A B.C. Supreme Court justice has upheld the conviction of a hunter who wrongfully killed a bighorn sheep in the Spences Bridge area.
Kenneth Eng shot and killed the prized big-game species on Oct. 20, 2008 - the last day of the season - and took it to an Okanagan taxidermist.
Through counting rings on the ram's head, hunters must determine a bighorn sheep ram is eight years old before they are able to shoot it.
But provincial authorities, acting on a tip from locals, thought the animal was only seven years old - and therefore, under provincial law, safe from hunters' bullets. A conservation officer seized the dead ram and a regional biologist determined it was only seven years old and not legal.
Eng filed an appeal in B.C. Supreme Court seeking to overturn his conviction under the Wildlife Act. He was originally ticketed and fined for killing an underage animal. Eng challenged that ticket at provincial court in 2011, but the conviction was upheld.
Justice Kenneth Ball noted that a conservation officer who gave evidence at the trial said some hunters spend as long as eight hours observing bighorn sheep to determine the age.
"By comparison, Mr. Eng had a very brief opportunity to observe the ram he shot, and that brevity is not supportive of due diligence."
Ball also ruled that the conservation officer and a ministry biologist were both compulsory inspectors as designated under the Wildlife Act.