In another unfortunate wildlife offense, a prominent member of British Columbia’s hunting community has been fined for the illegal killing of a bull elk.
Derek Sward, 36, had served two terms as president of the Keremeos-Cawston Sportsman’s Association, Vice President of the Southern Interior Houndsman Association and was involved with British Columbia’s Conservation Officer Service before becoming embroiled in the case.
Hunting in a region permitted for bulls sporting six-points and above, Sward took an elk with only five-points and attempted to report the animal as harvested in another area that allowed for smaller bulls. As the investigation intensified, Sward eventually admitted to conservation officers in the region of the Kootenay where it was not legally permitted.
A search later uncovered portions of the elk in his possession and he was also subject to scrutiny for allegedly falsifying records for his taxidermy business.
Wednesday morning Sward pleaded guilty to a count of hunting out of season and a count of unlawful possession of dead wildlife.
“It was wrong, and I always try to be an upstanding citizen and do the best I can with everything,” Sward said. “Definitely a black eye on my life, and I do apologize to everybody that’s been involved.”
He was fined $3,150, with $2,000 going toward the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and was also handed a two-year hunting suspension.