Hunter’s body found in Fertile, Minn. field

FERTILE, Minn. — A body of a man who had been hunting was found in a rural Fertile, Minn., field Tuesday night, a press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

Timothy Leon Berhow, 66, of Grand Forks, N.D., was found just before 8:30 p.m. in a field where he had been hunting, the release said.

The sheriff’s office transported Berhow’s body to the University of North Dakota forensic medical examiner for an autopsy. The release said no foul play is suspected.

_________________________________________________________________________

At first glance, the headline (above) leads you believe that maybe a hunter will finally serve a purpose, not in life, but as his body decays into the fertile Earth where he died (for whatever reason).

The more cynical of you may be thinking something like, ‘Ugh, get the smelly hunter’s body out of the nice fertile field, so the rotting cascass doesn’t exude toxins in the form of cheap beer, aftershave, fried pork rinds and chewing tobacco.’

Since no foul play is suspected, it’s a shame the sheriff’s office burned the carbon to transport the body to the University of North Dakota for an autopsy.

 

 

7 Tons, One Shot

Hank Konrad: hunter

http://www.methownet.com/grist/features/konrad_hunting.html

It’s not every day that you can walk into a local supermarket and find an African lion attacking a warthog right there by the checkout counters – unless you’re shopping at Hank’s Harvest Foods in Twisp.

The lion and warthog are among dozens of trophy animals from Africa, Canada and a smattering of other countries on display at the store, most of them sharing space with an assortment of merchandise stacked above the freezer cases.

“I ran out of room at home so I brought some of them down here for the kids to see,” explains Hank Konrad, store owner and passionate hunter.

Each animal has a story. For example, that male lion from Zambia that’s about to dine on the warthog was probably six or seven years old when he died. He had 19 females in his pride and is believed to have fathered three cycles of cubs, Konrad said. But after losing his pride and territory to another male, he was found wandering hungry and alone. He was so thin his ribs and spine stuck out, according to Jackson Konrad, Hank’s son, who was with him on the trip.

photoJudy and Hank Konrad pose with a greater kudu bull, a woodland antelope, taken for meat in Botswana last year while they were hunting in the Kalahari. Photo courtesy of Hank Konrad

“I tracked him for 12 days because I didn’t want to bait him,” Hank said. Finally, the lion came into the open. “He stopped and looked back.” It was the only moment Konrad had to take a shot and he didn’t hesitate.

The warthog is from Zimbabwe. “I shot him [on a different trip] so we could have dinner,” Konrad explained. The warthog skull that’s part of the exhibit is from the animal on display; the lion skull is not.

Both animals were restored to life-like prime by a taxidermist friend who lives outside Missoula, Mont. He’s worked on all the African animals for Konrad, who said he prefers poses and facial expressions that are as natural as possible – no snarls and added drama. He doesn’t discuss the business side of his passion, but Konrad said, “I’m not taking anything out of the store [to pay] for hunting.”

photoA male Himalayan Tahr, a wild goat with a lion-like mane, watches over grocery shoppers. Konrad shot it in New Zealand, where Tahr goats are hunted for meat. Photo by Karen West

And while he’s hunted many kinds of animals, Konrad said, “I’m not a scorekeeper kind of guy.” In fact, after about two dozen trips to Africa, elephants are the only animal he hunts there – unless “somebody wants something to eat.” Why? “Because it’s the biggest challenge… I’m not a killer. I’m a hunter.”

It takes absolute focus, he explained, to stand face-to-face with a charging bull elephant, knowing he wants to kill you and you want to drop him with a single shot to the brain so he dies instantly. Konrad said he’s never missed that shot. His elephant gun holds two .500 Nitro cartridges and the tracker who accompanies him also has a rifle – just in case.

One year he shot a bull that weighed 14,000 pounds. It was estimated to be about 70 years old, the upper end of an elephant’s lifespan. He only had one molar left in his mouth and couldn’t chew food properly, said Konrad, who started hunting as a child.

“I was born in the woods, outside Grangeville,” Idaho, into a family that raised some cattle, ran a small logging operation and worked as outfitters during elk hunting season, he said. His mother was a quarter Nez Perce and his dad a quarter Crow.

