Newfoundland Labrador Snowmobile Patrols

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Charges are pending against 10 people for offences under the Wildlife Act and the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act following early January snowmobile patrols by provincial conservation officers in and around the Avalon Wilderness Reserve.

The early snowfall and favourable snowmobiling conditions are allowing conservation officers to patrol more remote areas than they would normally be able to target this time of year.

The 18 charges pending relate to illegal operation of a vehicle (a snowmobile) in the Avalon Wilderness Area, possession of a firearm without a valid licence or permit in an area frequented by wildlife, and illegal killing of big game. Conservation officers also seized firearms, ammunition, moose meat and a snowmobile sled.

Penalties for big game offences under the Wildlife Act can include fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment, loss of hunting privileges for up to five years and forfeiture of seized articles. Penalties under the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act can include fines ranging from $200 to $5,000 and/or 60 days in jail.

The Department of Natural Resources reminds members of the public that they are permitted to travel within the Avalon Wilderness Reserve on foot if they have a travel permit, however snowmobiles are prohibited. Conservation officers will continue to patrol the Avalon Wilderness Reserve and other remote areas throughout the winter.