Wildlife Advocates Want Closer Look At Wolf Shot By Hunter


  NOV 9, 2017
Originally published on November 9, 2017 7:44 pm

 Wildlife advocates want Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to reopen an investigation into an elk hunter’s shooting of a wolf in Eastern Oregon, which was initially ruled self-defense.

In the weeks since, potential discrepancies in the evidence and the account from Oregon State Police have been raised by wolf advocates, a prominent wolf biologist and former Fish and Wildlife Service trapper, as well as a former district attorney in Oregon.

On Oct. 27, a man from Clackamas hunting near La Grande called police to report he’d shot a wolf. He said he encountered three wolves. One charged at him. He told police he feared for his life.

He fired one shot and killed it. The rest scattered.

Police ruled it self defense. It is illegal to shoot a wolf in Oregon, unless it is in self-defense or the wolf is caught in the act of attacking livestock.

The hunter, Brian Scott, could not be reached for comment. On Saturday, he told The Oregonian/Oregonlive he was terrified as he raised his rifle, saw nothing but hair in the scope, and shot.

“People envision this jerk hunter out to kill anything, but that’s not me. It frustrates me they don’t understand,” Scott told The Oregonian/Oregonlive. “I’m a meat hunter. I was looking for a spike elk. This wasn’t exciting. It ruined my hunt.”

Eighteen environmental groups have now petitioned the governor’s office to order a new look at the Oregon State Police investigation, this time with independent oversight from the state attorney general’s office, with cooperation from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“The hunter may have been afraid. We aren’t questioning that. We are, however, questioning why OSP’s report does not give a complete or accurate account of the evidence,” said Quinn Read, with Defenders of Wildlife.

“It’s not about discrepancies in the hunter’s story. To me, the problem is the agency charged with enforcing our state’s wildlife laws either overlooked some evidence, they either misinterpreted it or perhaps misrepresented it,” Read said.

Photographs show the gunshot wound is on the side of the wolf. That’s an unlikely location for a charging animal, said Scott Heiser, a former Benton County district attorney who worked for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Heiser reviewed available evidence at the request of Oregon Wild.

“The photographs publicly available suggest that this wolf was shot in the middle of the right side of her body with an exit wound at the left front shoulder,” Heiser said. “If this is accurate, then that would profoundly contradict a self-defense claim as the presumptive angle of the bullet would suggest the wolf was not charging the shooter at the time he fired the shot.”

Heiser said Oregon State Police should have called for a necropsy of the animal. He said that could have helped determined whether the animal charged but turned at the last second, or some other explanation for the wound location.

Wolf biologist Carter Niemeyer, who spent many years as a wolf tracker for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, also said the photographs of the wound appear more consistent with an animal shot from the side, while stationary.

“That’s a pretty well-placed bullet for a snapshot,” said Niemeyer. “Shooting predators, that’s where that scope, crosshairs is usually put. Right on the chest area.”

Niemeyer said because the wolf was a small female — 83 pounds — he would expect it to flee human contact. He said he isn’t judging Scott, the hunter, or questioning whether he was fearful, as he said he was. He thinks a more thorough investigation would have prevented much of the speculation.

The governor’s office and Oregon police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the letter, wolf advocates said self-defense can be an “easy out” for those who kill wolves illegally. Two other wolves in Oregon have been illegally killed since last October. As Oregon’s wolf population has expanded to the point that the state can consider future wolf hunting, those groups fear what will happen without close scrutiny of self-defense claims.

Dominic Aiello, a hunting advocate and president of the Oregon Outdoor Council, said environmental groups are blowing this wolf’s death out of proportion, which will exacerbate the controversial issue of wolf recovery.

He said he doubts Oregon will come to see overwhelming use of the self-defense claim.

“I think if you’re intent on killing a wolf illegally, you’re not going to call OSP to say you’ve actually shot a wolf,” Aiello said. “ Someone’s not going to call the police on themselves after killing a wolf that they didn’t need to kill. It doesn’t make sense.”


Two elk shot dead near Cottonwood Pass; authorities looking for information


BUENA VISTA, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking the public for information about two bull elk that were found shot dead near Cottonwood Pass on Sunday.

Wildlife officials said a hunter found the abandoned carcasses off County Road 306 about a half mile from the summit of Cottonwood Pass, which is west of Buena Vista. They estimate both elk were shot dead early Sunday morning. The carcasses, which were abandoned about 50 yards from the road, were fully intact.

