When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 11 days ago at a West Texas ranch, he was among high-ranking members of an exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an Austrian society that dates back to the 1600s.
After Scalia’s death Feb. 13, the names of the 35 other guests at the remote resort, along with details about Scalia’s connection to the hunters, have remained largely unknown. A review of public records shows that some of the men who were with Scalia at the ranch are connected through the International Order of St. Hubertus, whose members gathered at least once before at the same ranch for a celebratory weekend.
Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,” which means “Honoring God by honoring His creatures,” according to the group’s website. Some hold titles, such as Grand Master, Prior and Knight Grand Officer. The Order’s name is in honor of Hubert, the patron saint of hunters and fishermen.
Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter and C. Allen Foster, a prominent Washington lawyer who traveled to the ranch with Scalia by private plane, hold leadership positions within the Order. It is unclear what, if any, official association Scalia had with the group.
“There is nothing I can add to your observation that among my many guests at Cibolo Creek Ranch over the years some members of the International Order of St. Hubertus have been numbered,” Poindexter said in an email. “I am aware of no connection between that organization and Justice Scalia.”
An attorney for the Scalia family did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
Two other private planes that landed at the ranch for the weekend are linked to two men who have held leadership positions with the Texas chapter of the Order, according to a review of state business filings and flight records from the airport.
After Scalia’s death, Poindexter told reporters that he met Scalia at a “sports group” gathering in Washington. The U.S. chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus lists a suite on M Street NW in the District as its headquarters, although the address is only a mailbox in a United Parcel Service store.
The International Order of St. Hubertus, according to its website, is a “true knightly order in the historical tradition.” In 1695, Count Franz Anton von Sporck founded the society in Bohemia, which is in modern-day Czech Republic.
The group’s Grand Master is “His Imperial Highness Istvan von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduke of Austria,” according to the Order’s website. The next gathering for “Ordensbrothers” and guests is an “investiture” March 10 in Charleston, S.C.
The society’s U.S. chapter launched in 1966 at the famous Bohemian Club in San Francisco, which is associated with the all-male Bohemian Grove — one of the most well-known secret societies in the country.
In 2010, Poindexter hosted a group of 53 members of the Houston chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, according to a Houston society publication. A number of members from Mexico were also part of the ranch festivities that included “three days of organized shoots and ‘gala’ lunches and dinners.”
Poindexter told CultureMap Houston that some of the guests dressed in “traditional European shooting attire for the boxed bird shoot competition” and for the shooting of pheasants and chukar, a type of partridge.
For the hunting weekend earlier this month, Poindexter told The Washington Post that Scalia traveled to Houston with his friend and U.S. marshals, who provide security for Supreme Court justices. The Post obtained a Presidio County Sheriff’s Office report that named Foster as Scalia’s close friend on the trip.
Sheriff Danny Dominguez confirmed that a photograph of Washington lawyer C. Allen Foster is the same man he interviewed at the ranch the day of Scalia’s death.
From Houston, Scalia and Foster chartered a plane without the marshals to the Cibolo Creek Ranch airstrip. In a statement after Scalia died, the U.S. Marshals Service said that Scalia had declined a security detail while at the ranch.
The friend, Louisiana-born Foster, is a lawyer with the Washington firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston. He is also known for his passion for hunting and is a former spokesman for the hunting group Safari Club.
In 2006, Foster was featured in The Post when he celebrated his 65th birthday with a six-day celebration in the Czech Republic. He flew his family and 40 Washington friends there to stay in Moravia’s Zidlochovice, a baroque castle and hunting park. The birthday bash included “tours of the Czech countryside, wine tasting, wild boar and mouflon (wild sheep) hunts, classic dance instruction and a masked costume ball.”
A secretary at Foster’s law firm said he is traveling in Argentina. The firm’s director of marketing, Mindee L. Mosher, said Foster was traveling and she would try to contact him. A woman answering a phone associated with Foster hung up when asked for comment.
