Former Canada in the Rough host charged!

I’m still not sure what to make of Thomas Pigeon and his recent charges…just goes to show that if you do something wrong and someone notices, even years later you’ll pay for it!


Pigeon – the former host of the popular Canadian television show; Canada in the Rough, is being forced to pay $8000 restitution for 2 muskox and a wood bison believed to be taken illegally more than 11 years ago!

In March 2003, Pigeon headed to Nunavut and Northwest Territories to capture footage for his hunting adventure show, Canada in the Rough.

Although a lot of time has passed, someone tipped off authorities here in Ontario regarding mounts Pigeon brought back to the province.

Wildlife investigators have since seized video footage of the illegal hunt which had been broadcast as part of Canada in the Rough back in 2003.

Too much time passed to  charge Pigeon for illegal hunting however, investigators used the footage to make their case for the illegal possession charges.

It’s illegal in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories to use vehicles to get within 1.5 kilometres of a muskox for the purpose of hunting. 

In a news release, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources says video footage shows muskox being herded by the guides using snowmobiles so that Pigeon can shoot them.

“The final production depicts the hunters as engaged in a fair chase hunt while approaching the animals on foot and then shooting them,” the release says.

Pigeon has pleaded guilty to the charges and ordered to pay $8000 in fines!

In addition to the fines, the taxidermy mounts were forfeited to the Crown.

Note: It should be noted that NONE of these charges are in any way linked to current hosts of Canada in the Rough, the Beasley brothers. I know them personally and they run an ethical and conservation based series..



30 thoughts on “Former Canada in the Rough host charged!”

  1. what a crock of crap the mnr has nothing better to do than harrass mr.pigeon i know many natives that hunt whenever they want and take illegal game ,i am not saying that all natives are this way but some of them do abuse their priveledges.

  2. If this is true, I’m glad he was caught and charged/fined. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes on outdoor shows (TV in general) that the viewer doesn’t see. I’m shocked that they were dumb enough to video the use of snowmobiles to herd the animals.

  3. I am shocked and disappointed in Mr Pigeon. Herding the animals so he can shoot them? Disgusting.

    1. Sorry folks, I realize this is sort of old news now as the story first came out mid-May but I was up north fishing at the time.

      According to Keebler, who recalls the episode in question when it first aired, you could actually see the snowmobilers rounding up the animals.

      I really can’t believe it took until now to notice this was illegal?!

      As I mentioned to Keeb this am, I’ve seen this activity before on shows like Life Below Zero, but only carried out by Aboriginal Native Alaskans..who are permitted to do so. I do enjoy the show Life Below Zero btw, however, found it difficult to watch them zoom-up on swimming caribou with a motorboat and knock-off 7 animals in a matter of minutes. I know it is subsistence living..just difficult to watch.

      But I digress…

      Yes, Mr. Pigeon will surely be feeling the pain of $8000 gone from his bank account, as well as the loss of two, presumably very costly, mounts!!

      Live and learn I say..


      1. Unfortunately, when it comes to hunting & fishing television..there will always be some ‘trickery’ and misleading footage included.

        I remember back in 2001 when I was a guest on an episode of Officially Rugged With RD we filmed a fishing episode at the famous Reserve Beauchene in Temiscaming QC.

        The General Manager of the lodge had hosted many shows there…including Izumi..Rod & Reel..etc…and had one main rule for RD on his show:


        It is customary for many hunting and fishing shows to use filler footage..or ‘cut-away’ shots of scenes which were NOT filmed on location.
        Underwater shots of fish swimming..or a moose standing in a meadow..depicted as being part of the hunt were NOT allow there.

        For anyone who has a keen is quite obvious when a TV show pieces in footage taken from another area..passing it off as part of
        the scene you’re watching.

        It gives off a certain ‘fakeness’ that really bugs me and Im glad most productions today don’t resort to that kind of trickery.


  4. Is that the kind of crap the MNR spends it’s money on?
    Maybe they should spend some money on worrying about crimes committed in the last decade
    silliness in my opinion

    1. Yes Iggs, I’ll agree it was a ‘fishing expedition’ on the MNR’s part…but doesn’t change the fact that he broke the law. MNR are famous for their ‘off the beaten path’ tactics the time they wanted to make an example of me and confiscated my deer antlers! Anyone been to Kemville office lately? I’m sure my rack is on the wall there.

      But again I digress…


  5. I am a native and refuse to carry a card and refuse all privilages.I buy all My tags and licences and am imbarassed by the 300 lb couch indians that line up to hunt algonquin parks moose with 4 wheelers campers and motor baots, not exactly traditional eh?
    Remember Henry Wazachuk and Italo Labignon, two other television host wildlife thieves and criminals. Dont crap on the MNR, The conservation officers I have met have been plesent knowledgable family men doing thier jobs. Sure there are the odd pricks out there, like anywhere else.

    1. Smitty, back in the hayday of Italo & Henry, the rumour around campus – Sir Sandford Fleming College(Italo & I both graduated from F&W program) was that one time they were filming a steelhead episode at the Ganny in Port Hope, but couldn’t manage to hook any fish they paid other fishermen $20 to pass their rod over once they had a fish on, then they starting filming..hehe


  6. I am sure not surprised in any way, but I thought he was better than that with all his talk about heritage and conservation. Truth is that no one will watch a hunting show for long if nothing is killed; excuse me, ‘harvested’. He shouldn’t be exempt from the law because he’s a show host and arguably he should get exaggerated punishment because of his influence on the market by driving interest with big game hunters looking to add a head to their wall. You can bet this is common practice if you pay to trophy hunt.