When he was in high school, Konrad recalled, “I used to get on the school bus every Friday with my rifle and my pack and nobody blinked an eye.” After school, he went to a ranch for target practice. “All the kids with pickups in the [school] parking lot had rifles in the rack,” he added. “Nobody shot anybody.”

He is a life member of Safari Club International, the Wild Sheep Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation and the National Rifle Association. His three kids were trained in firearm safety and his six grandchildren will be, too. He said he opposes gun control.

He also said the United States government has gotten too big and is weakening the country. “We need to be self reliant again,” Konrad said. “We’ve taught our children that somebody else is responsible for everything. But that’s not the way it is.”

Self-reliance, by his definition, means taking care of your own – your kids, parents and the people in your own community — and not expecting the government to do it.

Konrad is legendary for quietly extending a generous helping hand in the community. “There’s nothing I won’t do for a working man but there’s nothing I’ll do for a man who won’t,” he said.

photoHank Konrad displays an 84-pound elephant tusk, one of the pair he has from his 2012 hunt in Botswana. Since the mid-1980s all elephant tusks being shipped from Africa are assigned a serial number to help track the ivory. Hunters must have permits and document their hunts with photographs. Konrad donates the hide and all meat to local villagers. Photo by Karen West

Hard work has been a hallmark of his life. He said his great-grandmother, Eva Cash, long ago told him: “All good things come to he who waits as long as he works like hell while he’s waiting.”

In 1975, Konrad moved to Twisp with his wife, Judy, a native of Lewiston, Idaho, and his brother and his wife. They bought the ‘Buckingham Palace’ grocery store, which was located where the Confluence Gallery is today.

“I worked 15 hours a day, seven days a week,” Konrad said. “I took a half-day off when Stephanie was born.” Stephanie is the eldest of the Konrad’s three children. She’s living in Wyoming, although her son works at the store. So do the Konrad’s other two children – daughter, Carlan, and son, Jackson, who runs the meat shop. Judy Konrad works in the office. Hank’s Harvest Foods employs 54 people, making it one of the largest employers in the valley.

Over the years, Konrad has had several businesses in addition to the grocery store including an excavating company and a well-digging business. He’s also invested in real estate. The family lives on a 1,000 acre ranch put together over the years up Finley Canyon, where the kids can learn about life by roaming the hills, hunting, fishing in the lake and riding their ATVs where grandpa designates so they don’t “tear up the land.” And you can bet they know the stories of the animals in his trophy room.

Konrad said he likes to travel “but I want to go into the bush and meet the real people.” Judy accompanies him and does some hunting, although she also travels with a group of friends to tourist sites and countries he doesn’t care about. His first trip outside the United States was with the U.S. Army to Vietnam, where he spent part of three different years. There he befriended an “old Frenchman” who talked to him about the place.

His passion for Africa was ignited years later when he saw some films about hunting there. It looked challenging. But the appeal has many facets – the expanses of land, the quiet, “tracking in the African bush and meeting the indigenous people who live out there” for whom hunting “is a way of life.”

photoAbout two dozen white tail and mule deer trophies are on display above the freezer cases. Photo by Karen West

Konrad said he hunts on government lands that are equivalent to our Forest Service lands, where the herds are managed and park rangers set the quotas on the number of permits issued.

The Safari Club promotes hunting and conservation by taking care of the animal populations, he said. It also sponsors anti-poaching teams. “Africa, right now, would pretty much be without animals if it wasn’t for Safari Club International.”

“Hunting is a positive thing for all animals because it gives them a value and without it, they’re gone,” Konrad said. “The trophy fee for an elephant can feed a village for a year, plus they get the meat.”

If he gets an elephant permit this year, Hank and Judy Konrad will make what he expects to be their last elephant-hunting trip to Botswana in August. The permits for where he wants to go may be auctioned off to some very wealthy bidders, he said, which could change his plan. That would be a bittersweet decision for a man who has tracked elephants up to 60 miles through the African bush that so strongly calls to him.

3/4/2013

James Woods calls for ‘licensed hunting of poachers’ following Idaho game commissioner controversy

WARNING: Article contains graphic photo.

Oscar-nominated actor James Woods took to Twitter on Monday morning to denounce the practice of trophy hunting, presumably after learning of the controversy surrounding former Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer.

