A few days ago I was out looking for Swallowtails and I decided that I would travel light. Basically I was only planning to be out for about an hour so no need to bring my backpack with all my gear. All I really needed was my wallet, cell phone, keys, net, a collapsible cage, and my collecting permit.
Aside: Papilio canadensis is listed provincially as “Special Concern”. To collect them you need a special permit from the Ontartio Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). There is an exception for 1 specimen “...for the purposes of personal education without a licence, provided that the species is not listed under the Ontario Endangered Species Act or the federal Species at Risk Act.” Note that the Bog Elfin and the Karner Blue are listed under the Ontario Endangered Species Act. The Toronto Entomologists’ Association (TEA) has a great section on the applicable laws for insects in Ontario. You can check it out here: http://www.ontarioinsects.org/Laws.htm
Although it’s probably unlikely that I would get accosted by a Conservation Officer (CO) while I was out netting butterflies, legally I am to have this permit on me when I am out collecting. So I stuffed the permit into my back pocket and I was off. The next day I realized it was missing and must have fallen out when I was collecting. I had an electronic copy so I just printed out a new one and retraced my path from the day before. No luck so I just kept my eyes open.
Today I got a call from Constable Stewart of the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police). Apparently he was on duty and came across it when doing rounds on back roads. I drove down to the Police station and picked it up this afternoon. Constable Stewart found what I was doing interesting, so we spoke briefly about my project. I signed a declaration that the paperwork was returned, then I was off.
Lesson: It’s not always bad news when the Police phone looking for you.