Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"So I shot a whole family of baboons..."-Blake Fischer

BOISE, Idaho — “An Idaho Fish and Game Commission member is being criticized by some after he shared photos of himself posing with a family of baboons, including young baboons, he killed while hunting in Africa.

“Gov. C.L. ‘Butch’ Otter spokesman Jon Hanian told The Idaho Statesman in a story on Friday [Oct. 12] that the governor’s office is looking into the matter involving Commissioner Blake Fischer.
“Fischer and his wife shot at least 14 animals in Namibia, according to the photos and descriptions included in an email he sent to more than 100 recipients. That included a giraffe, leopard, impala, sable antelope, waterbuck, kudu, warthog, gemsbok (oryx) and eland.
“‘I didn’t do anything illegal. I didn’t do anything unethical. I didn’t do anything immoral,’ Fischer said.
“Most of the photos with the African animals are posed as standard big game hunting photos of the kind often seen in Idaho with deer, elk and mountain lions.
“The photo causing some to question Fischer’s judgment and ability to remain a commission member is one of him smiling broadly with four dead baboons propped in front of him, blood visible on the abdomen of the smallest baboon. Fischer killed them using a bow and arrows.
“‘So I shot a whole family of baboons,’ Fischer wrote below the photo in the emails he sent.
“Keith Stonebraker, a former commission member, told the newspaper an apology by Fischer would satisfy him. ‘They killed a whole family, including small baboons, and I think that’s revolting,’ Stonebraker said. ‘It just puts a bad light on us.’
“The commission Fischer serves on makes policy decisions concerning Idaho’s wildlife, and it often manages game populations through hunting and fishing regulations. Those regulations are intended to require ethical behavior in the pursuit of wildlife. Some of Idaho’s policies, such as on wolf and grizzly bear hunting, have been challenged in federal courts.
“The commission has seven members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. Fischer was re-appointed this year, but he needs Senate confirmation. Former commission member Fred Trevey called on Fischer to resign. ‘Sportsmanlike behavior is the center pin to maintaining hunting as a socially acceptable activity,’ he wrote in an email obtained by the newspaper through a public records request” (New York Post).

1 comment:

  1. “Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer resigned Monday, three days after the Statesman first reported on complaints about photos he shared of an African hunting trip. He was asked to resign by Gov. Butch Otter, the governor’s office said in a press release.

    “The release said Fischer had received ‘intense criticism.’ The Idaho Statesman received emails about his actions from as far away as Australia after Friday’s report on the photos he shared with friends and colleagues. Particularly, the image of his posing with a ‘family of baboons’ he shot during his trip to Namibia provoked criticism from former Idaho wildlife commissioners and has circulated on national media outlets.

    “Fischer served on the unpaid commission for four years. Otter re-appointed him in June for a term ending in 2022, but he still needed Senate confirmation... The governor’s office received 1,134 emails and more than 320 phone calls about Fischer, Hanian said. All but nine of the emails and two of the phone calls disapproved of Fischer, he said.

    “Fischer apologized to Idaho’s hunters and anglers in his resignation letter, which you can read in full at the end of this report. ‘I recently made some poor judgments that resulted in sharing photos of a hunt in which I did not display an appropriate level of sportsmanship and respect for the animals I harvested,’ Fischer wrote in his resignation letter, which was provided by the governor’s office. ‘While these actions were out of character for me, I fully accept responsibility and feel it is best for the citizens of Idaho and sportsmen and women that I resign my post. I apologize to the hunters and anglers of Idaho who I was appointed to represent and I hope that my actions will not harm the integrity and ethic of the Idaho Fish & Game Department moving forward.’

    “…Fischer emailed the photos to more than 100 people last month when he and his wife returned from their trip to Africa. It was his third visit. The email included a rundown of the animals they hunted with photos of one or both of them posing with the animals. The first photo was of four baboons Fischer killed with a recurve bow at the beginning of the trip. Fischer posed, smiling, with what he called a ‘family of baboons.’

    “…The baboon hunt and photo were the primary source of criticism. Fischer or his wife also killed a giraffe, leopard, warthog and several types of antelope on the trip… Fischer was surprised by the criticism he received, which included a call from an unnamed current commissioner. Before the photos went public, Fischer insisted in an interview with the Idaho Statesman that he’d done nothing wrong.

    “‘I didn’t do anything illegal. I didn’t do anything unethical. I didn’t do anything immoral,’ he said. ‘... I look at the way Idaho’s Fish and Game statute says we’re supposed to manage all animals for Idaho, and any surplus of animals we have we manage through hunting, fishing and trapping. Africa does the same thing.’

    “Fischer’s resignation took immediate effect. Otter is looking for a replacement. Residents can apply through gov.idaho.gov” (Idaho Fish and Game commissioner resigns after criticism of his African hunting trip).