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I screwed up last year

01 Jul 2017
@ 01:09 pm (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Part of the healing process is talking about the pain with people who can relate to the incident.

I have forty-five years of years of hunting with a license plus the years go with Dad as a kid.

Last year for the first time... I got it wrong.

Here in Ontario you can buy a calf moose license and you put in the lottery to get a cow or bull.

The law is specific. You can shoot a calf up to 12 months in age. The regulations handbook does try and educate the hunter on the difference between a 12 month old calf and a cow.

As a side note... I officiate minor Canadian football. I'm experienced in reading and interrupting rules.

I saw the moose. I went through the "identifying" steps made my decision that it was a calf and took the shot.

I got it wrong. The game warden who was a perfect gentleman showed me the teeth. He admitted that the steps he was about to use to confirm that the animal was a young cow was an option I didn't have. A calf has a tricuspid. A cow has a bicuspid. This one had the bicuspid. I was charged... hunting without a license.

I did my day in court. I pleaded guilty and was fined accordingly.

I made a mistake in identification. Emotionally did this experience hurt.

I feel it is an experience worth sharing. I expect the "how could you be some dumb comments."



01 Jul 2017
@ 02:03 pm (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: I screwed up last year

Thanks for sharing. An honest man can make an honest mistake, and it could happen to any of us.
01 Jul 2017
@ 02:40 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: I screwed up last year
Hey Vick,

You owned it and took the penalty. Very honourable mate. We have all made mistakes. It's how you face them that really counts.

Keep it up mate. Character will carry you every time.
01 Jul 2017
@ 02:53 pm (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Re: I screwed up last year
Thanks for sharing your unfortunately sad experience. I do fully sympathize with you. Here in BC we are getting into similar seasons, 4 Point Mule Deer buck seasons,6 pt Elk, Immature (spike fork) bull moose season etc etc etc. Target identification is getting to be extremely important, not just for safety as always, but to insure 110% that the animal is legal to take. I thank God I haven't made a mistake but as your story from last year shows, it's easy enough for an honest hunter to make a mistake. Im actually a bit surprised they didn't just give you a citation/fine right there at the game check but made you go to court, even though you were honest. But maybe that's just the law.

As an aside, with all these types of seasons and animal identification becoming so important I find that i can hunt less with my iron sighted guns. With the tags and seasons being what they are, good quality optics are pretty much a necessity now I find. I think the days of 'if it's brown it's down' seasons are gone now here in BC.
01 Jul 2017
@ 03:23 pm (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Re: I screwed up last year
Hi Luke:

Had we called in to the Ministry to report a potential mistake i would have been fined approximately half of my court sentence.

Timing was such that by time we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to call the ministry that a mistaken shot may have been made, the officer arrived at the camp by boat before we were able to make the call. The moose was still warm.

The officer on the scene made a judgement call. He recognised it was an honest mistake but he also had consider he got there before I made the call.

What I learned from this experience is when it comes to identification, you have to ask yourself the right question.

The law is very specific. You can shoot a calf up to the age of 12 months. The regulations are specific is describing the difference. This gives the officers a black and white determination of the law by using the tooth. That is a good thing.

My failure was that in the identification process it didn't cross my mind that in October we can't have a 12 month old animal. It is either 3-6 months or 15 - 18 months.

I shouldn't have asked if this was a calf under 12 months of age or a young cow.

If I had asked myself if this was a six month old baby... I would have never have taken the shot.


01 Jul 2017
@ 07:43 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: I screwed up last year
some of the most experienced waterfowlers I know (myself included)have taken a grey teal by mistake when targeting mallards..... mallards up high and teal lower look the same size in poor light,you hearing the mallards up swing and down goes the closer teal.
as Forest Gump says "it happens"


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