Gronlid area man pleads guilty after five-year investigation into illegal wildlife trafficking

A Gronlid area man has pled guilty to multiple charges following the conclusion of a five-year investigation into illegal wildlife trafficking.

Randall Wehrkamp, 64, pled guilty to unlawful possession of wildlife, possession of wildlife for the purpose of trafficking, trafficking in wildlife, improper record keeping and firearms related charges in Melfort provincial court.

Wehrkamp received $36,500 in total fines, which have already been paid, as well as a five-year hunting suspension. He is also no longer allowed to sell, transfer or move antlers without providing notice to a conservation officer during that time. He was also placed on 12 months probation, conditions of which include a $200 charitable donation to Ducks Unlimited Canada. He is also prohibited from possessing any firearms, cross-bows, ammunition or explosive substances for a period of one year.

The investigation into Wehrkamp’s activities began in 2014 after Ministry of Environment officials received a tip that someone was buying and selling large numbers of wild elk, moose and deer antlers without the required permits.

During the investigation, Wehrkamp purchased antlers from undercover conservation officers “on numerous occasions” according to a Ministry of Environment media release. This occurred after conservation officers had inspected a yard site near Gronlid and interviewed the owner.

In November 2018, officers located and seized more than 300 antlers while executing a search warrant, including complete sets of antlers from “five African species” and 19 other complete sets of antlers and horns from elk, moose, and white-tailed and mule deer. All of those antlers are forfeited to the Crown.

Officers also seized multiple firearms due to unsafe storage, including two that were already loaded.

In Saskatchewan, most animal parts cannot be sold without a Sale of Wildlife Permit. Big game antlers separated from the skull are exempt from this law, but only if the animal was killed by someone with a valid hunting licence. In those cases, the tag must accompany the antlers. Shed antlers can be sold without a permit.

Gronlid is located roughly nearly 100 km east of Prince Albert.