Planes owned by Wallace “Happy” Rogers III and the company of A.J. Lewis III left from San Antonio and arrived at the ranch just after noon Feb. 12. The planes departed the ranch about 30 minutes apart Feb. 14, according to flight records provided to The Post by FlightAware.
Rogers owns the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum in San Antonio. He has donated $65,000 to Republican candidates since 2008. Lewis is the owner of a restaurant supplier company, also based in San Antonio. He has given $3,500 to GOP candidates since 2007.
Rogers and Lewis have both served as prior officers in the Texas chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus, according to Texas business records. Rogers spoke to a Post reporter briefly on the phone and confirmed that he was at the ranch the weekend of Scalia’s death, He declined to comment further.
Lewis did not respond to several attempts for comment.
The Presidio County Sheriff’s Office released an incident report to The Post on Tuesday that revealed Foster’s name as Scalia’s traveling companion and provided details about the discovery of his body.
Poindexter and Foster told the sheriff that Scalia had traveled to Texas the day before to go hunting. Poindexter told the sheriff that they “had supper and talked for a while” that evening.
Scalia “said that he was tired and was going to his room for the night,” the sheriff wrote in his report.
When Scalia didn’t show up for breakfast that morning, Poindexter knocked on his door and eventually went in and found the Justice dead in his bed, Poindexter said.
Law enforcement officials told The Post that they had no knowledge of the International Order of St. Hubertus or its connection to Poindexter and ranch guests. The officials said the FBI had declined to investigate Scalia’s death when they were told by the marshals that he died from natural causes.
Alice Crites in Washington and Eva Ruth Moravec in San Antonio contributed to this report.
1. Worst Performance as a “Conservationist”
2. Worst Supporting Actress to the Above Jerk
3. Lifetime of Cruelty in Entertainment Achievement Award
4. Worst Original Idea to Abuse Animals for Sport
5. Best Onscreen Performance of Why Tigers Belong in the Wild
6. Most Rabbit Tears in Makeup and Hairstyling
From John A. Livingston’s The Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation:
“I happen to loath and abominate blood ‘sports.’ I think that killing any sensate being for recreation—for fun—is evil and contemptible. I have said so, for public consumption, many times.
“The most frequent theme in the resulting letters I receive is that I have absolutely no rational argument to present, and that as the result I (sneakily) resort to purely emotional appeals. Some of the mail, by the way, has to be opened with my asbestos gloves.
“An acquaintance of mine in the arctic town of Inuvik once said to me, ‘John, we’ve got to do something about all these ravens here in town!’ ‘Why so?’ I asked. ‘For heaven’s sake, man, look around you—there are so many of them they’re getting out of control!’
“Loss of control is the abdication of power. It is tantamount to chaos. The universe is orderly, therefore chaos is unnatural. …
“So, it is seen that the ravens of Inuvik (prospering on our garbage) are thumbing their amiable beaks at universal order and thus at us. …
“Death is the final sting, the ultimate victory of uncontrollable, unmanageable, immoral, chaotic nature—from which experience we are snatched at the final exhalation by the gorgeous rationalization. Spirit over flesh, man over nature.”
Looking through the scope of a high powered hunting rifle, an excited boy of nine celebrates his birthday by shooting dead a majestic brown bear.
Reed Sutley shouted “yeah” after firing the fatal shot.
The delighted lad and four pals then giggled at the grisly birthday party as they chatted about the killing.
Reed boasted: “We saw eight bears – one down and seven more to go.”
The boys were taken on the trip by Reed’s dad, Greg, who filmed the killing and posted the footage online.
The video – which has emerged as part of a Mirror investigation – shows Reed and his school friends perched in a lair high above the ground.
Whispering and waiting on the wooden platform in a tree, they watched the bears that were lured to the area with bait provided by Mr Sutley.
An adult then took the gun from a collection of weapons and passed it to Reed.
The boy can hardly contain his glee as he prepared to kill.
