• Dennis Dunn v. Deputy Director of Wildlife

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    Decision Date: April 25, 1997

    Panel: David Perry

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – s.103; 1993/94 BC Hunting and Trapping Regulations synopsis; Wildlife Act Regulation 190-84, standard of proof

    By consent of the parties, this decision was set aside by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on May 28, 1998.

    Mr. Dunn appealed a decision of the Deputy Director of Wildlife upholding a refusal by the Regional Manager to return a thinhorn mountain sheep head. Mr. Dunn was acquitted in December, 1994 by a Provincial Court Judge of killing a sheep which did not meet the definition of a full curl thinhorn ram, the trial judge finding that there was reasonable doubt as to whether the ram was undersize at the date of killing. The head was held by the Wildlife Branch as property of the Crown. Mr. Dunn appealed to the Board on the grounds that the definition of a full curl thinhorn sheep is flawed, that the definitions found in the field guide and the regulations are inconsistent and misleading, and that therefore the head should be returned to him.

    The Board found that the definition of “full curl” contained in the field guide is an adequate reflection of the regulation. Based on the definition in the regulation, the Board found on a balance of probabilities that the ram’s head was not of legal size. The Board applies a different standard than criminal courts, therefore there is no conflict between Mr. Dunn’s acquittal and the Branch’s refusal to return the head. The Board noted however that the regulation definition of a legal thinhorn sheep is extremely difficult to apply and urged the Wildlife Branch to adopt a more flexible definition. The appeal was dismissed.