“Honestly some things are just obvious, so please stop selling this nonsense that killing innocent wildlife helps conserve the species. It’s just bull—-,” posted Woods, alongside a link to an article concerning Fischer and his vacation in Africa, during which he claimed to have killed “a whole family of baboons.”

“Killing these glorious creatures is barbaric,” Woods added. “Just stop it.”

BIG-GAME HUNTER AND FORMER BEAUTY QUEEN BLASTED OVER HUNTING COMMENTS

Woods also responded to critics on Twitter who defended conservationists, saying that he was specifically referring to the practice of trophy hunting.

“I eat hamburgers. Somebody does the killing. I’m not going to get holier-than-thou about hunters. If you’re a carnivore, then somebody has to do the killing. But killing for a “trophy” is absurd. What I’d really like to see is the licensed hunting of poachers,” he tweeted.

Woods also called hunting exotic animals on regulated land “vile,” and suggested that sport hunters should hunt each other to create a more “level playing field.”

Woods’ posts came days after news of Fischer’s trip to Africa came to light, along with photos of the animals Fischer and his wife had shot in Namibia, which included a leopard and giraffe, among others.

“First day [my wife] wanted to watch me, and ‘get a feel’ of Africa,” Fischer reportedly recounted in an email to over 100 friends and co-workers following his trip, according to a public records request from the Boise’s KBOI and The Idaho Statesman. “So I shot a whole family of baboons.”

Fischer, who resigned Monday following a request from Idaho Governor Butch Otter, had initially defended his actions, saying nothing he did was “illegal,” “unethical” or “immoral.” He also said he had paid a trophy fee to hunt certain species.

OKLAHOMA MAN FACES CHARGES FOR SHOOTING DEER HOURS BEFORE SEASON STARTED

Still, his actions were met with criticism from former fish and game officials in Idaho who saw the email, with two calling for his resignation and another requesting an apology for what they called unsportsmanlike hunting practices — especially in regards to the family of baboons.

“I’m sure what you did was legal, however, legal does not make it right,” said Frank Trevey, a former Idaho fish and game warden, to Fischer after seeing the email.

Gov. Butch Otter had also reportedly asked for Fischer to resign earlier in the day, the Statesman reported, saying “every member of my administration is expected to exercise good judgment. Commissioner Fischer did not.”

Fischer apologized to Idaho’s hunters and anglers in a resignation letter obtained by the paper.

“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,” he said, in part.

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Fischer was slated to serve a second term as a fish and game commissioner for Idaho, The Washington Post reported.

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed to this article.

Youths aged 16 and older can now join in the moose hunt, which begins this weekend

For the Buckle family of Corner Brook, hunting is a family affair — one that goes back decades.

Matthew Buckle was waddling through snow to bring partridges back to his father almost as soon as he could walk. His wife, Tammy Buckle, also started hunting and fishing as a child, going out as a family with her 16 siblings. [!!]

“All my fondest memories of spending time with my father, it’s always been hunting and fishing,” Matthew Buckle said.

“It’s what I grew up doing. It’s what I love doing.”

Now the couple brings their own three children out hunting as well and this year their daughter Emily, who just started Grade 12, hopes to shoot her first moose.

Emily’s goal is possible this year due to recent changes in hunting regulations in Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most significant changes is the new minimum ages of 16 for big game hunting and 12 for small game hunting, Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne told CBC’s Corner Brook Morning Show on Friday.

Watch out, moose: hunting season starts Saturday. (CBC)

“We’ve taken a number of very deliberate actions to increase access to our outdoor heritage,” Byrne said.

Minimum hunting ages were previously 18 for big game and 16 for small game.

‘I want them to learn what I know’

The reduction in hunting age will give young people more opportunities to spend time in nature, Byrne said.

“One of the big considerations in this was when you provide an opportunity for our young people to get access to the outdoors, to get access to hunting, they learn very, very important skills at an early age,” he said.

“Not only do they learn better safety skills that they retain for a lifetime, but they also retain important conservation principles and values.”

Young hunters have to fulfil the same safety requirements as adults. (Ashley Taylor/Labrador Hunting and Fishing Association )

That’s a key motivation for the Buckles.

“I want them to learn what I know,” said Matthew.

“I want them to learn about nature and the ethics of hunting. I want them to know where our food comes from and how to get clean, organic, free-range meat for your future.”

Those lessons have resonated with daughter Emily, who says she enjoys time spent hunting with her family and values the food from their hunts.

