takes a person of character not to be tempted to break the rules. The crown says it is ironic that in the contract he sent out, that all hunts will be pursuant to the Wildlife Act,” said Crown counsel Blackman.

While Crown argued that fines could be upwards of $100,000 and one year in jail, defence lawyer Kevin Church provided case law of fines as low as $230 and noted that it is not illegal to hunt black bears and they are not a endangered species.

Church insinuated that Wiens felt rushed to ensure the undercover officers had a successful hunt because they told him at some point that one of their grandmother’s had fallen ill and they needed to leave sooner than expected. That is the reason why he had chosen to use the bait. It was a inference that Crown counsel took issue with as there was no submissions into evidence that it induced the illegal acts and he alleged there is information that this was not the first time Wiens used these hunting tactics. Church denied that allegation and said Crown had also not submitted any evidence to prove that.

Church is asking for a fine in the range of $10,000 and forfeiture of the rifle.

Daneliuk ordered the two sides to speak further to resolve what information they are providing to her as evidence for sentencing in their joint submission and they will return in early December to fix a date for sentencing in early 2019.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey pushing the poor out of Whalley, public hearing speakers say

‘There is a war on the poor here in Surrey,’ resident Dave Diewert tells city council

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

IHIT investigating death of Surrey woman

Injured woman was taken to SMH early Tuesday morning

Charges laid in 2019 single-vehicle crash in Surrey that killed young soccer star

Dilpreet Sandhu, 19, faces eight charges in early morning crash that killed Brandon Bassi

Surrey Mounties seize guns, drugs and cash from Guildford residence

One man was arrested but no charges have been laid as investigation continues

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

Most Read