• Derrick Miller Gair v. Deputy Regional Manager, Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Programs

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    Decision Date: August 3, 2021

    Panel: Darrell Le Houillier

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 19; Permit Regulation – ss. 2(p), 6(1)(b) and (d); permit to possess dead wildlife; cougar; protection of life and property; special circumstances; value

    Derrick Miller Gair appealed a decision by the Deputy Regional Manager of Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Programs (the “Manager”), Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, denying his application for a permit to possess a dead cougar.

    In December 2020, a conservation officer (the “Officer”) shot and killed a cougar (the “Cougar”) because he considered it to be “problem wildlife”. According to the Officer, the Cougar was large and in good condition. The Cougar was killed on the Appellant’s property, but the Appellant was not the person who reported the Cougar to the Officer.

    The Appellant applied for a permit to possess the Cougar. The Manager refused to issue the permit. The Manager considered section 6(1)(d) of the Permit Regulation, which prohibits issuing a permit under section 2(p) of that regulation to possess dead wildlife with a value greater than $200. Section 6(2) of the Permit Regulation requires the value to be determined based on the average price received at government auctions. The Manager determined that the average price received for a cougar of average size and fair condition, including the hide and skull, in 2007, 2008 and 2010, was $276.00. The Manager also determined that the value of the Cougar was greater than $200 because of its large size and good condition, and therefore, he could not issue a permit to possess the Cougar.

    The Appellant appealed on the basis that the Manager overestimated the value of the Cougar. The Appellant also argued that he should not be denied possession of the Cougar just because it was killed by the Officer as problem wildlife.

    The Board noted that, in addition to the restriction on issuing possession permits set out in section 6(1)(d) of the Permit Regulation, section 6(1)(b) of that regulation says that if an animal is killed by accident, for a humane purpose, or for the protection of life or property, a permit must not be issued under section 2(p) to possess dead wildlife unless “special circumstances exist”.

    Based on the evidence, the Board found that the Officer most likely killed the Cougar to protect life or property. Therefore, the Manager was also obliged to consider section 6(1)(b) of the Permit Regulation when deciding whether to issue a permit to possess the Cougar. However, the Board held that there was no evidence of any special circumstances that would justify issuing a permit to the Appellant.

    Regarding the value of the Cougar, the Board found that the limited information about the Cougar’s condition, together with the limited and outdated auction data, made it difficult to determine a precise value for the Cougar. However, the Appellant provided no evidence that the Cougar was worth less than $200. Given that the Appellant bears the burden of proof, the Board was unable to conclude that the Cougar was less than $200. Therefore, the Board confirmed the denial of the permit based on section 6(1)(b) of the Permit Regulation.

    Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.