Whitehorse Daily Star

Crown says poacher should go to jail

The sentencing hearing continued this morning for a local man charged with several counts of poaching big and small game animals and permitting meat to waste.

By Chuck Tobin on January 10, 2017

The sentencing hearing continued this morning for a local man charged with several counts of poaching big and small game animals and permitting meat to waste.

Jonathan Arthur Ensor is a 34-year-old resident of the Golden Horn subdivision. He pleaded guilty last week to 16 wildlife violations, including illegally killing a bison, elk, deer, caribou and Dall sheep.

Territorial court judge Mike Cozens said this morning Ensor’s case is among the most serious wildlife cases he knows of, so will take some time in considering the sentence.

The judge adjourned sentencing to Jan. 20.

Territorial Crown prosecutor Megan Seiling asked the court this morning for six months in jail for Ensor, a $15,000 fine to be paid to the Turn In Poachers and Polluters Program and a 20-year hunting prohibition.

In submissions to the judge, Seiling said while it’s rare to impose jail terms for infractions under the Wildlife Act and regulations, Ensor’s actions are certainly deserving of time in jail.

Ensor, on the other hand, asked for no time in jail, but a fine of $45,000 instead of $15,000, and a lifetime hunting ban instead of a 20-year-ban.

Serving time in jail could prove to be such a huge burden to his employer that it may affect the contractor’s ability to fulfill his obligations at the construction sites of the new Salvation Army shelter and the Whitehorse General Hospital expansion, he told the judge.

Cozens, however, asked Ensor if he’d given careful consideration to exchanging an additional $30,000 and a lifetime hunting ban to spare going to jail.

A sentence of six months at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre would end after four months, but a fine of $45,000 paid at $1,000 a month, as Ensor proposed, would drag out for years, he said.

Cozens told Ensor since he is representing himself, he wanted to ensure he’d given careful consideration to his sentencing proposal.

Most of the charges date back to September and October of 2015. A few reach back to 2014, including charges of poaching a Dall sheep and caribou in B.C. and illegally transporting them back to the Yukon.

Charges were laid last June. Sentencing began last week but was adjourned to this morning.

A co-accused, 45-year-old Vanessa Pasula of Haines Junction, pleaded guilty last August to four counts.

Pasula was subsequently ordered to pay $5,000 into the anonymous TIPP line.

She was also prohibited from hunting for three years and ordered to take a hunter education and ethics course before obtaining another hunting licence.

The Haines Junction resident pleaded guilty to killing a bison in September 2015 when not permitted to, and allowing the meat to waste.

Pasula also pleaded guilty to not reporting the bison kill within 10 days as required, as well as allowing grouse meat to spoil.

The Crown prosecutor told the judge there is no evidence Ensor was trafficking in wildlife parts nor attempting to profit from his activities.

But it’s clear his illegal hunting was carried out intentionally, and regularly, Seiling told the judge.

When Ensor hunted illegally in B.C., it wasn’t a case of his losing track of where the border is; it was a case of his not caring where it is, she said.

Furthermore, she said, a key aspect of the Crown’s request for a six-month jail term is the fact Ensor did all this illegal hunting when he was under a firearms prohibition.

The Crown prosecutor called a conservation officer and big game biologist to testify this morning about just how tough it is to enforce wildlife regulations and over such a large area.

She had the biologist explain to the court that while one might believe the Yukon’s remoteness breeds robust populations of big game like moose and caribou and endless harvest opportunities, that’s not the case.

The Yukon, the biologist told the judge, is also home to some of the last natural populations of predators like wolves and grizzly bears which consume their share of big game.

And in more populated areas where human access is greater such as the Annie Lake Road – where Ensor poached a deer in the dark using illegal armor-piercing ammunition inside the 800-metre no-hunting corridor – it’s even more important to ensure proper wildlife management, the biologist suggested.

She told the judge poaching and the lack of reporting big game harvests can throw off population assessments and affect not only proper wildlife management but also legitimate hunting opportunities for licenced hunters.

Ensor told the court his motive for conducting the illegal hunts was to provide food for his family, given the high cost of living – rent, travel.

He has a support network and a plan in place going forward, he told the judge.

“I have made the changes in my life to ensure this will never happen again.”