“When you kill something, you get to eat it and you get to know where it comes from,” she said.

The shared experience is a source of pride and enjoyment for the whole family, Matthew said.

“It definitely makes me proud to see my own kids involved in the things that I love to do. It’s so enjoyable just to see them in nature, to see them interacting without their iPhones, without their Xbox.”

Training requirements same for youth and adults

The eligible age for hunting licences has been lowered, but the safety restrictions are just as stringent as they are for adult hunters, Byrne said.

“There will be no 16-year-olds that will be hunting big game without adult supervision,” said Byrne, who said the same is true for small game.

‘There are very, very strict requirements that are in place to be able to receive a licence and participate in the hunt, and safety and training are part of those requirements.”

Eligible hunters of all ages must complete a hunting test for firearm safety and a hunter education program, and the province is offering youth hunter skills workshops a few times a year in different locations around the province. A recent workshop in Deer Lake had about 50 attendees, Byrne said, and another will be held in Happy Valley-Goose Bay this weekend.

There will be no 16-year-olds that will be hunting big game without adult supervision.– Gerry Byrne

Safety is a key consideration for the Buckle family as well, and Tammy is a hunting safety instructor.

“‘When it does come to the firearms component, safety is of the upmost importance to us,” she said.

The couple have worked to instill a respect for and knowledge of hunting safety in their children from a young age, she said, including not just firearms but also rabbit snares and fish hooks.

Emily Buckle completed her firearms safety training before obtaining her first moose licence, and plans to practise before she goes out to hunt herself.

Such experiences, when done safely, are a valuable way to preserve both provincial and family traditions, Byrne said.

“It’s a great experience for a mother and a son, or a father and a daughter, to be out in our Newfoundland and Labrador outdoor heritage to participate in this.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The Corner Brook Morning Show

‘Hunting dog’ abandoned with serious injuries after being hit by car

http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2018-08-29/hunting-dog-abandoned-with-serious-injuries-after-being-hit-by-car/

A dog who was ‘left for dead’ with serious leg injuries is recovering at an RSPCA hospital.

Zach
Zach Credit: RSPCA

Five-year-old Saluki Zach was found with serious injuries on Fambridge Road in Maldon earlier this month.

“Poor Zach was being used for some sort of hunting when he was injured. Salukis and lurcher types are often used for illegal blood sports such as hare coarsing and locals tell us he was being used to chase rabbits and hares across the fields. Unfortunately, Zach seems to have chased something into the road where he was hit – according to witnesses – by a car travelling at around 50mph. He suffered severe leg injuries and his owners left the scene and simply left him for dead. Thankfully, some kind members of the public helped him and contacted us right away so we were able to get him the veterinary attention he needed.”

– CAROLINE ALLEN, RSPCA
Zach
Zach Credit: RSPCA

Zach suffered a broken leg and also had a nasty open wound. He will require surgery although vets hope to save the leg.

“Poor Zach was absolutely terrified and must have been in so much pain, it’s despicable that his owners could see him hurt so seriously in this accident and simply drive away and leave him there in agony.”

– CAROLINE ALLEN, RSPCA
Zach
Zach Credit: RSPCA

Police were also called to the scene after the driver of the car failed to stop following the accident.

Heart in mouth: Moose hunters worry parasite may ruin organ-eating tradition

Some New Brunswick hunters who eat the hearts of moose are wondering if they can keep the tradition alive after finding white spots on some of the organs this year.

“I’ve been hunting moose for 25 years and we always save the heart,” hunter Charles Leblanc wrote on Facebook. “We cook it up at the camp and everybody loves it. Has anyone else seen white spot on their moose heart this year? For us, it’s the first time.”

Leblanc lives in Cocagne but hunted this year near Harcourt.

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Two of the five moose he and his family killed had the white spots, which gave the seasoned hunter a bad feeling.

“Nobody wanted to take a chance and try them,” Leblanc said over the phone Wednesday.

The first infected heart he came across only had a few spots but the second one was full of them.

After his Facebook post, other hunters chimed in with similar experiences.

Tastes like liver

Eating moose heart has been a “treat” Leblanc has enjoyed since he began hunting with his father-in-law in 1993.

“It tastes best when cut thinly and cooked on a barbecue like a slice of steak,” Leblanc said.

