The host of a British Columbia-based backcountry hunting show and his wife were found guilty of several poaching charges in British Columbia and Alberta, conservation services in both provinces said Thursday.
Michel Beaulieu, presenter of the television series Wild alpine carnivore, and Lynn Beaulieu must pay a combined total of more than $31,500 in fines for illegally hunting bighorn sheep, elk and moose between August 2020 and September 2021, according to the services.
The Alberta Fish and Wildlife Authority (AFWE) said the pair have been convicted of several offences, including hunting without a licence, closed season hunting, providing false information and abuse of licensing requirements within protected wildlife areas, as well as the illegal possession and export of wildlife.
They were fined a combined $25,000 in Alberta, AFWE said in a Facebook post Thursday.
The British Columbia Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) said Beaulieu pleaded guilty to allowing another person to use his hunting license and was fined $4,500.
His wife also admitted to hunting without a license in the same incident and was fined $2,000, the service said.
“These actions showed a blatant disregard for fish and wildlife laws in British Columbia and beyond,” BCCOS Insp. Kyle Ackles said in the statement. “Unfortunately, cross-border poaching is not an unusual occurrence.”
Alpine carnivore It has been running since 2021, according to Wild TV, and has over 10,000 subscribers on its YouTube channel.
However, on Friday morning the specialized channel said it was “deeply disturbed and disappointed” by the news and had removed all Alpine carnivore content of its programming on all platforms.
“We do not condone or support any hunting practices that break the law or go against our values,” a statement on Wild TV’s Facebook page read.
“We stand with our fellow outdoor men and women in their disdain for poaching.”
In a video published on Alpine carnivore On his Facebook page, Beaulieu said he was “not blameless” and apologized to those affected for his actions.
“None of this was done with malicious intent. Not once did I go in and say, ‘Oh, we’re going to poach this animal illegally.’ That didn’t even cross my mind,” he said.
“There are not, to be clear, dozens of hunts in multiple provinces where we have committed crimes.”
Couple still faces more charges: court records
The convictions and guilty pleas come after a two-year interprovincial investigation, according to British Columbia and Alberta Wildlife Services.
The BCCOS says the services executed search warrants and seized illegally killed wildlife in both British Columbia and Alberta.
The service went on to say that investigators used DNA analysis to compare animal parts and a rifle seized in British Columbia to kill sites and bullet casings in Alberta.
“This was a complex file that was concluded thanks to the dedication and cooperation of our officers and colleagues in Alberta,” Ackles said. “We would like to thank them for their tireless efforts.”
Both Beaulieus are banned from hunting for a year and all animals have been returned to the Crown, the BCCOS said.
British Columbia court records show the couple still faces other illegal hunting charges.
The Beaulieu’s are charged with three combined counts of failing to comply with the terms of a permit in connection with an incident that occurred in January 2022 in Kelowna. Michel Beaulieu is accused of hunting or carrying a firearm without a license in Beaverdell, British Columbia, in April 2022.
The host was also charged with three counts of unlawful possession of an imported plant or animal in a February 2022 incident in Kelowna, but those charges were stayed on January 8.
AFWE encouraged the public to report any information they have about wildlife or fishery violations, which can be done anonymously.
“Significant fines related to illegal hunting activity serve as a strong deterrent to any potential poachers,” Thursday’s statement said.