Published June 03, 2011, 12:00 AM

Duluth-area men fined for shooting at moose decoy in Ontario

Three Duluth-area men have been fined a total of $10,000 by an Ontario provincial court for illegally shooting a moose decoy out of a moving motorboat.

By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune

Three Duluth-area men have been fined a total of $10,000 by an Ontario provincial court for illegally shooting a moose decoy out of a moving motorboat.

Geary Padden and Timothy Peterson of Duluth and Christopher Freeman of Proctor pleaded guilty to unlawfully hunting moose under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Each received a two-year hunting suspension in addition to the fines.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Red Lake District conservation officers launched an investigation in 2008 after receiving complaints of possible aircraft hunting. During the fall hunt of 2009, officers conducted surveillance in the area and observed activity supporting the complaints.

According to a news release from the Ministry of Natural Resources, on Oct. 8, 2010, conservation officers set up a moose decoy on Copper Lake,

100 miles north of Red Lake, Ontario. Over the course of several days, the officers observed aircraft flying over the area.

The day after the aircraft was spotted, a boat from a nearby hunting camp arrived. The officers watched Padden drive the boat toward the moose decoy while Peterson stood in the middle of the boat and shot twice. Freeman took two additional shots from the bow of the moving boat. Once the trio realized the moose was a decoy, they attempted to leave the area but were arrested by the conservation officers.

Padden declined an offer to comment on Thursday. Peterson and Freeman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Ontario law prohibits shooting from an aircraft, vehicle or motorboat, and aircraft may not be used in any way while hunting.

Justice of the Peace Roger C. McCraw heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Red Lake on May 10.

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