Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

GRAVENHURST — Four Muskoka men have been fined of $3,200 for illegal moose hunting in 2019 — including a Gravenhurst hunter who received a 15-year suspension.

Conservation officers and police found them on Crown land in the south-east area of the town.

The hunters had a cow moose and officers found a second cow moose that had been shot and left in the bush near Lewisham Road, says a release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Feb. 26.

Ben Loshaw, of Gravenhurst, pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to hunting two cow moose without a licence. He received a $2,000 fine, along with a 15-year hunting suspension.

Robert Mackinnon, of Bracebridge, and Dion Haight and Irvin Miller, both of Gravenhurst, pleaded guilty to possessing illegally obtained wildlife and each received a $400 fine.

They were the only four charged in the incident.

Justice of the Peace Michelle Vella-Baxter heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Bracebridge, more than two years after the shootings.

Court heard that on Oct. 19, 2019, officers found the men transporting a cow moose, which none of the hunters had a licence to hunt.

MNRF S/Sgt. Robert Gibson told MuskokaTODAY.com today that in the afternoon Conservation officers and OPP were “conducting a routine ATV patrol” near Lewisham Road during the Parry Sound District Moose Hunt, when they came across the hunters.

He said the men were stopped on ATVs “while dragging out an antlers moose.”

The moose and the firearm was used were seized.

Gibson said further investigation — with the assistance of an MNRF canine unit — located a second cow moose that had been shot and left to spoil, close to the kill site of the moose that was first seized.

Gibson added today that as part of the officer’s investigation “the second moose (cow) was found lying a short distance away in a wooded ravine partially eaten by scavengers and the flesh was spoiled.”

Forensic analysis determined that a bullet removed from the spoiled moose originated from the firearm seized from Loshaw.

Gibson says MNRF Conservation officers continue to patrol and protect our natural resources during the current COVID-19 pandemic and remind everyone that by respecting seasons, sanctuaries, bag and possession limits, helps ensure 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 or contact your local ministry office. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. For more information about unsolved cases, please visit ontario.ca/mnrftips.

Conservation officers and police were on patrol near Lewisham Road Oct. 19, 2019, in south-east Gravenhurst when they found the four Muskoka men on ATVs pulling one of two cow moose shot by Ben Loshaw.

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