Anyone with information about the deaths is asked to call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 719-539-8413 or 719-530-5520.

Wildlife officials said they recognize accidents can happen while hunting, and they urge the responsible person to step forward.

“Prompt self-reporting will be taken into account when charges are being considered,” they said in a statement.

According to CPW, willfully destroying and abandoning big game can lead to felony charges. If convicted, violators can be fined more than $10,000 and face up to a year in jail, along with a lifetime suspension of hunting and fishing privileges in 44 states, including Colorado.

Illegal trade of turtles destablising Pakistan’s ecological system

By Sana Saif
Published: November 7, 2017

The turtles are being illegally exported to China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other Asian countries, as they are eaten or used for medicinal purposes and in the preparation of artificial jewellery. PHOTO: FILE

The turtles are being illegally exported to China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other Asian countries, as they are eaten or used for medicinal purposes and in the preparation of artificial jewellery. PHOTO: FILE

The illegal trade of endangered turtles might be a lucrative industry but it is upsetting the natural order of Pakistan’s wildlife environment.

These turtles are a natural filter and key components of eradicating water pollution as well as various bacteria which is harmful for human health. But, due to the illegal trafficking, they are disappearing from Pakistan fast.

The turtles are being illegally exported to China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other Asian countries, as they are eaten or used for medicinal purposes and in the preparation of artificial jewellery.

A turtle bought for a mere Rs200 is being sold after being smuggled to the aforementioned countries for a whopping Rs150,000, which amounts to $1,500. The wildlife department’s poor performance can be gauged by the low number of cases registered in the last 10 years against the smugglers, which stands at 69.

These turtles can be found in wetlands, such as lakes, rivers and ponds, and are crucial in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem as they prey on plants that grow underwater, small insects, snails, worms, and dead marine animals and fish, clearing water bodies of germs and harmful bacteria.

The Chinese are reportedly associated with the turtle trafficking business in Pakistan. Influential Chinese at the helm of some Pakistan-China projects are alleged to be directly involved in the bootlegging of turtles.

49 turtles confiscated from Burnes Road aquariums

On August 18, 2014, a consignment of 229 black-spotted turtles was seized at the Pakistan-China border. A month later, on September 20, 2014, a shipment of 218 black-spotted turtles was seized at the Karachi airport. On the same day, 230 Pakistani black pond turtles were caught at a hospital in Karachi.

A couple of years later, on April 7, 2016, 62 turtles, tightly wrapped in a curtain, were seized in Shanti Nagar by the Karachi police. Of these turtles, 49 died. On April 28, 2016, 170 black-spotted turtles were seized from the Super Highway. On September 10, 2016, a shipment of
780 black-spotted turtles was recovered from Defence Housing Authority in Karachi.

Survey results

In 2003, the Sindh wildlife department, in coordination with the zoological survey department of Pakistan, conducted a survey to collect data on turtles in the Indus River. The survey concentrated on the waters linking Sukkur Barrage, Guddu Barrage and Jamal Din, as well as the waters around Kandhkot. Another survey was conducted just two years later, in 2005, and two species, Pangshura Smithii and Chitra Indica, which were included in the previous survey results, were missing from the results of the second survey.

Malaysia seizes smuggled tortoises worth $300,000

In 2009, reports showed the Indus River was home to eight species of turtles. However, by 2012, there were just three types of species left, which included two hard-shelled spotted pond and Indian roofed turtles and one soft shelled peacock turtle.

Data collected in 2014 found that the soft shelled Indian flap shell turtles were the highest in number among other species of turtles, but sadly, a 2015 survey reported that this species had gone missing. In 2016, some surveys argued that all sweet water turtles’ existence was endangered.

From 2006 to 2008, the wildlife department registered 22 cases of illegal smuggling of turtles from various cities such as Sukkur, Rohri, Ghotki, Pannu Aqil, Abro, Guddu, Kashmore and Kandhkot. Between 2009 and 2014, 37 smugglers were arrested in Sukkur, Khairpur, Dokri, Kashmore, Kamber-Shahdadkot, Guddu and Larkana for the illegal trade of turtles.
Likewise, from 2014 to 2017, nine cases were registered in connection with the illegal smuggling of black spotted turtles.

