Government of Nova Scotia
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Environment

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Inspection, Compliance and Enforcement

Conservation Officer Honour Roll

Austin Whiley Lavers Letcher

1905-1967

Allister T. Fraser was hired as district forester for Cape Breton Island in 1946. The Department of Lands and Forests’ main concern at that time was fighting fires and law enforcement. One of the early game wardens who stands out in Allister’s mind was the late Austin Letcher of Port Hawkesbury. He was hired in 1947 for Inverness County which had a large deer population that drew hunters from Halifax and all points east.

According to Allister, “Letcher was one of the best in the province”. As far as we know, Austin Letcher was the first warden in Nova Scotia to use parachute flares for wildlife law enforcement. The flares were very effective for lighting up fields to locate poachers.

In the early morning hours of October 8, 1967 game warden Austin Letcher was involved in a motor vehicle accident near Port Hawkesbury, Inverness County. He was transported to Antigonish hospital where he died shortly thereafter. Although foul play was suspected, the subsequent investigation did not result in any arrests or charges. Many of the residents of Inverness County still reflect on the professionalism, honesty and integrity of Officer Letcher.