Austrian hunter’s obsession turns to murder

skulls

[My neighbor has a skull like this hanging in his barn. Those pictured here were poached by the Austrian hunter featured below.]

http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Austrian-hunter-s-obsession-turns-to-murder-4826751.php#photo-5206406

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press

Thursday, September 19, 2013

GROSSPRIEL, Austria (AP) — In Austria, hunting deer and wild boar is a hallowed way of life [way of death, more like, but anyway], one that follows age-old codes of honor [ahem, honor among killers?] and requires a license bestowed only after passing rigorous exams. In that exalted world, Alois Huber was a brazen outlaw even before he went on a murderous rampage that left four people dead.

Not only did he poach game illegally in the middle of the night, he violated one of hunting’s most sacred rules: Kill for meat, not just the trophy of the wild animal’s head. ["Sacred"? There's nothing sacred about killing.]

Huber shot countless deer in the forests outside Vienna, sawed off their antlered heads to mount at home — and left their decapitated bodies to rot in the underbrush.

Until this week.

Police had gotten wind of Huber’s nocturnal poaching and went to confront him in the early hours of Tuesday. Enraged, Huber’s illegal hunting turned to murder: He embarked on a shooting rampage that left three officers and a paramedic dead. Then he set his farmhouse bunker full of trophies on fire, and killed himself with a gunshot to the head. It was one of the worst multiple slayings in Austria’s postwar history.

Villagers are baffled by the shocking violence — and say Huber led a double life. They describe the trucker as an upstanding neighbor, a welcome guest at birthday parties who gladly helped out when asked for a favor.

“He was a quiet, pleasant person who never did anyone any harm,” said Adelheid Wieder, just hours after Huber’s charred body was found. “Nobody imagined that he could be so without scruples and so aggressive.”

But Huber had good reason to keep his passion a secret: Poaching is severely punished in this tightly regulated country where it can draw up to three years in prison.

Hunters are licensed only after passing exams that test their knowledge of weapons, ballistics, hunting traditions, different kinds of game and their diseases — and a host of other disciplines. Police followed up on more than 300 reported hunting violations last year.

Among licensed hunters, rogues are held in the highest contempt.

Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck says that police moved in on Huber after monitoring phone calls in which he acknowledged being the illegal trophy hunter being sought in the vicinity of Annaberg, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Vienna. Additionally, said Grundboeck, a search of his farm on the outskirts of the village of Grosspriel turned up hundreds of deer antlers and other game trophies — and about 100 guns, “many taken from other hunters’ huts.”

“We have no doubt that we found our man,” he told The Associated Press.

State Prosecutor Michaela Schnell says Huber is suspected in the illegal killing of numerous stags since 2005 and is also thought to have been the masked man who attacked a hunter with a knife two years ago, in what investigators now consider attempted murder.

In past centuries, poachers in Austria were often seen as cunning Robin Hood-like figures outwitting the noble owners of lands that they illegally hunted on for food.  Now, says expert Roland Girtler, some “drive in the night with SUVs in the forest, blind the game so that it stands still and then shoot. That is pathetic.”

No one in Grosspriel or the cluster of surrounding hamlets about 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Vienna suggests that Huber used such methods.

They describe the 55-year-old as an expert who hunted legally and whose hobby turned into an obsession after his wife died about 15 years ago, leaving the childless widower with no close family. Those willing to talk about him after the trauma left by his rampage still don’t believe that he was the man leaving the headless carcasses of deer in his wake.

“We often went hunting for rabbits and pheasant,” says innkeeper Martin Jaeger between bites of schnitzel and gulps of cloudy wheat beer. “There was never any talk of poaching.”

For experts, analyzing Huber’s motives without knowing him is difficult. Speculation runs freely. But psychiatrist Reinhard Haller says his rampage could have been linked in part to a romantic view of himself as a poacher of old on the run from repressive authorities.

From the start of his illicit hunts to his standoff with police, it was a “struggle to see who is better,” he told the Austria Press Agency, describing Huber’s suicide as “an expression of his determination not to accept defeat.”

Some of Huber’s last words as police closed in support that image of a defiant outlaw proud of his illegal shoots.

