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4 Americans, 2 Canadians fined $50K for illegal moose hunting in northern Ont.

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An investigation that lasted almost two years has resulted in moose hunting violation convictions for six people and a lodge in Red Lake in northwestern Ontario.

The 21-month investigation was a joint effort between the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, according to a news release from the ministry Friday.

A court heard that in October of 2019 a conservation officer stopped two men from Minnesota -- Anthony Schmitt and Robert Hommerding – who were travelling south of Red Lake on Highway 105 with a cow moose, according .

“It was determined that they were hunting with Geary’s Sportsman’s Lodge,” the ministry said in a news release Friday.

“The moose was shot from a boat and in the wrong wildlife management unit. A subsequent investigation into the 2017 to 2019 hunting activity at Geary’s Sportsman’s Lodge was initiated.”

Working with U.S. authorities, conservation officers determined that between 2017 and 2019, numerous moose were shot at from boats while hunters were being guided.

All six individuals and the corporation’s guilty pleas involving illegal and unsafe moose hunting were heard by various justices of the peace over 21 months in the Ontario Court of Justice in Red Lake.

Brett Geary of Red Lake, pleaded guilty to two counts of discharging a firearm from a boat. He received $10,000 in fines and a four-year hunting licence suspension.

Geary’s Sportsman’s Lodge on Little Vermilion Lake, north of Red Lake, pleaded guilty to two counts of discharging a firearm from a boat and received $24,000 in fines.

Schmitt of Saint Cloud, Min., pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm from a boat, hunting big game with no licence and possessing illegally killed wildlife. He received $8,500 in fines and a seven-year hunting licence suspension.

Gary Anderson of Saint Cloud, Minn., pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm from a boat and possessing illegally killed wildlife. He received $3,500 in fines and a three-year hunting suspension.

Paul Kruchten of Clearwater, Minn., pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm from a boat and possessing illegally killed wildlife. He received $2,000 in fines and a two-year hunting suspension.

Hommerding of Saint Cloud, Minn., pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm from a boat. He was fined $1,000 and a two-year hunting suspension.

Ryan Scott of Red Lake pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm from a boat. He was fined $1,200.

In addition to the individual fines, $12,550 in victim surcharge fines were levied against the six individuals and the corporation.

To report a natural resource problem or provide information about an unsolved case, members of the public can call the ministry TIPS line toll free at 1-877-847-7667.

You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. For more information about unsolved cases, click here.

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