‘Karachi biggest market for endangered species’

Before 2007, sweet water turtles in Pakistan were not included in the endangered species list, but now, they are considered an endangered species in all provinces of the country. In 2014, the Sindh government added eight species of turtles in ‘Sindh’s Most Endangered Wildlife Species’ list. The turtles located in the waters on either side of the Indus River (till the Kotri Barrage) are the prime targets and prey of the smuggling mafia.

Initially, the process of fishing out these turtles was done by amateurs, but it is now being done by expert fishermen and locals who specialise in this type of fishing. Turtles weighing between two grammes and two kilogrammes are caught and sold to a middleman for Rs200 to Rs500.

The clearing and forwarding expenses at the airport have seen a significant rise in their price and these turtles can cost up to Rs4,000.

Therefore, each shipment’s cost may vary between Rs1.2 million and Rs1.5 million and includes 200 to 250 units. The demand for these turtles in the international market is great, with each unit costing around $1,500.
Hence, a smuggler gets a hefty return on his ‘investment’ per shipment.
Barely one in five smugglers is caught by the authorities and even if they are caught, they get out of it by paying a minimal fine.

Wildlife dept recovers eight endangered falcons

The demand for black spotted turtles in China is very high as they are considered a symbol of good luck by people who keep the turtles in their homes. Chinese and Taiwanese pharmaceutical companies also use the turtles for medicinal purposes. These turtles are also used for making jewellery and leather as well as trinkets for tourists.

The chief controller of the Sindh wildlife department, Saeed Baloch, said that officials of the department recently recovered 68 soft-shelled Chitra Indica turtles from the Karachi airport. Their insides were dried up and ready for smuggling. An FIR was registered against the smugglers and they were fined Rs5.44 million, according to the Sindh Turtles and Tortoise Protection, Conservation Act, 2015. The Sindh government also seized two bags worth of smuggled turtles in 2015. Each bag carried 218 turtles.

Baloch also said that people in interior Sindh catch turtles due to poverty, lack of education and unemployment, as it is a lucrative business. A joint operation of the federal and provincial governments, along with law enforcement agencies will soon be launched against the smuggling mafia.


Man Is Cited For Illegal Hunting In Rockport State Park




A resident of Rockport saw some hunters shooting deer from the roadway on State Routh 32 near the State Park.  It turns out the hunters were cited by the Division of Wildlife Resources on a couple of counts.

3 Idaho Hunters Caught in Illegal Hunting Sting in Wyoming

Hunting Violation:


JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has caught three deer hunters from Idaho attempting to illegally pursue game over state lines in a sting operation using a remote-controlled mule deer buck.

The Jackson Hole News And Guide reports the department schedules the sting for the opening day of deer hunting in Idaho, which usually comes after the Wyoming season has concluded.

Maryland Natural Resources Police Announces Charges Connected Deer Poaching


The Maryland Natural Resources Police arrested five Garrett County men for deer poaching activities, which stemmed back as far as 2016.

Public tips and social media posts prompted an investigation into a string of illegal hunting incidents. Homes in Garrett County were served search warrants in July, before charges were filed against the five suspects.

Twenty-nine-year-old Dakota Lee Hinebaugh, of Oakland, was fined for 24 hunting violations. He faces up to $39,500 in fines and loss of hunting privileges for up to five years, police said. He allegedly hunted without a license and during a closed season, as well as possessed a deer during a closed season. Hinebaugh is accused of hunting deer at night without written permission, with a spotlight and hiding a deer or removing the head before check-in, according to police.

Deer HuntingTwenty-one-year-old Michael DeWitt, of Swanton, was fined for a total of 30 violations. He faces maximum fines up to $45,500 and loss of his hunting privileges for up to five years, police said. DeWitt allegedly hunted during and possessed a deer in a closed season. He is also accused of firing his gun from a vehicle, hunting deer with a spotlight, hunting without written permission, failing to return a turkey kill, obstructing a police investigation and hiding a deer or removing a deer’s head before check-in.

Forty-two-year-old Michael Allen DeWitt, of Oakland, was charged with littering and hindering or obstructing a police investigation. He faces a 30-day jail sentence and a maximum fine of $1,500.

Forty-one-year-old Donald Lee Hinebaugh, of Oakland, was fined for aiding and abetting hunting without a licensed and failing to report two deer kills, police said. He faces a maximum five of $1,500.

Fifty-eight-year-old Phillip Lyle DeWitt, of Mount Lake Park, was fined for “failing to report a kill and failing to record the kill on his Big Game Harvest Record,” police said. He faces a maximum fine of $3,000.

