The duo face a possible fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year in jail if convicted
“I’ve never seen something so awesome!” one of the men off-camera says in the clip.
Wildlife officials disagree.
The video in question is a year-old clip of a group of men boating on a lake in British Columbia, Canada, chasing after a moose. One of the men jumps onto the moose’s back from the boat and briefly rides the animal, one clenched fist held aloft. The clip, originally uploaded to Facebook a year ago, drew ire from animal rights supporters when it first went viral, and now, two of the men in the clip are being charged under the Canadian province’s Wildlife Act. Jaysun Pinkerton and Bradley Crook each face a possible fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year in jail if convicted.
“It was very disturbing to see the stress level of the moose, with the males laughing and enjoying themselves,” conservation officer Andrew Riddell, who investigated the case, told the Toronto Star. Riddell doesn’t expect the two men, as first time offenders, to receive the maximum penalties.
“They’re very fortunate that moose didn’t turn around and defend itself,” he said. “They’re very large animals, and they’re full of muscle.”
Steve Wolfe, who found the video on Facebook and posted the clip to his YouTube channel, is a lifelong hunter who doesn’t want the world to think this is how Canadians treat their wildlife.
“I’ve been hunting, fishing, trapping most of my life,” he told the Star. “And you don’t do that. One of the core principles in the teachings of hunting is respect for the animal and the habitat. This isn’t how a hunter or trapper or somebody who respects the outdoors would interact with wildlife.”
Area defense attorney David Jenkins, who has experience with cases involving the Wildlife Act, but who has not been retained by either of the defendants in this case, defended the video to the Star. “I don’t doubt that there probably was some liquor involved and the boys were just out on a lark and probably didn’t intend in any manner, shape or form to do harm.”
“I never did consider it terribly egregious in terms of the way some of these cases go,” he added. “But by the same token it would set a bad example if everybody thought they could do this.”