Grant Gustafson pleaded guilty to hunting swimming deer; chasing deer with a motorboat; discharging a firearm from a motorboat; unlawfully hunting wolves; killing moose without a licence; attaching a game seal to a moose that had been killed by another person; using an illegal firearm; and making a false statement to a Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officer.
Gustafson is banned from hunting for the next 10 years and from guiding hunters for the next two years. Three motorboats, a trailer, rifle and assorted hunting equipment were seized and permanently forfeited to the Crown. Two of Gustafson’s employees and five of his clients were also fined a combined total of $15,500 and received a combined total of 26 years of hunting suspensions.
Court heard that between 2007 and 2009, the ministry was assisted by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department in conducting a covert investigation of Gustafson’s commercial deer outfitting business on Lake of the Woods in Kenora district and Rainy Lake in Fort Frances district.
His business caters primarily to U.S. clients.
Gustafson used dogs to drive deer from islands into open water while he and his employees waited in nearby motorboats. They then used their motorboats to push the swimming deer toward clients waiting with rifles onshore. Gustafson also took hunters by motorboat to get close to the swimming deer. If the deer were judged to have large enough antlers to be deemed trophy deer, he directed clients to shoot them from the boats.
Gustafson also directed his clients to shoot wolves although he knew they were not licensed to do so.
Justice of the Peace Pat Clysdale-Cornell heard Grant Gustafson’s case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Kenora, on April 12, 2012. The seven other defendants were sentenced in Kenora between May 31, 2011 and June 5, 2012.
To report a natural resources violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).