“I am the poacher of Annaberg,” he told his friend, Herbert Huthansl, by cellphone, in comments cited by the daily Kronen Zeitung.

“They’re not going to get me.”

Female Bear named “Dot” Killed by Hunters

http://www.bearstudy.org/website/updates/daily-updates/2114-dot-is-killed-update-september-13-2013-.html

Dot is Killed – UPDATE September 13, 2013

Dot – March 22, 2012Dot – March 22, 2012 At the Bear Centerthumb_3e27c99321ee3f4ace21e1e5ba9b409d_169x225_wm0_right_bottom-20130913_Dot_20120322 today, 2 hunters told staff that they would never, under any circumstances, shoot a female bear. Later today, we learned once again that not all hunters feel that way.

Two female bears wearing radio-collars bedecked with gaudy ribbons have been shot this year. First Aster was shot and injured on September 5. Then this afternoon, 13-year-old Dot, a favorite of many, was killed. We don’t know the details and hope to learn more. In late afternoon, her GPS locations showed her signal moved quickly from the forest to the town of Ely. We drove to Ely and located the radio-collar in the conservation officer’s truck awaiting delivery to the DNR office in Tower and eventual return to us. Lynn knocked on his door and learned that Dot was killed “in a hunting situation.”

The Research Associates who spent hundreds of hours following her life the last 12 years are feeling deep grief this evening. No one knew Dot better or was more devoted to her well being and learning about her life then they were. Dot was radio-tracked longer than any other bear in the study, beginning with her life in the den with her radio-collared mother Blackheart. Dot got her own collar when she became a yearling. There are many stories to tell about Dot’s relatively long life. Although black bears can live into their 30’s, the average age of females in the kill is 3. Dot and her sister Donna far exceeded that. Donna is still alive but is not radio-collared due to the latest DNR restrictions. Dot had a great, gentle personality and was a favorite of many who got to see her in the course of her 13 years.

One of the BFF Teams “Meet the Bears” articles does an excellent job of summarizing Dot’s life http://www.facebook.com/notes/bffbetty/meet-dot-2013/357565604374265.

Thank you for all you do.

—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

HELP CHALLENGE THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL HUNTER HARASSMENT LAW IN PENNSYLVANIA‏

From the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting/WILDWATCH.ORG

Jan Haagensen’s case challenging the hunter harassment statute in Pennsylvania will be either taken up by the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) or not at the end of September. If SCOTUS takes up the case and rules in Jan’s favor, hunter harassment laws can be successfully challenged in every state.

To increase Jan’s chances of being heard, please go to this website: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/318/132/729/challenge-the-hunter-harassment-law-in-pennsylvania/ and take the action indicated by copying and pasting the text into the supreme court email form provided within the petition. Also, please sign the petition and pass along to others. On behalf of the hunted, we thank you!!!!

CHALLENGE THE HUNTER HARASSMENT LAW IN PENNSYLVANIA

Bowshot deer

IF YOU ASK THE HUNTER NOT TO SHOOT HER,

YOU WILL BE ARRESTED!

Read, spread the word, and TAKE ACTION!

Thanks to you, C.A.S.H. is able to publish information needed by activists and media. Thanks to you, C.A.S.H.org
is able to educate the public about the pro-hunter bias in our government. Our fervent wish is for the government to protect wild animals as individuals rather than exploit them as “natural resources.”

Hunter Started 237,000 Acre Yosemite Fire

Firefighters Gain Ground on Rim Fire as Cause is Discovered

By Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
September 06, 2013; 9:42 AM

Thick smoke from the Rim Fire blaze has begun drifting into the Yosemite Valley, a popular scenic destination for visitors to the Yosemite National Park.

Nearly 4,000 firefighters continue to battle the massive blaze that has consumed more than 237,000 acres since its start on Aug. 17.

On Thursday, the Incident Information System confirmed in a news release that the fire began on Aug. 17 after a hunter allowed an illegal fire to escape.

[Hunters are responsible for dozens of forest fires each year, contrary to the claim that they're the "best environmentalists."]