  7. Ahhhhh, the Ganaraska ,how many hundreds of bows and browns could we all have taken from there with big treble hooks and twenty pound braid but would never even consider someting so immoral? Regardless Thomas Pigeon knew he was breaking the law, no doupt about it and natives shouldnt be alowed to harvest in such non tradition ways either. I have no problem with natives hunting and fishing year round, as long as they do it traditionaly!Walk in,use a bow you made yourself no motor on your boat or canoe pack your moose out. Eat mice Chipmuncs squirells, Sucker fish fallfish and everthing else that was easy to catch back in the day befor the arrival of white man and his evil ways!

  8. there have been a few people almost drowned in the Ganaraska river 🙂 and your stories are correct. about the stories and they also wanted “scientific permits ” to fish the upper ganny and were told no by the co and they went to the biologist who said yes and the co told them if they fish they would be charged along with the biologist. I was privileged enough to be part of the conversations during that time . I have met some natives that fish by the rules set out by white men and they as well hate the lofers , As far as mr pigeon goes he deserves everything he got along with bill troubridge from excalibur who also received the same fines about 1 or 2 years ago? if you want to make money from hunting I don’t care how much money is spent on tracking you down and frying your ass I hope they catch every darn one of them .. and as far as the Ganaraska goes, bring it on I will protect that river to my last breath, i have spent thousands of hours helping the fish population and will not let anyone disrespect that river even if they say it is there right

  9. I seem to remember a few years back there was a local fisherman who had a show and was charged with fishing before the season was open for one of his episodes…anyone recall that 1?

    1. mike, there haven’t been too many ‘locals’ with their own fishing show…I know of three….Frank Papineau – Weekend fisherman. Another buddy of mine who fishes from a kayak had a show..and then the fly-fisher show.

      Are there any others?


  10. Johan is right that this is common practice when you pay to trophy hunt. What do you guys think of that practice? is it ethical? Would you do it?

  11. oh but all of pigeons lackeys are saying its not his fault the guides never made him aware of the rules… but i say why did they take most of that footage out….. they should have given him jail time . if your job is making money off of hunting and you break the law its jail… its like a bank robber stealing money and the judge giving him a fine…. duh

    1. Yes, my guess is if they pulled that particular footage from what appeared on TV, then he must have suspected it wasn’t on the up-and-up.

      Thing is though…and I never actually watched the show back then(I do now with Beasley’s) but apparently they didn’t cut the part where the animals were being pushed or corralled by snowmobiles. Keebler said he recalled seeing that when the show first aired, and wondered if it was legal.

      Of course as a law enforcement officer once told me…”Ignorance is no defence”


  12. i will not go down the Beasley road… there was one incident with a guy named larry smith and the vp of a archery company that is a know poacher and i did not agree with ,since that day i will not watch any of there programs o

  13. I’m aboriginal and love to hunt and fish but I buy my tags every year
    I do not understand what Mr peigons charges has anything to do with us aboriginal people not every one lives with the sam hunting ethics so lets leave the aboriginal people out of this one one.

  14. I do not know of any local Ottawa fishing television show that was charged with any out of season angling. I don’t know of any charges for any infraction for those shows

    1. Speaking of former local TV Show hosts..where the heck have you been Frank? This post is a year old man…you should stop-by more often.

      Let us know what you’ve been up to.

      Take care

      Jeff Morrison – The Outdoors Guy

  15. Hi Jeff
    You should give me a ring we can chat.

    I saw this in a search and thought i would comment
    (Jun 10, 2014 – I seem to remember a few years back there was a local fisherman who had a show and was charged … Frank Papineau – Weekend fisherman.)

    I have never been involved with being charge with any wildlife crime..Welcome to the internet!!! lol

    1. hehe…no worries Frank, if you actually read through the comment where you found; “I seem to remember a few years back there was a local fisherman who had a show and was charged” Nowhere did the person mention your name.

      Your name was only brought-up later, in a diff comment, as ‘someone from Ottawa who had hosted a fishing show.’ The problem with general Google searches is they combine the words you enter..

      Anyhoo Frank…just so you know, no one was accusing you of anything, and I know yer a good guy anyway.

      Jeff Morrison – The Outdoors Guy

  16. I fully support and agree with the conviction, however in my opinion it did not go far enough, the actual show or trade name CANADA IN THE ROUGH , should have been banned from television for life, mr pigeon should have also be banned for life for his action, I support the conservation officers its department keep up the good work I commend you, respect our resources it belongs to everyone. thank you

  17. Thomas fought in court forever to prove this was untrue! He spent personally 100,000$ – and continued to win but MNR spent the most amount of money EVER in history on this case! TFir thomas to go thru with with Supreme Court would have cost easily with his lawyer another 100,000. The government can always outspend anyone against them! To spend another small fortune was Indian BUT to plead a guilty charge knowing he wasn’t but couldn’t down more money to fight any morehas affected thomas is many ways! He has been a proud hunter and continues to be passionate about hunting,
    Due to the heritage, conservative of animals and also the binding and human instincts of survival!

  18. Regarding Mr. Pigeon, you can’t tell me he didn’t know better. He has experts working for him that do know the law, they do know the seasons and the do know the method of hunting every animal that is hunted. Mr. Pigeon should have received a minumum of a $100,000.00 fine and prohibited from hunt for a least 2 yrs. as an X conservation officer any one that breaks the law and benefits it financially from his T.V. show like I said before a $100,000.00 fine and 6 months in jail would I if I was the one who laid the charges is what I would have been pushing for.

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