Quebec wardens bust a poaching legend

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2007:
MONTREAL–For more than 30 years rumors
circulated among Quebec game wardens about trophy
hunting outfitters north of the St. Lawrence
River who would allegedly trap wolves and bears
with baited hooks, then fly rich clients out to
shoot them.
The perpetrators allegedly also chased
big moose and caribou to exhaustion with
helicopters, to give unscrupulous and
politically powerful customers easier shots.
But none of the suspects were ever caught
in any of the acts and arrested. Catching
ordinary deer poachers in relatively populated
southern Quebec was difficult. Catching
well-funded and well-equipped poachers hundreds
of miles from any accidental witnesses was deemed
almost impossible.

On May 1, 2007, however, the Quebec
Justice Department announced charges against 12
alleged poachers who are accused of doing
everything rumored– and released a photo of the
alleged poachers flying an illegally killed moose
out of the woods.
“The dozens of offences range from making
false statements to unlawful possession of
moose,” summarized Ingrid Peritz of the Toronto
Globe & Mail. “Two men have pleaded guilty and
10 not guilty.”
Ministere des Ressources naturelles et de
la Faune du Quebec wardens testified that “The
shooters set out in helicopters from the upscale
Lac Matonipi outfitting lodge, north of Baie
Comeau,” Peritz recounted. “Among those charged
is Clément Guérin, director of the Lac Matonipi
Guérin, a resident of the Montreal
suburb of St. Lazare, was charged with illegal
possession of a moose and a black bear, and with
allegedly hooking wolves. He pleaded not guilty,
claiming he had been framed by the investigators.
“André Martel, whose $1.5-million
helicopter was seized after the operation, faces
15 charges that could bring fines of a minimum
$27,375,” Peritz continued. “Martel, president
of Panorama Helicopters, is charged with
numerous counts of chasing moose and firing on a
moose from a helicopter. He refused to comment
when he was reached at his company in Alma,
Investigation of the poaching operation
was underway for about three years, making use
of tips from legal hunters.

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