SUDBURY -- Two people are facing $9,000 in fines for an illegal moose hunt in 2019 near Hearst, and a later attempt to cover up the incident by claiming the animal was shot by a member of a First Nation.

René Lemieux of Mattice pleaded guilty to unlawfully hunting a moose without a licence and was fined $5,000. He also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a conservation officer, was fined $1,000 and suspended from hunting in Ontario for two years.

Manon Marcoux, also of Mattice, pleaded guilty to being in possession of illegally killed wildlife and was fined $2,000. Marcoux also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a conservation officer, was fined $1,000 and suspended from hunting in Ontario for one year.

Justice of the Peace Jean-Marie Blier heard the case remotely in the Ontario Court of Justice on March 17 of this year.

Hunt in October 2019

Court heard that on Oct. 20, 2019, Lemieux and Marcoux were hunting moose on Barker Road south of Mattice when Lemieux harvested a bull moose. Lemieux had mistaken it for a cow moose, which his hunting party was licensed to hunt.

"Upon realizing the mistake, a person who was not hunting with the group at the time was called to attend the scene and claim the moose under a lawful claim on the moose," the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said in a news release Friday.

"Conservation officers were in the area and intercepted the hunters while they were transporting the moose to their vehicle. During the inspection, false statements were made indicating a First Nation member had shot the moose. Conservation officers of the Hearst and Kapuskasing detachments initiated an investigation that resulted in collecting evidence that disproved the initial statements and attempted coverup."

The remaining person charged is scheduled to attend court at a later date, the ministry said.

"The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) wants to remind hunters that all cases of misidentification of moose which lead to a moose being hunted without a licence should be reported to a conservation officer immediately," the release said.

"MNRF conservation officers continue to patrol and protect our natural resources during the current COVID-19 pandemic and would like to remind everyone that by respecting seasons, sanctuaries, bag and possession limits, we all help ensure our natural resources stay healthy."

To report a natural resource violation 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, visit