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Poacher in Yukon must pay $20,000, banned from hunting for 20 years

WHITEHORSE - A poacher from Whitehorse has been sentenced to a six-month sentence to be served in the community and ordered to pay $20,000.

Jonathan Ensor pleaded guilty to 18 infractions of the Wildlife Act, including poaching a bison, deer, elk, mountain sheep and caribou, mostly in the fall of 2015.

Ensor, 34, has also been banned from hunting or even accompanying others hunting in the territory for 20 years.

Ensor's actions were intentional, and he made many attempts to conceal his illegal hunting, territorial court Judge Mike Cozens said during the sentencing hearing.

Cozens said all Yukon residents have a duty to report suspicious or illegal activity because the size and remoteness of the territory means it's impossible for the limited number of conservation officers to cover the region.

For the first three months of Ensor's sentence, he is to be confined to his home except to go to work. In the final three months, he must be at home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except for work.

The $20,000 is to be paid in two years and directed to the territory's Turn in Poachers and Polluters tip line.

In addition to poaching big game, Ensor also pleaded guilty to poaching grouse and allowing grouse and bison meat to spoil.

The judge said a particularly aggravating circumstance was that Ensor did all the killing when he was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

"I respect the judge's decision," Ensor said outside court on Friday after being sentenced.

During sentencing submissions, Ensor offered to pay a fine of $45,000 if he could avoid a six-month jail sentence sought by the Crown, along with a fine of $15,000.

Ensor told court his contracting employer is heavily dependent on him, and a jail sentence would have a substantial impact on his business.

Ryan Hennings, the territory's manager of conservation officer services, said after the sentencing that it's probably the worst case of poaching he has seen in 20-plus years.

A tip from the public led to the investigation that included a warrant to search Ensor's home on Oct. 1, 2015.

An agreed statement of facts submitted to the court said conservation officers seized firearms, ammunition, and electronic equipment as well as carcasses, meat, and body parts of various big- and small-game animals. (Whitehorse Star)

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