Investigators from the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office are withholding the hunter’s name pending further investigation.

No arrests have been made at this time. Additionally, there have been no indications that the hunter was involved with any illegal marijuana cultivation.

The fire, now 80 percent contained, has resulted in poor air quality for many surrounding areas.

“Visitors to Yosemite should expect periods of smoky conditions, depending on winds and fire behavior,” the National Park’s Air Quality and Smoke Monitoring page read on Wednesday.

A webcam in Yosemite National Park captures a shot of smoke from the Rim Fire in the distance on Aug. 29.

On Tuesday, the fire grew a total of 1,700 acres as southwest transport winds pushed smoke into communities northeast of the fire, including Pinecrest, Bear Valley, Markleeville, Minden, Carson City and the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Never Trust a Hunter Named “Killer”

It’s nice to hear that the hunter who died in a shooting accident in Tomales, CA had so many friends. However, one of them, going by the name “Killer,” may not have been such a good friend after all. He did the deceased a disservice by trying to post the following comment with details about his alleged friend’s death:

“He already killed a deer before he jumped in his Jeep and ran it over (just to make sure it was dead). The ‘accident’ occurred when he backed up over the (slightly smashed) deer and the firearm slid from the gun rack and discharged, striking the valiant hunter in the hand and throat.”

Now “killer” is back, now cleverly posting under a new handle, “Animal Lover.” This time his comment is just a retraction of his last (unwelcome) comment:

“I am amazed that you people actually believe Mr. Weller drove a vehicle over the deer. I put that non-fact in my comment because the Moderator would not post my original comment. I knew that it would not probably not help the “hunting cause”, but it did provoke the desired result” [Which was what? To make us think hunters have so little regard for the animals they shoot that they’d drive over them afterwards; or to draw out a lot of outraged comments from us for some reason?

How are we supposed to believe him this time? If I believed him that his friend drove over the deer he shot, it’s because I never had the pleasure to make that particular hunter’s acquaintance. But I’ve known plenty of other hunters who routinely pulled similar stunts. When asked if he’d seen any deer that day, one unabashedly announced, “No, but I got off a couple of good ‘sound shots’!” [Meaning, he shot blindly at a sound he heard in the bushes].

I’ve seen hunters standing up in the back of pickup beds, loaded rifles at the ready, in hopes of shooting deer from the road. Working in the woods, I’ve been in the rig while the driver tried to run a deer down. And of course, the truck cab with three cammo-clad, orange-vested hunters sitting abreast, each with a can of malt liquor on their lap, is as common a site as falling yellow leaves in Autumn.

So, do I believe “Killer’s” original story, or his new retraction? Maybe neither; maybe this is something the local Sherriff and county coroner should look into. Who knows, maybe “Killer” himself is responsible for the killing. He sure likes to blow smoke like someone with a guilty conscience.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter to us; we’re here for the animals. We don’t have time to dwell on the hunters or their apologists (although some sure seem to crave any attention they can get).

Text and Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

Watch Out Washington Wolves, the “Experts” are Coming

WDFW NEWS RELEASE Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 http://wdfw.wa.gov/

July 11, 2013

Contact: Wildlife Program, 360-902-2515

[Self-proclaimed] “experts” from three western states to discuss effects of wolves on hunting opportunities

OLYMPIA – Big game managers from Washington, Idaho and Montana will discuss their experiences managing game animals in areas populated by wolves during a live webcast July 18.

The event will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. via the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) website ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/ ). Viewers will have an opportunity to provide questions via email at july18event@dfw.wa.gov .

Montana and Idaho have been managing wolves longer than Washington and their experience can provide context to inform the department and citizens on how to confront the challenges that lie ahead, said Phil Anderson, WDFW director.

“We’ve been consulting with a number of experts, including our counterparts from other states, since wolves began to reappear in Washington to better prepare us for meeting the many challenges that come with having wolves back in the state,” said Anderson, who will participate in the discussion. “This will give the public an opportunity to hear directly from those who have been involved in wolf management in other areas of the west.”