“Everybody loves it. It’s basically like liver. It’s less strong than liver. You cut it all up and fry it in butter.”

Leblanc, whose diet depends on moose meat for part of the year, is concerned the white spots on the heart have greater consequences.

“My concern is, is there something wrong with the rest of the meat from that moose? We haven’t talked to the meat cutter yet. He might find those white spots in the meat.”

Parasite is likely

Although several ideas about the abnormalities have floated around online, wildlife pathologist Pierre-Yves Daoust suspects a parasite.

“The first thing that crossed my mind is parasitic larvae,” said the professor at University of Prince Edward Island. “There are number of different parasites that can do that.

“Most of them should not be a concern for human consumption.”

But with only a photo to study, Daoust said it’s hard to determine what parasite got into Leblanc’s moose hearts.

It appears to be at the intermediate stage, Doaust said, and would need the intestines of a carnivore, such as a wolf or a coyote, to mature.

“Most of these parasites could not do this to a human,” he said. “We’re not its final host.”

“Having said that, it would not be advisable for anyone to eat these cysts. But in all those cases, the cyst would be destroyed by proper cooking of the meat.”

Both Dr. Jim Goltz, veterinarian and pathologist for the New Brunswick government, and Bob Bancroft, a wildlife expert, agreed with the diagnosis.

“The structures are likely tapeworm cysts, but I’d need a specimen to be sure,” Goltz wrote in an email Wednesday.

“There are several possibilities here — most are immature stages of three tapeworm species that also infect dogs and wolves,” Bancroft said, also by email.

“These immature stages can be found on the lungs, liver, spleen, heart and kidneys.

“Each cyst has lots of immature tapeworms. I wouldn’t eat that heart and one should be careful to keep entrails away from dogs.”

Extent of infection not known

Daoust said he couldn’t speculate about much else because he hasn’t received many samples from hunters.

“Again, if these are parasitic larvae, they are not uncommon. But I could not tell you if there are 100 moose killed, there is only one affected like this.”

Luckily for Leblanc, Daoust said, there’s hope yet.

“I would not recommend that the entire carcasses be condemned,” he said. “It may not have affected the animal whatsoever.”

Hunters down a dozen wolves

Wyoming hunters were successful tracking down and killing smart, stealthy wolves as the season began Sunday.

A dozen wolves were legally harvested in the first 40 hours of the three-month season. It’s a number that amounts to over a quarter of the total wolves that can be killed in the state’s managed hunt area. Wyoming Game and Fish Department carnivore manager Ken Mills attributed the considerable success to the opener falling on a weekend, winter weather pushing lots of sportsmen into the field, and also a species that may temporarily have lost its fear of mankind.

“Three years have gone by since the last hunting season,” Mills said. “In wolf generation time, it’s getting close to an entire generation of wolves. So there’s almost a whole new generation of wolves out there and they’re naive to human hunters.”

“I think they’ll learn over time,” he said. “I would expect them to adapt relatively quickly.”

Wolf hunters found swift success in Upper Green River country, where they exceeded a three-animal quota by one and triggered the closure of the zone Sunday.

Wolves were also killed Sunday and Monday around Jackson Hole. Game and Fish harvest reports showed one wolf killed in area 8, which encompasses the Leidy Highlands and has a quota of seven animals. A hunter also was successful in area 10 southeast of town, which runs from Cache Creek to past Bondurant.

In its “trophy game management area,” Game and Fish is permitting a total of 44 wolves to be killed in a season that ends Dec. 31.

Technically, there is no statewide limit on the number of wolves that can be hunted in Wyoming. That’s because of an expansive area outside the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem where wolves are managed as a predator that can be killed by any means throughout the year. Some 17 wolves, as of Monday afternoon, had been reported killed in that zone since Wyoming gained jurisdiction over its wolf population this spring.

Wolf hunting opened with a relative bang, judging by the pace of harvest in years past.

The state’s first modern-day wolf hunt dates to 2012, a year hunters managed to kill four animals in the first 40 hours of the season, according to the Jackson Hole News&Guide archives. The next year, 2013, hunters shot three on the opener.

There’s been a wolf hunting hiatus in the Equality State ever since, owing to a 2014 court decision that fell a week before the wolf hunting season would have started. Two and a half years later, a U.S. Court of Appeals’ opinion overturned the ruling.

