The Crown alleges Lower Mainland men on a hunting trip in the South Cariboo used a herd of deer as target practice, leaving the dead animals in the middle of a field.
A prosecutor also charged Monday in B.C. Supreme Court that a deer was shot by a teenage son of one the hunters, under his watch.
One of the deer killed was a doe, standing with a fawn.
But the defence is seeking to have the charges thrown out based on a nearly three-year delay in the case coming to trial.
Paramjit Singh Chahal, his 23-year-old son Sukhraj Singh Chahal, and Sukhvinder Singh Kalkat are together charged with 16 counts under the Wildlife Act and Firearm Act.
The Crown alleges three mule deer were shot on Nov. 12, 2010, at OK Ranch, in the South Cariboo about 50 kilometres west of Clinton.
Defence lawyer Mark Rowan argued charges should be stayed, saying an unreasonable delay in a trial is a breach of the three men's rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Provincial court judge Stephen Harrison is set to rule on the application Tuesday.
Prosecutor Joel Gold outlined Crown allegations that the three hunters, along with two children aged 12 or 13, drove up and down High Bar Road in a pickup.
They stopped the truck several times, getting out to shoot and kill three deer standing among a large group browsing on the hill.
Only one of the three had a limited-entry tag to take an antlerless mule deer during that season. Gold said a deer fitting that class was taken, gutted at roadside and taken back to a hunting camp.
But conservation officers saw two more deer shot and left where they fell. One of them was shot by Kalkat's 13-year-old son, who had no hunting licence, the Crown alleges.
"Why they shoot them is speculative," Gold said. "There's a lot of deer on the hill. Perhaps they're practicing."
Conservation officers had been tipped off, Gold said. One of them secretly watched the truck using binoculars while another looked through a high-power scope at the deer that were felled.
"Leaving kills in the field is bad example-setting and mentoring of these two young hunters," Gold said. "It's very serious conduct in hunting ethics."
All three men are charged with carrying a loaded firearm, discharging a firearm across a highway, shooting in a no-shooting area, hunting wildlife out of season and failure to retrieve wildlife. Kalkat is additionally charged with hunting with a person under 19 who has no licence.
While still unproven, the charges nonetheless resulted in Kalkat, an insurance agent, being turned around at the U.S. border. He is also seeking to become president of a Rotary chapter, but the charges remain hanging over that bid.
Sukhraj Chahal, who Rowan said is seeking a career in policing or corrections, was unable to apply while the charges hung over him.
"It's the sheer length of this delay," said Rowan, noting mule deer are not endangered and adding the charges "aren't on the serious end of the Wildlife Act."
The delay was caused in part by impending heart surgery of one of the conservation officers, which resulted in an adjournment of 10 months in the first scheduled trial.
Rowan said much of the time his clients suffered while under the charges is a result of "institutional delay" — lack of court time. That delay could harm the defence case, which relies on memory, he said.
"There was a failure to prioritize. . . . I don't blame anyone in administration. It may simply be an inability to prioritize."