Additionally, the Maryland State Police charged 19-year-old James Wesley Lewis, of Accident and 18-year-old Lukas Issac Holler, of Oakland, for possession of a shotgun or rifle and illegal ammunition after conviction of a disqualifying crime. Both men face a maximum three-year prison sentence and maximum $1,000 fine. They also face an additional one-year prison sentence and maximum fine of $1,000 for the ammunition charge.

Man arrested for illegally hunting in Staten Island


Thursday, October 12, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department says they’ve arrested an upstate New York man who was illegally hunting in a Staten Island park.

The 28-year-old hunter was spotted sitting near a tree holding a crossbow by an off-duty police officer who was out for a walk. The officer called for backup after the man acknowledged he was hunting deer, and the hunter was arrested Tuesday night.

It is illegal to hunt in all five boroughs of New York City.

The Norfolk man was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and prohibited use of a weapon.

He was released on his own recognizance and has another court date scheduled for Dec. 15.

Corps cracks down on illegal deer hunting in Collin County


  • Kelsey Samuels
Hunters can no longer hunt deer or hogs on land owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Courtesy of Luke Clayton

The start of hunting season is underway, and this year the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made a significant change to its hunting rules. Through the duration of deer hunting season, hog hunting is no longer allowed on Corps land. Deer hunting season is Sept. 30 until the first of January.

According to Mike Stephens, Collin County game warden, this rule was instituted to reduce the risk of illegal hunting White Tail deer in Collin County.

As Collin County has changed and developed, rural spaces are now being developed for homes, businesses and community centers. This change has significantly reduced the roaming space for wildlife in the county.

“With all the urbanization in Collin County, we’re really pushing a lot of the animals in different directions, and one of those animals is our deer herd,” he said.

The county’s deer population is quite small; however, what the herds lack in numbers, they make up for in antler size.

“We have very very large antlers in Collin County. Trophy bucks in any other county are your typical deer here in Collin. We’re very fortunate because we have a lot of trophy here, but there’s not [as much] range for these deer,” Stephens said.

The majority of the deer herds call 6,000 acres of Corps land home near Lake Lavon. This land is free and open to the public – with a permit – for dove, squirrel rabbit, and, until recently, feral hog hunting. Wardens have had an issue with illegal deer hunting on Corps land in the past, Stephens said and hog hunting was often the main reason why.

According to Stephens, if approached by a game warden, hunters tell wardens they’re hog hunting even though they plan on deer hunting. Hunters can have all the tools that suggest they’re deer hunting, but there’s nothing wardens can do to prove them otherwise, he said. “We have to take their word for it. That has been the norm.”

But now that hog hunting is outlawed, “that excuse doesn’t fly anymore,” he said, which will help game wardens crack down on poachers in the area.

All deer hunting in Collin County occurs on privately owned land, “so unless you know somebody or you’re paying for a lease, the possibilities of deer hunting are not going to be available to you,” he said. Illegally hunting deer is a state jail felony, and the Corps is prepared to prosecute and demand restitution for any lost deers.

Stephens added that first-time hunters looking to legally hunt this year must also attend a hunting education course. The latest legislation states anyone born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, must attend a classroom or online course to obtain this education license. Veterans, law enforcement or current military personnel are exempt from this rule.

First-time hunters should also keep their rifles or shotguns at home if they plan to hunt deer in Collin County: It’s an archery-only county.

“With the rifle, you have the distance on the animals. It’s a lot easier to kill the deer. With archery, it’s a lot more competitive. It’s more of a sport hunt,” he said. “And a lot of that deals with our herd. We don’t have a very large herd here, so we want to preserve that herd for future generations to hunt.”

Indiana women charged with using bait to hunt deer while filming TV show


Fox59Published 1:33 p.m. ET Oct. 1, 2017

ROCKVILLE, Ind. – Two Indiana women were filming a TV show when they were cited for allegedly using bait to hunt deer, according to Fox59.

Now, Jody L. Davies, 47, and Sarah Ross, 32, are facing multiple counts of hunting deer with the aid of bait as well as charges for an illegally taken deer.

Conservation officers say the charges are the result of an extensive investigation conducted over the past three years.

DNR says multiple baited stands have been identified and documented on hunting properties used by the women in both Parke and Putnam counties beginning in 2015.

