Acting on a tip, Alberta, Canada authorities began an investigation into a possible poaching and trafficking case back in May. They uncovered 500 sets of antlers associated with Garland Larry Poyser. His business, Poyser Auto Service, was housing all the antlers when detectives raided the shop.

There, wildlife officers seized 500 sets of deer, moose, elk and caribou antlers. Alberta Justice and Solicitor General spokesperson Brendan Cox said at the moment the department does not believe this to be a poaching case. They believe Poyser acquired the antlers either by purchasing or finding them in the wild. Although, possession of wild animal parts in Alberta is unlawful without a permit issued by the Fish and Wildlife Department.

Original press release issued by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General on September 25, 2012

A four-month-long undercover investigation focusing on the trafficking of big game antlers in the Lougheed area concluded on August 25th, 2012, with charges laid against Garland Larry Poyser of Sedgewick, Alberta, (about 100 miles southeast of Edmonton) and his business, Poyser Auto Service. Charges include two counts of unlawfully trafficking in wildlife, one count of possessing wildlife for the purpose of trafficking, and one count of unlawful possession of wildlife.

Initial court appearances are scheduled for October 16th, 2012, in Killam, Alberta. The maximum penalty for illegally selling wildlife, or for possessing wildlife for the purpose of selling it, is $100,000 in fines and/or two years in jail. A charge of unlawful possession of wildlife can result in up to $50,000 in fines and/or one year in jail.

“Illegal trafficking of wildlife will not be tolerated in Alberta. This is a very serious crime that needs to be dealt with through serious punishments,” said, Justice and Solicitor General Minister Jonathan Denis. “My thanks go out to the fish and wildlife officers for their great work on this investigation and for continuing to protect Alberta’s wildlife resources.”

Fish and Wildlife officers executed a search warrant at Poyser Auto Service on August 25th, 2012, seizing 500 sets of white-tailed deer and mule deer antlers, 36 sets of moose antlers, six sets of elk antlers and one set of caribou antlers.

The trafficking of wildlife is highly regulated in Alberta, and wildlife can only be sold under very stringent and controlled conditions. Unregulated trade creates a potential marketplace that may imperil the future of Alberta’s wildlife resources.

Anyone with information that would assist in solving any fish or wildlife crime in Alberta is asked to contact a local Alberta government Fish and Wildlife Enforcement office or call the 24-hour, toll-free Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800. Anyone who provides information can remain anonymous and could qualify for a reward.

Image courtesy of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General

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