Reed took aim as two bears gorged on the food.
His dad gave encouragement and told the lad to shoot the animal that was lying on the floor while it ate.
A single bullet is fired and the animal collapses as Reed celebrates the slaying and the other bear runs away.
After filming the birthday party in Alberta, Canada, hunter Mr Sutley posted the harrowing three-minute video – called “9 Year Old Shoots First Bear at Birthday Party” – on YouTube.
The proud dad bragged on his YouTube page: “Reed took his first bear with a perfect shot!”
His footage has attracted outrage, with one YouTube user saying: “Words cannot describe how disgusting this is.
“Greg mate, you should be ashamed of yourself bringing kids out on a road trip for the soul purpose of killing an innocent animal… Why the f*** are these kids laughing… after they killed it?”
Canadian Mr Sutley runs a hunting company in Alberta which charges up to £5,500 for those wanting to follow in the footsteps of Walter Palmer, the US dentist who killed Cecil the lion and has shot dead black bears with a bow and arrow.
The Mirror’s probe into Canada’s cruel hunters found the use of the term “hunter” in parts of North America is not a true reflection of these sickening expeditions.
Images of people tracking animals for days were shown to be myths.
In fact, companies like Mr Sutley’s lure their quarry to their death using barrels filled with beaver tails, doughnuts and maple syrup.
Hunters sit comfortably in hides or trees waiting to kill their prey. The animals are shot dead from yards away.
As part of our investigation we watched as eager trophy hunters descended on Alberta to kill baited bears.
US beauty queen Brittany York, who describes herself on her social media pages as an “animal lover”, is among those who have recently been to the region to hunt.
Last month the 25-year-old along with her dad Richard, 49, travelled more than 2,000 miles via Dallas to Edmonton.
It was her second hunting trip this year to Alberta after killing a bear three months earlier.
Often boasting about her skills she regularly posts graphic pictures and videos of her hunts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
After practising with her bow, Miss York and her party drove in convoy, taking two 4×4 trucks and towing two off-road vehicles to Halliards Bay where her guide and his team bait the area.
For four days the group sat as bears weighing up to 30st and standing 7ft tall ate in front of them, waiting until they found what they thought would make an acceptable kill.
Last Thursday Ms York, who was crowned Miss North Carolina in 2011, published a photo of her dad on Instagram, holding the paw of one of their kills. “Great job, Daddy!” she wrote.
The beauty queen justifies her hobby by claiming she only hunts to eat. But she has been slammed.
One critic said on Facebook: “You call yourself an animal lover when your own cover picture is you smiling disgustingly with a dead animal? You’re despicable.”
Despite repeated attempts to contact Mr Sutley and Miss York, both were unavailable for comment.
The hunts are licensed and there is no suggestion that anything illegal has been done.
Mr Sutley runs his Smoky River Outfitting business from his home in Debolt, Alberta.
The video of his son was published online last year but it has only just been unearthed.
Our probe has also found that hunters can kill bears for as little as £67.
There’s simply nothing classy about fox hunting, a bloody tradition that uses dogs to tear foxes limb from limb.
While a ban on the cruel sport has been in place for a decade, it’s hard to enforce, and no one knows how many foxes are still killed each year.
But some animal activists in the U.K. are taking the law into their own hands, using whatever means they can to intervene on behalf of the defenseless animals hunted down despite the law protecting them.
Moving footage from 2012 shows the determination of a woman who couldn’t stand the cruelty.
The hunters sit astride horses in the fox hunting tradition, while their trained dogs do their dirty work.
The hounds are zeroing in on a tiny fox when a woman sprints towards them. She starts screaming at the dogs to get them to stand back.
She throws her own body on the fox and brings the shaking animal into her arms.
As she runs away with the fox, the hunters shout at her from their horses: “Leave it!”
Watch her beautiful act of bravery here:
Add your name to a petition that says the fox hunting ban needs to be more strictly enforced.