A joint investigation between Alberta and British Columbia conservation officers resulted in multiple charges filed against the host of Wild TV’s Alpine Carnivore, Michel Beaulieu, both agencies announced on social media on Thursday.
Beaulieu and his wife, Lynn, have been fined more than $31,500 for a laundry list of charges stemming from at least three hunts in Alberta and B.C. between August 2020 and September 2021. The charges include hunting without a license, hunting in a closed season, providing false information and abusing licensing requirements within protected wildlife areas, and unlawful possession and export of wildlife all in Alberta, for which the fines totaled $25,000, the Alberta press release says. According to the B.C. press release, Beaulieu was fined $4,500 for allowing his wife to use his hunting license to kill a bear. His wife was also fined $2,000 for hunting without a license in the same incident.
The duo still faces three additional charges from incidents in January 2022 and April 2022, including failure to comply with the terms of a permit and hunting or carrying a firearm without a license, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.
Beaulieu took to the Alpine Carnivore Facebook page on Friday to address the charges in a 15-minute apology video, during which he explained “his side of the story” and apologized for his behavior. He also explained how he didn’t act out of malice and that the laws he broke were honest mistakes, due to his not knowing certain local hunting laws. Much like in the U.S., laws around hunting differ from province to province.
“There are three hunts here of which we’ve been convicted: one bear hunt in British Columbia, one sheep hunt in Alberta, and one moose hunt in Alberta,” Beaulieu says to the camera. “Just to be clear, there’s not dozens of hunts all over multiple provinces where we’ve committed offenses.”
Beaulieu then explained how in 2020 he and a cameraman traveled into an area closed to hunting to kill a bighorn ram in Alberta. They had no idea the area was closed to hunting due to a lack of signage, he says. Initially, Beaulieu was penalized by Alberta conservation officers for falsely tagging the ram and using a vehicle to recover the carcass in a no-vehicle zone, both infractions that he self-reported to the agency after an off-duty conservation officer made him aware of the rules. But over a year later, the investigation into the location where Beaulieu harvested the ram brought a search of his home, seizure of the ram, and much more significant charges and penalties.
Beaulieu also explained the circumstances around the moose infraction, during which he says he applied hunting rules from his home province of Ontario to a hunt in Alberta and shot a moose using his cameraman’s tag.
“We didn’t try to hide this. We literally posted the video publicly for everyone to see because I thought we were fine in doing so. Obviously we weren’t,” Beaulieu says. “It was my own mistake, and it really sucks that it happened, but that’s the truth. For this offense, I lost my license for a year and received some pretty darn high fines. It’s not like we were hunting this animal with no tags, we did have a tag. It’s not like it was hunted in a park or at night or out of season, this is literally a licensing issue that I’m getting hit with a, in my opinion, quite steep fine and penalties for.”
The third and final hunt in question was a bear hunt in British Columbia, when his wife shot a bear on his tag following the same logic as the moose hunt.
Comments on Beaulieu’s video ranged from supportive to critical, most of them falling into the latter category. Commenters denounced the hunting personality’s ignorance of local laws and attempts at explaining away the situation. Supporters, on the other hand, told him to keep his head up and appreciated his candor. Overwhelmingly-critical comments also popped up on the two agency press releases, most of them scolding officials for not setting harsher punishments.
On Friday, Wild TV also announced it had removed all Alpine Carnivore content from its various platforms and does not condone Beaulieu’s behavior.
“These actions showed a blatant disregard for fish and wildlife laws in BC and beyond. Unfortunately, cross-border poaching is not an unusual occurrence,” conservation officer Kyle Ackles says in the B.C. press release. “This was a complex file that was concluded due to the dedication and co-operation from our officers and colleagues in Alberta. We’d like to thank them for their tireless efforts.”