Officers say Davies has been featured on social media and in articles with many prominent outdoor magazines in reference to the two trophy class whitetail bucks she killed in 2015 and 2016, both of which were harvested during the investigation. She also reportedly films for a hunting TV show.

Officers want to remind hunters that all substances placed for animal consumption, along with any affected soil, must be completely removed from the hunting area at least ten days prior to the hunting.

Poachers target Africa’s lions, vultures with poison



JOHANNESBURG — Hundreds of vultures in Namibia died after feeding on an elephant carcass that poachers had poisoned. Poachers in Zimbabwe used cyanide to kill dozens of elephants for their ivory tusks. In Mozambique three lions died after eating bait infused with a crop pesticide.

Poisoning Africa’s wildlife is an old practice, but conservationists fear such incidents are escalating in some areas, saying relatively easy access to agricultural chemicals and the surging illegal market for animal parts are increasing pressure on a number of already beleaguered species. The threat is compounded by the indiscriminate nature of killing with poison, in which a single contaminated carcass can take down a range of animals, particularly scavengers such as vultures.

This month, a continent-wide database was launched to gather data on wildlife poisoning and better understand a phenomenon that has been widely documented in southern Africa, where a reported 70 lions have been fatally poisoned in the last 18 months, according to managers. While the African Wildlife Poisoning Database lacks records from underreported areas including Central Africa, it dates to 1961 and lists nearly 300 poisoning incidents in 15 African countries that killed more than 8,000 animals from dozens of species, including leopards, hyenas, impalas, cranes and storks.

 “It’s still a big work in progress,” said Darcy Ogada, a Kenya-based database coordinator and assistant director of Africa programs at The Peregrine Fund, a conservation group. The goal, Ogada said, is to get governments to pay more attention to the “underground world” of wildlife poisoning that also threatens livestock, water sources and people who eat meat from birds and other poisoned animals.

Poachers with guns have killed hundreds of thousands of elephants and thousands of rhinos in Africa in past years, but wildlife traffickers have increasingly laced carcasses with poison to target vultures that circle overhead and can draw the attention of anti-poaching rangers. Previously, poisons such as strychnine were primarily used by farmers to kill jackals, wild dogs and other predators that attack livestock, though some landowners and communities have responded positively to anti-poison campaigns.

In 2013, between 400 and 600 vultures died after feeding on the poisoned carcass of an elephant that was killed for its ivory in Namibia’s Zambezi area, said Andre Botha, a poisoning database manager and special projects manager at the Endangered Wildlife Trust, a South African group.

“This is the highest number of vultures killed in a single poisoning incident that we have on the database to date,” Botha said.

 Some of Africa’s species of vulture, whose body parts are also precious in traditional medicine in parts of the continent, are listed as critically endangered. South Asian vulture populations are a fraction of what they were, largely because of feeding on carcasses of livestock treated with diclofenac, a veterinary drug that is toxic to vultures. Government bans on the drug, however, helped level those declines.

African lions are in peril partly because of human encroachment on habitats and the poaching of animals for food, which deprives lions of prey. The killing of lions by poison, once largely a result of livestock owners trying to protect their herds, appears to reflect growing local and Asian demand for lion claws, bones and other parts used in traditional medicine, according to Botha.

“What we see now is people purposely going out and targeting lions,” he said. Some 70 were poisoned in southern Africa since last year, Botha said. The database reports a total of 51 lion poisonings between 1980 and 2015.

In July, officials in Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park on the border with South Africa found poacher tracks, bait laced with poison, and the carcasses of three lions and a hyena, according to the Peace Parks Foundation, which develops cross-border conservation areas. It said authorities believe poachers used a substance containing the pesticide aldicarb, which South Africa banned because of its environmental threat.

Another pesticide, carbofuran, is the “abused product of choice” in countries including Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya, said Tim Snow, a South African conservationist who helps train southern African rangers in how to deal with poisoning sites by wearing surgical gloves for their own safety and collecting samples for study in a laboratory.

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He said poachers in Zimbabwe have killed more than 90 elephants since 2015 by poisoning water sources with cyanide, a chemical used to extract gold from ore. Authorities have seized cyanide stashes from vehicles at police roadblocks and a warehouse in Bulawayo city, Snow said.

Educating communities about the environmental fallout from poisoning wildlife is key, said Mark Anderson, CEO of BirdLife South Africa. Banning poisons, he said, has a limited impact because “there’s an unlimited supply and variety of poisons that can be used.”