FORT NELSON, B.C. – A Conservation Officer investigation led to an Alberta man, Richard Todd Bunnage, receiving $9,200 in penalties under the BC Wildlife Act.
Bunnage pled guilty to his involvement in the illegal guiding operations of Tenaka River Guide Service, based in B.C.
In September 2018, Bunnage led a party of non-resident hunters to several locations outside of the designated guide territory.
During this time, a moose and a black bear were illegally harvested.
The investigation began when a local pilot discovered a moose carcass along the Muskwa River. A photo circulating on social media appeared to show a moose killed in the area, as well.
The pilot suspected the moose was outside of guiding territory. He flew back later and retrieved what was left of the moose carcass (a leg) which he delivered to the Conservation Officer Service (COS).
Conservation officers identified the suspected hunter, and he was tracked to his home in the United States.
Officers from Utah Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assisted in taking a DNA sample from the carcass in the hunter’s possession. The sample matched DNA from the remains in BC.
Later, officers learned that a black bear was illegally harvested during the same hunt.
Bunnage recently pled guilty to making a false statement and being party to an offence by a guide outfitter in an area outside of authorization.
The BC COS says that most of the penalty will go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.
Bunnage is now prohibited from hunting and guiding in B.C.