Hang Them High!
Posted 02 May 2007 - 01:38 PM
Montana Outdoors: Poacher takes heavy, senseless toll
15 antelope shot northwest of Forsyth
By MARK HENCKEL
Someone went on an illegal shooting spree on Highway 12 between Forsyth and Ingomar last week. In his or her wake, they left 15 dead and dying antelope.
The incident likely took place on April 8, Easter Sunday, according to Jack Austin, warden sergeant for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks at Miles City. He'd like to find the poacher.
"There's a chance it could have happened either late Saturday or early Monday, but we feel it was probably on Easter Sunday," Austin said. "The call came in that there was a bunch of dead antelope. When game warden Todd Anderson got there, a couple of them were still struggling so he had to euthanize them."
20-mile spree All of the dead antelope were on the east side of the highway and the trail of death was scattered along a long stretch of road.
"It covered a fair distance. It was 20 miles worth or more," he said. "It was one here. Four or five miles another. One place had three lying dead. Another had two.
There are some winter-killed antelope out there, but these were not winter-killed," he said. "All of these died by gunshot. The shooter was very accurate. They spined most of them."
The final death toll included four bucks and 11 does. All of the does were pregnant with twins and would have delivered them in May.
"A couple of the bucks were doozies. They were extremely heavy horned clear to the end. They were trophies," Austin said. "They still had a couple of inches to grow, but they had plenty of time to do that before fall. They would have been trophies to some hunter."
Public help sought
Austin said the investigation into the poaching incident is ongoing. He's also seeking help from the public regarding anything they saw or heard that might shed additional light on the case.
"The public will be key on this one," he said. "If anyone saw vehicles in that area driving slowly or stopped along the road or has heard any information that may help, please call the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Enforcement Division at 406-234-0918. Please leave a message with a call-back number if you do not speak to someone personally. Or call Fish Wildlife and Parks Enforcement hotline at 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668)."
All too common
It's not the first time that wardens have found the remnants of an illegal shooting spree in the area.
"For some reason, this happens in this area. It has happened every spring for the past three or four springs," Austin said. "But we've never had this many before. We've had two, three, four in other years. But it's in the same area."
This is not the only area that gets hit with poaching, either, he said.
"We just had a meeting with wardens from North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. It's common practice. Every warden has open cases right now with animals that are shot and left," he said.
"It happens all year long. Sometimes, they're taking their axe so they can chop off the head or horns or antlers. Sometimes they're not. A lot of times the objective is not the rack. It's just shooting them," Austin said.
"Often, we already have somebody in mind who is worth visiting with. But we make these cases frequently through investigations. That's what this media release is for. Hopefully somebody saw something or heard something - anything," he said.
"Typically, there are people together when it happens. It's not just one individual alone," Austin said. "Usually, they're young. Sometimes it's alcohol related and sometimes not. Some of them really get a thrill out of it. For others, the next day when the booze wears off, they feel bad."
The bottom line is that it's a horrible waste of a wildlife resource for nothing more than pulling the trigger on an animal.
"It's just senseless," Austin said. "That's why we need the public's help to put an end to it."
Mark Henckel is the outdoor editor of The Billings Gazette. His columns appear Thursdays and Sundays. He can be contacted at 657-1395 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published on Thursday, April 19, 2007.
God,family and friends-What else is there..................
Posted 02 May 2007 - 03:17 PM
Posted 02 May 2007 - 05:49 PM
Useless unethical non-hunters!
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