Of course the bizarre part of the whole incident was that they took a video of themselves doing the shooting and then brilliantly posted their killing spree on the internet.
I am constantly amazed by the stupidity of some people. Did these guys not consider that by posting their video on YouTube they were setting themselves up for prosecution? But then the basic question is why they would video themselves doing something illegal in the first place.
There was a great public hue and cry over this story and especially from the hunting community.
Hunting groups dread this type of story because invariably the perpetrators are identified as “hunters” by the media rather than as “poachers”.
But frankly, I don’t think that these guys even deserve the respectability of being called poachers. They are simply vandals, killing wantonly for some kind of cheap thrill.
And a late news flash! The trio were sentenced in court today, Monday August 10th.
David Fraser, James Fraser and Jeremy Rowlands pleaded guilty to breaking several federal and provincial wildlife laws in an incident that sparked widespread public outrage.
The video, which was shown in court, shows the men laughing and cheering each other on as at least two of them use rifles to shoot the ducks and ducklings.
“Did you get the baby?” asks one of the men while another calls it a “massacre.”
“I totally regret that day,” James Fraser told the court after entering the guilty plea. “I’m very sorry that everybody had to see that.”
The men stood side by side in court and apologized for their behaviour. They said they were new to Saskatchewan, having recently moved west from Ontario, and were not aware of the hunting laws.
Justice Doug Agnew suggested that was no excuse.
“The risk of harm was pretty substantial,” said Agnew. “It’s pretty clear that you committed the offence intentionally.”
The men pleaded guilty to unlawful hunting, hunting out of season, discharging a firearm from a vehicle and leaving edible game to be wasted.
They faced a maximum penalty of $100,000 for the provincial offences and $300,000 under federal laws, with the possibility of six months jail time. Agnew accepted that they were remorseful and fined the Frasers $5,000 each and Rowlands $6,000. He also ordered them to turn over the rifles.
Unfortunately, although convicted, they didn’t seem to have any understanding of the ethical lines that they had crossed.
Outside the courthouse, David Fraser said the men “really didn’t think” their actions were reckless.
“At the time that we did what we did, we didn’t know it was a crime and we had no idea that bullets ricocheted off water,” said David Fraser. “We made every effort at the time to make sure that there was nothing within eye view on the horizon of anywhere that we shot and the footage shows that.”
When asked why they posted the video on YouTube, Fraser said: “Because at the time we thought it was funny and it wasn’t a crime. We thought we were just having fun, really immature, stupid fun.”
Fraser said the experience has been educational and they learned a lesson about Canada’s hunting laws.
The “experience was educational”? They have no concept that what they were doing was morally and ethically wrong and to them it was just a bit of an education on Canada’s hunting laws. How encouraging is that?
At least someone got it right.
Brian Petrar with Environment Canada said the case really had nothing to do with hunting.
“It was people using birds as target practice,” he said outside court.