Wakaw, Sask. poachers suspended, fined over $16K following investigation

Four people were suspended from hunting in Saskatchewan and received combined fines of $16,960 following an investigation that began with a routine hunter compliance check from a Saskatoon conservation officer last fall.

The investigation uncovered a family’s pattern of unethical hunting practices and offences committed over the last 10 years.

“The case concluded on July 12 in Wakaw Provincial Court, when four individuals pleaded guilty to a total of 18 counts of various wildlife infractions,” stated a news release from Saskatchewan Environment. “Donna Balone, Miles Balone, Travis Balone and Nicole Forcier received combined fines of $16,960 and hunting suspensions ranging from one to three years.”

Read more: Gronlid, Sask. man fined for illegal wildlife trafficking

According to the release, a Saskatoon conservation officer stopped Travis and Nicole near Wakaw on Nov. 21, 2021. The officer learned that Balone was unlawfully carrying and hunting with Nicole Forcier’s white-tailed deer seal.

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“The investigation then led to the pair’s residence, where the officer found two trophy white-tailed deer skulls that had been taken earlier in the season,” according to a statement.

“Both had seals attached, one belonging to Travis Balone and the other to Donna Balone, his mother. The officer seized the skull with Travis Balone’s seal immediately, as Nicole Forcier admitted to shooting it. The other skull was seized later when it was confirmed that it was Travis Balone who shot the deer before placing his mother’s seal on it.”

Read more: Wildlife trafficking fine for Loon Lake, Sask. man

The investigation continued over the next several months which revealed other offences dating back to 2014.

“All parties involved provided false or misleading information to the officer throughout the investigation,” the release states.

Officials urge the public that anyone who suspects wildlife, fisheries, forestry or environmental violations should call Saskatchewan’s toll-free Turn In Poachers and Polluters (TIPP) line at 1-800-667-7561 or call #5555 from a SaskTel cellular device. Violations can also be reported online at saskatchewan.ca/tipp.

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