During the casual exchange between Cozens and Ensor, the judge asked what the offender was thinking when he decided to undertake these illegal hunting activities, over and over and over again.

Comments (22)

Up 10 Down 0

Stan Walker on Jan 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Maybe this poacher should claim he has Conduct Disorder or some other disorder which drives him to kill wildlife. He could then seek leniency because his behaviour is a medical condition.

Up 28 Down 0

scott brown on Jan 13, 2017 at 11:09 am

I have friend and family living in the Yukon and their love and respect for the animals of the Yukon as hunters is put into question by people like this. To protect the integrity of those who are doing this legally and morally to feed their families this person must be punished with jail and a lifetime hunting ban. $30000.00 is not going to bring back the animals he has already killed but jail and the loss of Income that goes with it may send a more meaningful message. Our natural resources must be protected but more importantly those who respect the natural resources must be shown that their respect means more than money.

Up 29 Down 0

Tahltanmum on Jan 13, 2017 at 8:51 am

A hunting ban, monetary fine, or firearm ban will NOT stop this criminal! All of those things meant nothing to him OR his partner, so what makes the Judge or Prosecutor think that they will suddenly starting becoming model citizens if they are sentenced like that now? NO ONE needs that much meat to feed a household, even if he was running a freakin' orphanage!! And as to him losing his job, that should be the very LEAST that happens! Take his guns, ammo (and what the H is with hunting a deer with ARMOR-PEIRCING BULLETS!!!???), slap a huge fine for EVERY ONE of the violations. A lifetime ban on hunting, or owning anything bigger than a sling-shot, AND Jail time for this Bozo! Then send him to BC Courts to face the SAME charges there!!! Make an example of him AND Her! It sounds like they enjoyed hunting for the KILL, so what was next???

Up 32 Down 0

moe on Jan 12, 2017 at 6:46 pm

If he's not a long term Yukon resident I'd be giving a copy of this file to the CO's in the jurisdictions where he used to live. This sort of behaviour doesn't spring up suddenly. This is what he got caught for, not likely all that he has done.

Up 27 Down 0

moe on Jan 12, 2017 at 6:39 pm

I am also aware of two bears shot on the Carcross road, very close to this poacher's residence. In both cases the bodies were left behind to rot. One was near Kookatsoon, one was at Mosquito Road. People said they heard a quad leaving the Kookatsoon killing.

What are the chances that this freak also rode his quad around looking for things to kill?
He is a loon with zero empathy for animals, a desire to kill things, and no consideration or respect whatsoever for the law.

What's the next thrill? Because I doubt very much he's going to stop. Get the shrinks in on this one.

Up 22 Down 0

Bobby Bitman on Jan 12, 2017 at 6:17 pm

He cites the high cost of living then says he'll pay an extra $30 thousand to stay out of jail? You'll pay more than that trying to collect from him.

I also went to his facebook page. His banner photo is of himself lying on the ground behind some kind of gun on a stand, and there are lots of other gun porn posts. It's pretty strange and disgusting.

I too share the opinion that he should have a psychiatric assessment. He shows zero empathy for animals, and appears to be highly manipulative with his sudden conversion. I don't believe him for one second that he's turned a new leaf.

Up 43 Down 0

ben on Jan 12, 2017 at 3:29 pm

He needed the meat to feed his family?............that doesn't make any sense. I have a family with multiple kids and we can't even finish a full moose in a year, so he's trying to wriggle/lie to get out of this. Sounds like a prolific poacher who clearly doesn't want to go to jail..............so maybe jail time would be the best thing to deter him in future.

Up 51 Down 1

Yukonblonde on Jan 11, 2017 at 7:14 pm

Jonathan, no matter what happens in court on the 20th your name is mud in this community.
You're a criminal, a cheat, an immature man-child and a liar.

You have no perspective that anything you've done is wrong, you think you can manipulate the justice system with lies and money.
But we see you. If a man's reputation means anything to you, please know that yours is mud forever. Live with that as a Sentence.

Other criminals who think they're above it all should take a long think about this too.

Up 36 Down 14

Twitterina on Jan 11, 2017 at 3:37 pm

lock this murderer up, send a message that all life is precious and not to be taken for the thrill of the kill

Up 55 Down 0

June Jackson on Jan 11, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Johnathon Ensor's kills as recorded here are only what he has been caught at. He did not use meat to "feed his family" as he is also charged with wasting meat. It's pretty obvious the man just likes to kill. I also looked at his FB page.