Game and Fish’s intent for the wolf hunt is to slightly reduce the population, last estimated at 380 statewide. A little over half those animals are believed to reside in the trophy game area that just opened to hunting. Another approximately 50 animals were thought to live in the predator zone. The balance of Wyoming’s wolves — an estimated 117 animals — live in Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation, where hunting is not allowed.

It is wolf hunters’ responsibility, Mills said, to check to make sure the hunt area they set out for is still open. Game and Fish has 12 wolf hunting units, and each closes individually as its quotas are met. Harvest reports are updated “constantly,” he said, and posted online at WGFD.wyo.gov.

Fierce critic of Wyoming grizzly bear hunt scores license

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/fierce-critic-of-wyoming-grizzly-bear-hunt-scores-license/

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A fierce critic of grizzly bear hunting who has made a career photographing the animals has drawn a tag for Wyoming’s first such hunt in 44 years.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Thursday that Tom Mangelsen drew No. 8 on an issuance list that will allow up to 10 grizzly hunters into the field starting Sept. 15. He was up against 3,500 Wyoming residents and 2,327 nonresidents vying for a shot at the tags.

Mangelsen, who credited being chosen to “dumb luck,” was among scores of people from around the country who applied for the tags as a means of civil disobedience intended to slow the hunt. Wildlife managers say the tactic is legal.

The hunt for which Mangelsen’s tag is valid will end after the first female bear is killed. Up to 10 male grizzlies can be killed.

___

Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, http://www.jhnewsandguide.com

Man who shot teen dead in hunting accident 22 years ago loses firearms licence bid

Tuatapere man Brendon Diack ouside the the Invercargill District Court ahead of his unsuccessful bid to get his firearms ...

JOHN HAWKINS/STUFF

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/105296043/Man-who-shot-teen-dead-in-hunting-accident-22-years-ago-loses-firearms-licence-bid

Tuatapere man Brendon Diack ouside the the Invercargill District Court ahead of his unsuccessful bid to get his firearms licence back on Friday.

A Southland man who shot a teenager dead in a hunting accident 22 years ago has lost his bid to get his firearms licence back.

Brendon Diack took police to court in Invercargill on Friday, appealing a 2015 decision to refuse him a firearms licence.

In 1996, Diack admitted to a charge of careless use of a firearm causing 16-year-old Mark Whyte’s death at Tuatapere and was sentenced to two months’ jail and fined $3000.

He also lost his firearms licence at that time.

During Friday’s hearing, Diack said he had applied for his firearms licence “five or six times” since 1996, but to no avail.

A hunter for years before the tragedy, he now wanted to go hunting with his sons and pass on his knowledge, he said.

Judge Mark Callaghan refused Diack’s bid to get his licence back, pointing to the 1996 tragedy and two incidents in 2013 and 2014 to show Diack was not a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence.

In 2013 Diack, who had a $300,000 a year contracting business, hit a man on the chin who owed him $300; and in 2014 he dug up  gravel he had laid for another client because he was owed $500, the judge said.

His actions, 17 years after the fatal shooting, were irrational and violent and showed he had not learned how to control his aggression, the judge said.

Diack was “possibly a risk to others if he had access to firearms”.

“His actions in 2013 and 2014 indicates he can’t control himself properly and in my view he isn’t a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence.”

Earlier in the hearing, Diack said there had been a lot of angst in the community since the 1996 tragedy but he believed a lot of people had moved on except for Mark Whyte’s family.

“Jimmy and Shirley [Mark’s parents] are going to hate me for the rest of my days for what I done to their son, I am sorry about that.”

No-one went hunting with the intention of shooting a person, he said.

When people asked him about the incident he always sat down and talked about it and “believe it or not it still brings a tear to my eye … because it’s tragic.”

Apart from wanting to go hunting with his sons, he also wanted his licence back because it gave him the opportunity to speak with different hunters who were on the same page and he wanted to do trap shooting again, he said.

After the accident he had still gone out with hunters “videoing”, but it wasn’t the same, he said.

His lawyer, John Fraser said Diack was an honest and hard working man who in 1996 made a fatal error with a rifle.

Since that time, Diack had managed a business and had a stable home life, Fraser said.

