• Jack Martin v. Regional Manager

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    Decision Date:  July 28, 2009

    Panel:  Alan Andison

    Keywords:  Wildlife Act – s. 19; Permit Regulation – ss. 2, 6; permit; possession; Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

    Jack Martin appealed a decision of the Regional Manager, Environmental Stewardship Division, Kootenay Region, Ministry of Environment (the “Ministry”), refusing to issue Mr. Martin a permit to possess a cape and set of horns from a dead Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.  In April 2005, Mr. Martin found the dead ram and had the cape and horns removed.  He asked Ministry staff what he should do next, and he was advised to take the cape and horns for inspection at a Ministry office, which he did.  At that time, Mr. Martin indicated that he intended to have the cape and horns mounted and then would donate them for public display.  Mr. Martin had the cape and horns mounted by a taxidermist, and then displayed them in his home.

    Approximately two years later, the Ministry became aware that the cape and horns were on display in Mr. Martin’s home.  Shortly thereafter, Conservation Officers attended at Mr. Martin’s home and seized the cape and horns on grounds that Mr. Martin did not have a permit to possess them.  Ministry staff then advised Mr. Martin that a public facility was willing to display the mount, and the Ministry offered to reimburse him for his taxidermy costs.  However, Mr. Martin rejected the offer and instead applied to the Ministry for a permit to possess the cape and horns.  The Regional Manager refused his application on the grounds that the cape and horns are worth over $200, and the Permit Regulation prohibits the issuance of a permit in these circumstances.

    Mr. Martin appealed to the Board.  Mr. Marin submitted that the Ministry led him to believe that he could keep the mount after it was inspected.  He requested that the Board issue him a permit to possess the cape and horns.

    The Board found that the Wildlife Act clearly requires Mr. Martin to have a permit in order to lawfully possess the cape and horns.  Section 2 of that Act states that ownership of all wildlife in the province is vested in the government and a person does not acquire a right of property in any wildlife except as provided under the Act.  The Board found that Mr. Martin was seeking a permit under section 2(p) of the Permit Regulation authorizing a transfer in ownership of the cape and horns from the government to Mr. Martin.  Section 6(1)(d) of the Permit Regulation clearly prohibits the issuance of such a permit if the value of the wildlife parts exceeds $200, subject to two exceptions that did not apply in this case.  There was no dispute that the value of the cape and horns exceeds $200.  Further, the Board found that there was no evidence that the Ministry misled Mr. Martin.  The Board commended the Ministry for offering an alternative that it hoped would be acceptable to Mr. Martin.

    Accordingly, the Board confirmed the Regional Manager’s decision.  The appeal was dismissed.