Night Hunting Patrols for Spot Lighters in the Duck Mountain District of Saskatchewan
by Saskatchewan Conservation Officer Shawn Riabko
North American game wardens call it many different things – spotlighting, jack lighting, lamping, pit lamping, shining. In Saskatchewan, the regulations call it “hunting with a search light” and it continues to be a problem for many areas of the province, including the conservation officers of Duck Mountain.
Night hunting has been illegal for well over a hundred years in Saskatchewan. Throughout this time, penalties have always reflected that this is a serious, dangerous offence. In 1948/49 the penalty for night shooting or jacklighting was increased to $200 minimum with a $500 maximum penalty. That was a pretty steep penalty for the late 1940’s. A few years later in 1953/54, legislation made it mandatory that all persons found guilty of night hunting or jacklighting serve a jail sentence. The next year, in 1954/55, 14 night hunters were apprehended in the province and in addition to paying heavy fines, their jail sentences ranged from 7 to 20 days.
Fast forward to the current day. Spotlighting is still a problem Saskatchewan’s conservation officers deal with every year. In the Duck Mountain district alone, we have charged seven different people for spotlighting in the last two years (2014, 2015) and as I write this late 2016, we have more this year in 2016 to add to the statistics. The scary part is, those are just the ones we caught.