FORT FRANCES – Four Americans have been fined a total of $1,000 for having bear claws without registering them.
Michael Morley of West Salem, Wisconsin, Thomas W. Borger of Lewiston, Minnesota, Charles Paul Toulouse of Winona, Minnesota, and Mark Wayne Edwards of Minnesota City, Minnesota, pleaded guilty and were each fined $250 for unlawfully possessing black bear claws they did not register.
Court heard that on June 6, 2014, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry conservation officers responded to a report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources of a black bear that had been shot and then had its paws removed. Officers located the bear on the Canadian side of Loon Lake, about 120 kilometres southwest of Lac La Croix, along the Ontario-Minnesota border. Officers contacted Morley, Borger, Toulouse and Edwards, who were staying at nearby Loon Falls Resort. The men said they went to see the bear after the resort owner told them he had shot it in defence of his property and left it onshore. The men initially denied possessing the claws, before admitting they did possess them. Officers seized the claws after finding them hidden throughout the cabin. The claws were forfeited to the Crown.
Justice of the Peace Marcel Donio heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Atikokan, on January 29, 2015.
The ministry reminds the public that you must register a dead, large mammal that you have found or been given for personal use if you wish to keep it. For further information on keeping a dead wild animal, visit ontario.ca
To report a natural resources violation, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 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).