I think he should be remanded for mental health issues and assessed by professionals.

The numbers of kills, without regard to season, permits, public safety, offering money that he can never pay to evade jail time, trying to manipulate the court, I think that this man is not quite right in the head.

Up 51 Down 1

north_of_60 on Jan 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Send this criminal to jail as a strong message to all the other poachers who get away with it.

Up 44 Down 1

what? on Jan 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

What is this? Mexico? You can't buy your way out of jail here....or can you?
But in general, it doesn't seem like any punishments handed out these days fit any of the crimes.

Up 32 Down 0

yukonMax on Jan 11, 2017 at 11:17 am

So...I guess it's business as usual...Money talks!

Up 54 Down 0

Ethical Hunter on Jan 11, 2017 at 11:06 am

We all experience the high cost of living. That doesn't give us the right to poach animals for sustenance. What was he doing with the eagle and other birds, eating them? That is what grouse and rabbit hunting is for. I think he should spend weekends in jail plus pay the fine, and even then that doesn't mean he will stop poaching. One moose is sufficient to feed a family for a full year. He did his poaching while under a firearms prohibition so unless his guns are confiscated and he has regular checks by authorities to make sure he doesn't have any, what's to say he won't do the same again?

Up 56 Down 0

Stan Walker on Jan 11, 2017 at 9:20 am

"Ensor told the court his motive for conducting the illegal hunts was to provide food for his family, given the high cost of living – rent, travel."
Using his argument, the court should look at the cost of his guns and equipment vs what is costs to buy meat when it's on sale.

To me it seems that he is a poacher first and his defense is in reaction to being caught.

Up 47 Down 1

Mark Zuckerberg on Jan 10, 2017 at 11:26 pm

A glance at his fb page reveals his fascination with guns and hunting. So if a hunting ban is only applicable in Yukon, he could easily relocate and continue on. This Judge says he did the crime and now must do the time.

Up 39 Down 1

Don on Jan 10, 2017 at 11:13 pm

"Ensor told the court his motive for conducting the illegal hunts was to provide food for his family" ~ He is "charged with several counts of poaching big and small game animals and permitting meat to waste." What a farce. Providing for family and yet allowing meat to go to waste. I call BS on this guy...am sure we all do. Book em Danno and toss that key away for a year never mind 6 months. Who plea bargains their sentencing? Sucks to be you Jonathan with family and all but you ought to have thought this through a bit better than you did. If you can't do the time.... So much truth in that little phrase.

Up 47 Down 1

Rod on Jan 10, 2017 at 7:35 pm

What a crock...toss him in jail for 6 months! The goof knew he was breaking the law why should he be able to negotiate. Toss Vennesa in as well! Sound like a couple of real winners!

Up 54 Down 1

Yukon Hunter on Jan 10, 2017 at 7:20 pm

They also seized an Eagle during the raid. Mmmmm, Eagle stew!
So, the guy is claiming he is hunting for food. How hard is it to get a hunting license? Oh, wait, real hard when you are under a firearms prohibition! Also, if you are out hunting for Dall Sheep that's not for food. Dall Sheep a trophy species. Yes, they are good to eat, but that's not the first thing a subsistence hunter is going to go after, that would be species like Moose or Bison, most food for your effort and cost.
Throw the book at this character.

Up 42 Down 1

Matt on Jan 10, 2017 at 6:46 pm

This is more like a disease than a need for food, but how do you stop an idiot like this?

Up 44 Down 1

BnR on Jan 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Considering that our laws didn't stop him before, what's to stop him from hunting illegally again even if he does get a lifetime ban?
How about a $45,000 fine, 6 months in jail AND a lifetime ban.
16, count 'em, sixteen violations. What, his employer at the new hospital won't be able find another labourer or whatever he does there?

Up 76 Down 4

ProScience Greenie on Jan 10, 2017 at 3:23 pm

He must have a family of 15 kids or more to require that much meat. Not sure about jail time considering so many murderers and sexual abusers get minimal jail time but definitely a lifetime ban on hunting. Not just the Yukon, everywhere in Canada if possible.

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