The host of a British Columbia-based backcountry hunting show and his wife have been found guilty of several poaching charges in B.C. and Alberta, conservation services in both provinces said Thursday.
Michel Beaulieu, host of the Wild TV series Alpine Carnivore, and Lynn Beaulieu must pay a combined total of more than $31,500 in fines for illegally hunting bighorn sheep, elk and moose between August 2020 and September 2021, according to the services.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement (AFWE) said the couple have been convicted of several offences, including hunting without a licence, hunting in a closed season, providing false information and abusing licensing requirements within protected wildlife areas, as well as unlawful possession and export of wildlife.
They have been fined $25,000 combined in Alberta, AFWE said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) said Beaulieu pleaded guilty to allowing his hunting licence to be used by another person and has been fined $4,500.
His wife also admitted to hunting without a licence in the same incident and received a fine of $2,000, the service said.
“These actions showed a blatant disregard for fish and wildlife laws in B.C. and beyond,” said BCCOS Insp. Kyle Ackles in the statement. “Unfortunately, cross-border poaching is not an unusual occurrence.”
Alpine Carnivore has been running since 2021, according to Wild TV, and has more than, 10,000 subscribers on its YouTube channel.
However, on Friday morning the specialty channel said it was “deeply disturbed and disappointed” by the news and had removed all Alpine Carnivore content from its programming on all platforms.
“We do not condone or support any hunting practices that break the law or go against our values,” said a statement on Wild TV’s Facebook page.
“We stand with our fellow outdoorsmen and women in their disdain for poaching.”
In a video posted to the Alpine Carnivore Facebook page, Beaulieu said he was “not without guilt” and apologized to those affected by his actions.
“None of this was done with malicious intent. Not one time did I go in there and go, ‘Oh we’re going to go poach this animal illegally.’ That never even crossed my mind,” he said.
“There’s not, just to be clear, dozens of hunts over multiple provinces where we’ve committed offences.”
Couple still facing more charges: court records
The convictions and guilty pleas come after a two-year interprovincial investigation, according to wildlife services in B.C. and Alberta.
The BCCOS says the services executed search warrants and seized illegally killed wildlife from both B.C. and Alberta.
The service went on to say investigators used DNA analysis to match animal parts and a rifle seized in B.C. to kill sites and shell casings in Alberta.
“This was a complex file that was concluded due to the dedication and co-operation from our officers and colleagues in Alberta,” said Ackles. “We’d like to thank them for their tireless efforts.”
Both Beaulieus are banned from hunting for one year and all animals have been returned to the Crown, the BCCOS said.
B.C. court records show the couple are still facing several other illegal hunting charges.
The Beaulieus are charged with a combined three counts of failing to comply with the terms of a permit in relation to a January 2022 incident in Kelowna. Michel Beaulieu is accused of hunting or carrying a firearm without a licence in Beaverdell, B.C., in April 2022.
The host was also accused of three counts of unlawfully possessing an imported plant or animal in a February 2022 incident in Kelowna, but those charges were stayed on Jan. 8.
AFWE encouraged the public to report any information they have about wildlife or fishery violations, which can be done anonymously.
“Significant fines related to illegal hunting activity serve as a strong deterrent to any would-be poachers,” said the Thursday statement.