Jon Rachel, Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s state wildlife manager and Jim Williams, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ northwest wildlife program manager will discuss the impacts wolves have had on deer, elk and other big game animals in their states. They will also discuss strategies that successful big game hunters have adopted while hunting in their states.

Dave Ware, WDFW statewide game program manager, will describe the status of wolves and big game hunting in Washington.

For those unable to view the live webcast on July 18, it will remain available from the department’s webpage after the event.

copyrighted wolf in water

Study: Wolves Don’t Cause Elk Drop

Even they know that wolves are NOT the culprits…

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/hbo/2013/jun/21/study-wolves-dont-cause-elk-drop/

June 21, 2013 1:22 p.m.

Any hunter who’s spent time in wolf country can attest to the predators’ influence. We see wolf tracks, find old kills, and often times we spot fewer game animals. But exactly how wolves affect big-game populations is still greatly unknown. Yeah, wolves eat elk. But, do they kill mostly adults or calves? Do they eat enough elk to wipe out a whole herd? Do they pressure elk into hiding in the timber or force them off their feeding patterns? Are wolves even one of the main factors in elk population dynamics? New research from the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming is starting to shed light on some of these questions. After three years of studying the Clark’s Fork elk herd (about 5,000 animals) in northwest Wyoming, lead researcher Arthur Middleton found that wolves might not be as detrimental to elk populations as many outdoorsmen think/Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life. H/T: Rich Landers, SR Outdoors.

copyrighted wolf in water

Hunt the Hunters

Here’s a classic vintage quote from the late Cleveland Amory, founder of the Hunt the Hunters Hunt Club…

“Our position is simply this: we want to do for the hunter what the hunter does for the animal–shoot him for his own good! Now, I admit that some hunters are so shortsighted they don’t realize we’re doing this just for them. It must be made clear that hunters are breeding like flies, overcrowding the fields, damaging the forests. But our club isn’t trying to exterminate them; we’re just trying to thin the herd.”

20130609-185147

Texas Teen Kills His Elder

By now you’ve probably read, or heard on the news, something to the effect of “Texas teen ‘bags’ an 800-pound record alligator.” The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department say the alligator was between 30 and 50 years old. [That’s right, the animal was older and wiser than the young human who hooked and shot him.]

Typical of the media’s coverage of the atrocity is the following article from the Seattle Times:

A Houston-area high school senior has bagged a 14-foot, 800 pound alligator – the heaviest ever certified in Texas – on his first alligator hunt. [Great, he’s a trophy hunter for life now, no doubt.]

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials say 18-year-old Braxton Bielski bagged [“BAGGED”? Here the press are being about as disrespectful of the animal as the murderous kid] the record gator last week at Choke Canyon State Park, about 90 miles south of San Antonio.

The agency says in a statement that Braxton shot the giant reptile after hooking it on a line using raw chicken as bait. [They call it a “hunt” but the poor animal was hooked in the water like a fish, only later to be shot by the mighty human “hunter.”]

Bielski’s father, Troy Bielski, won a Parks and Wildlife drawing for a five-day permit to hunt in the Daughtry Wildlife Management Area. The Houston police officer says his son had been dreaming of hunting alligators for years. [Serial killers fantasize for years before murdering their victims too.]

I posted this article to my Facebook page yesterday; it received these fitting comments:

“For absolutely no significant purpose whatsoever. Sickening. This is what young people are taught through so many societal avenues – that no other living creature matters, except them and those like them. Not even other human beings. Humans are raising a whole bunch of Sociopaths and Psychopaths. Very Frightening.”

“Sick–go into its habitat–bait a hook–then shoot it from a boat when it comes up…”

“Wow, this is something to be proud of? There will probably never be an 800 lb alligator on this planet again, so good for this little asshole, he got the last one. I’m sure the killer of the last wolf, bear, cougar….will be just as proud of himself.”

Need I say more?

It’s not so surprising to hear about Syrian rebel leaders eating human hearts when this kind of treatment of other living things is taught to today’s youth.

