Keywords: appeal; Wildlife Act – s. 24; Hunter Safety Training Regulations – s. 9(3); Wildlife Act General Regulation – ss. 7.02, 7.04; hunting licence
Max Searls, a hunting guide in the Williams Lake area, appealed a decision of the Deputy Director to cancel his hunting and firearm licences. The decision further specified that Mr. Searls would be ineligible to hold a new hunting licence for a period of approximately two-and-a-half years, and that Mr. Searls would be required to successfully complete the C.O.R.E. program before his licences would be reinstated.
The Deputy Director’s decision was based on Mr. Searls having been charged and convicted of two offences under the Wildlife Act within a two-year period (lending his rifle and guide map to a non-resident unlicensed hunter, and shooting a less-than-full-curl ram in full-curl season). Mr. Searls submitted that the Deputy Director’s decision was unreasonable for two reasons. First, as a guide, he requires his licences for his business, which is his only source of income. Second, regarding the ram, he felt certain that it was full-curl at the time of the shooting.
The Board found that the Deputy Director’s decision was reasonable in the circumstances. In particular, the Board noted that Mr. Searls’ past record indicated a variety of previous charges and violations. The Board also accepted that big horn sheep were a valuable resource found in limited numbers in the area, and that Mr. Searls should have taken additional care before shooting the ram to ensure that it met the appropriate specifications. The appeal was dismissed.