Two southern Ontario men have been fined a total of $9,900 for the illegal use of adult moose validation tags.

Richard Smith of Toronto and John Schaafsma of Burgessville each pleaded guilty to three counts of being party to the use of a void licence, contrary to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Smith was fined $7,500 for his involvement in the matter, while Schaafsma was fined $2,400.

Court heard that on October 9, 2015, conservation officers contacted a group of moose hunters who were staying at Bad Latitude Lodge near Marten River, which is operated by Schaafsma. The hunters had a bull moose validation tag which was only valid if they were accommodated at Pozniak’s Lodge located approximately 10 kilometres away from Bad Latitude Lodge. An investigation revealed that Smith had been the manager of Pozniak’s Lodge prior to its closing in 2013. From 2013 to 2015, Smith applied for and received tourist outfitter adult moose validation tags by claiming that he still operated Pozniak’s Lodge. Smith sold the tags to hunters and then arranged with Schaafsma to accommodate the hunters at Bad Latitude Lodge. The hunters, who were not aware that the tags they had received were illegal, cooperated fully with the investigation and were not charged.

Both matters were heard in the Ontario Court of Justice in Haileybury. Justice of the Peace Sylvie-Émanuelle Bourbonnais heard the Smith case on February 11, 2016, and Justice of the Peace Michael Kitlar heard the Schaafsma case on March 10, 2016.

To report a natural resources violation, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).