796px-gator34

Don’t Be an Ursiphobe

The first half of this post was excerpted from the chapter “Bears Show More Restraint than Ursiphobic Elmers” in my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport

An irrational fear of bears dates back to the earliest days of American history and is customarily accompanied by obtuse thinking and quirky spelling. The most famous inscription (carved into a tree, naturally) attributable to Daniel Boone (that guy who went around with a dead raccoon on his head) bragged how he “…cilled a bar…in the year 1760.” The bears Boone killed (and there were many) in North Carolina and Tennessee were black bears, a uniquely American species that, like coyotes, evolved on the Western Hemisphere.

Greatly fearing the grizzly bears they discovered on their voyage up the Missouri River to the Pacific, Lewis and Clark were among the first frontiersmen responsible for leading them down the path to near-extinction. In a May 5, 1805, entry in their journals, Lewis quilled of the “turrible” grizzly, “It was a most tremendous looking anamal and extreemly hard to kill.” Clark and another member of their party pumped the unarmed bear with ten shots of lead before he finally succumbed.

Between 50,000 and 100,000 grizzlies once inhabited the western continental US before incoming settlers shot, poisoned and trapped them out, quickly snatching up prime valley bottoms (the preferred habitat of grizzly bears) for themselves and their livestock. Thus driven into desolate high country, the rare grizzlies who hold on in the lower 48 are allowed only two percent of their historic domain. The current population of 500 is essentially marooned on islands of insufficient wilderness, cut off from one another by freeways, urban sprawl and a network of barbed wire fences that spell “keep out” to any grizzly who knows what’s good for ‘em.

In the vein of fables handed down for generations, bear tales have been told, embellished upon, amplified and retold by sportsmen wanting to justify hounding, baiting and just plain killing. As Charlie Russell, author of Grizzly Heart: Living without Fear among the Brown Bears of Kamchatka, tells it:

“Hunting guides describe bears as ferocious, unpredictable and savage predators. They tell one horrifying story after another about people being torn apart. The victims are always those who approached the encounter poorly armed. Then the guides move on to recount countless acts of sportsman bravery: tales of real men stopping huge angry bears just short of the barrel of their guns. They keep it up until their clients are shaking in their boots, barely able to muster the courage to face the dreadful foe.”

Slowly but surely, hyperbolic bear tales are being replaced by the honest truth about bears and folks are waking up to the reality that bears aren’t really out to get them, as evidenced in this recent article from the Calgary Herald:

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Overcoming+fear+grizzlies+survival+species+says+author/8323704/story.html

Overcoming fear of grizzlies key to survival of species, says author

Albertans need to stop being afraid of grizzly bears and learn to live with the animals to protect the threatened species in the province, says the former superintendent of Banff National Park.

Kevin Van Tighem, a fourth-generation Calgarian who worked with Parks Canada for three decades, said it’s time to reconsider how bears are managed in the province.

“If we really want bears to have a future, we need to manage them without fear,” he said in an interview with the Herald about his new book, Bears Without Fear. “We are primarily managing around a risk averse, keep-bears-scared-of-people paradigm.

“I don’t support bear hazing, I don’t support the Karelian bear dog program or the long-distance relocations.”

The strategies are all part of Alberta’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan 2008-2013, which was implemented after studies found there were fewer than 700 grizzly bears in the province — a number that led to their status as a threatened species.

All but one of the 15 grizzly bear deaths on provincial land (another two bears were hit and killed by a train in Banff National Park) in 2012 were caused by humans.

In addition, a total of 31 grizzly bears have been relocated by the province after threatening public safety, attacking livestock or damaging property — up from last year’s 24 “problem” bears.

Research shows relocation can triple the mortality of grizzly bears, which has raised concerns among conservationists.

Van Tighem said moving bears out of their habitat is part of the problem, pointing to the relocation of a mother grizzly bear and her three cubs out of Canmore last spring as an example.

“These were totally harmless bears,” he said. “They weren’t scared of people and because they weren’t scared of people, whenever they were surprised by a bicyclist or a dog walker, nothing bad happened. The mother would basically look and say, ‘Well, that’s people. They aren’t scary, so I don’t have to react in a scary way.’

As a result, he said the province took the best possible bears to live around and relocated them because they were worried about what could go wrong.

“We just can’t do that anymore,” said Van Tighem.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved