Friday, November 21, 2014

This Is Hunting?

Thomas D. Mangelsen photo

Witnesses say hunters in Grand Teton National Park drove a herd of elk from a no-hunt zone and toward an awaiting firing line Wednesday.

Wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen — long an opponent of the park hunt — said hunter behavior Wednesday was as egregious as he’s seen.

By Mangelsen’s account, around 11 a.m. a person pushed a herd of about 100 elk out of an area off limits to hunters near Kelly. Once the herd was on the move, chaos ensued, he said.

“All the sudden somebody shot and they just opened fire on them,” Mangelsen said. “It’s really poor sportsmanship — it was illegal and it was just a display of totally barbaric hunting.”

The photographer estimated that 30 people were involved in the drive, that 25 shots were fired and that eight to 10 elk were killed.

Teton park officials did not corroborate many of the details described by Mangelsen and others, but said some hunters were ticketed Wednesday.

Two hunters shot and killed bull elk Tuesday in the park, where harvest is restricted to cows and calves. The elk were confiscated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

One of those hunters was also cited for shooting at a running herd, she said.

Rules unique to the park hunt prohibit firing more than one shot at a group of running animals.

It’s legal for hunters to drive elk out of areas where hunting is prohibited in the park.

Mangelsen said some were firing from the road, which is illegal. Photos he provided show hunters with rifles and shooting sticks setting up on the roadside.

Jeff Soulliere, another local photographer, said the display left him speechless.
“It absolutely was a mess,” Soulliere said. “This is a national park, and you’ve got tourists on the road right next to hunters.

...courtesy Jackson Hole Daily

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Montanan's Dig Road-kill...

...no surprise there, eh? I mean folks been eatin' and drinkin' forever at Holly's Road Kill Saloon, in McLeod.

According to an article in the Billings Gazette, Montana’s new Roadkill Salvage bill has been a success during its first year in place. So far in 2014, more than 800 permits have been issued that have allowed drivers or those finding road-kill animals to salvage more than 550 whitetail deer, nearly 150 mule deer, 120 elk and 33 moose.

“Under the new law, free permits can be downloaded from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ website. They can also be issued by officers, such as the Montana Highway Patrol, who respond to wildlife-vehicle collisions.

“We’ve made it pretty painless for folks to get online and do this,” said Jim Kropp, FWP’s chief of law enforcement.

Although the agency had initially opposed the measure, Kropp said the program seems to be reasonably problem-free.

“There was a lot of concern at first about how we were going to get our arms around this,” Kropp said. “We canvassed a lot of other states who had similar programs. No new programs are ever without problems, but we’re happy with where we’re at now.”

Sounds to me like a win-win program, but I’d like to know: How many of you would stop to pick up—and later eat—fresh road kill?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Serial Poachers: Stealing Our Game...

Three men convicted of state hunting violations in Nevada now face trial on federal charges stemming from a poaching ring that saw untold numbers of deer, antelope, birds and other wildlife killed illegally across Nevada, game officials said on Monday.

Authorities uncovered the poaching ring after one of the defendants posted a photograph on Facebook of two deer he shot and killed out of season last June, said Cameron Waithman, who led the Nevada Wildlife Department investigation of the case.

The ensuing probe found that Adrian Acevedo-Hernandez, 36, Jose Luis Montufar-Canales, 31, and J. Nemias Reyes Marin, 31, had been illegally killing and butchering animals across the state and bragging about the kills online since early 2013, Waithman said.

The men, described by Waithman as "serial wildlife killers," were convicted in a state court of misdemeanor hunting violations earlier this year. In July they were indicted by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas on felony firearms offenses and criminal charges under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The three men, who resided in Las Vegas but are suspected of having entered the United States illegally, remain in federal custody awaiting trial, Waithman said.

Search warrants executed at a residence occupied by one of the men uncovered large caches of deer meat, deer parts, butchering tools, weapons and ammunition. The evidence there led investigators to broaden their probe to unsolved poaching cases that stretched from Nevada's northern border with Idaho to its southeastern intersection with Arizona, he said.

Waithman said the men were engaged in an extreme version of what conservation officers call "thrill kills," indiscriminate killing of wildlife for excitement rather than for food.
"These are people who, for whatever reason, don't want to shoot at paper targets anymore and go out and kill stuff for fun," he said.

Nevada game wardens will never be able to fully tally all the wildlife illegally killed by the poaching ring, said Edwin Lyngar, a spokesman for the state wildlife agency.
"They just sort of shot at everything that moved," he said.

Their quarry included upland game birds, protected migratory songbirds and deer and antelope whose carcasses were left to rot, Lyngar said.

...Courtesy Reuters;Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Walsh.

Canyon Ferry Elk Slaughter...