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.

Just Posted

Alberni drag racers petition for return to the airport

AVDRA hosted their annual Thunder in the Valley drag racing event for 15 years at the airport

BC Transit considers rural bus routes in the Alberni Valley

Sproat Lake, Cherry Creek, Beaver Creek could see service

UPDATED: Wildfire burning near Taylor Flats in the Alberni Valley

Fire is located close to Highway 4 near Sproat Lake

Alberni high school builds community with new mural

Mural was painted by students, Nuu-chah-nulth education workers

Port Alberni youth breaks neck in riverbank accident

Fundraiser has been set up for youth and his family

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

First ever Indigenous person to join the RCMP to be honoured in B.C.

Hawk Kelly said becoming a Mountie was his dream job as a kid

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of B.C. inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused B.C. cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Most Read