Diack is the Tuatapere fire station chief which Fraser suggested would not be the case without the support of a large number of firefighters and a significant vetting process.

Fraser said the 2013 and 2014 incidents were minor and out of character for Diack and they did not demonstrate a pattern of  behaviour.

However, police lawyer Sarah McKenzie said the offences in 2013 and 2014 tainted Diack’s character when coupled with the the 1996 fatal shooting.

Southland police area commander inspector Joel Lamb said he had spoken to police officers in Tuatapere and they had expressed concern about the feelings in the community if Diack were to be granted a firearms licence.

Lamb said the major reason police had refused Diack’s application for a firearms application was due to the 1996 shooting.

He didn’t accept the incidents in 2013 and 2014 were minor.

“Incidents involving violence aren’t minor.”

A long-time mate of Diack’s, John Munro, said he did not get the feeling the Tuatapere community was divided over the 1996 shooting.

Diack was a respected member of the community and it was not in his nature to be aggressive, Munro said.

Columnist wants to know what you think about hunting, conservation

The column this week will be a little different – an invitation for readers, especially the hunters and fishers out there, to share your thoughts on a question I have been thinking about since college. It’s a topic that keeps popping up in the media again and again, most noticeably with Cecil the Lion but repeatedly since then as well. So here it is, the question in two parts:

1. Can hunting (or fishing) play a part in wildlife conservation?

2. And should it?

The reason I started thinking about this again was because this past weekend, I read a news article about an American woman, Tess Talley, who traveled to Africa to shoot a giraffe in a trophy hunt. The photo of this woman, standing next to this downed mountain of an animal with her rifle in hand, went viral and received immense amounts of backlash. Initially, some of the uproar was because the giraffe in question had a darker hide than normal and was being called a rare black giraffe. I didn’t research it too heavily, but it seems like the hunted animal’s coat color was largely because of age (with older individuals becoming darker). But that, I think, is beside the point. Once the photo went viral, the hunter would’ve received backlash regardless of the animal’s coat color. It was enough that it was a giraffe, and she killed it.

A few facts: While it’s not legal to hunt giraffes everywhere, this particular hunt was perfectly legal.

Talley and the hunting company she worked with in Africa both say the trophy fee (about $2,000-$3,000) stayed in the local community.

The overall giraffe population in Africa has declined as much as 40 percent since the ’80s and is predicted to keep declining in the future.

In college, I took a course called Ethics of Conservation, which was easily one of my favorite courses. It covered everything from how we think of wildlife and natural areas, to bioprospecting to ecotourism. And, yes, there was a big section on trophy hunting in the middle, too. As with all other topics, my professor was very good at selecting readings and examples that highlighted both sides – those in favor of hunting for conservation and those against. As a result, I have a well-rounded view (I think). I see both arguments.

Responsible hunters are very careful to follow bag limits, quotas and other restrictions that limit them to manageable take. Tess Talley was, all evidence suggests, very careful to select a company in an area of Africa where it was legal to shoot giraffes. She even took an individual that was not, or so she claims, contributing to the breeding population (although I don’t know if there’s solid proof of that). If done correctly, a large part of the trophy money does stay in local communities and provides jobs and a source of income for residents, either as part of the hunting company or working in the mini-lodges and tourist shops that support guest hunters. Theoretically, in an ideal world, this would mean that locals would be less likely to feel inclined to develop wildlife areas or poach game unsustainably. Why go out and shoot all the giraffes yourself for your own subsistence when you can make more money and secure a better livelihood, hosting hunters who shoot maybe one or two at a time? Whether or not the money does contribute to local communities is another question, cases of corruption being common, but that’s the best-case scenario.

Hunters also say they enjoy spending time in nature, they respect the animals they take, and they have a personal and deep connection with the wild areas that still exist. They also often involve their children in the activity – embedding a love for the outdoors in them at a young age. I have a friend who entered the world of conservation biology only because of his childhood hunting experiences, or so he says.

On the other hand, to the nonhunter, it all seems a little contradictory. If you love something, say giraffes, why do you then kill it? Why not just donate the $2,000 dollars directly to one of the many organizations that work to preserve giraffes or giraffe habitat? This question cuts a little more sharply when it’s a known fact that giraffes are indeed declining across the African continent. They aren’t our mallards or wood ducks: they are big, charismatic mammals that are dropping in number and will continue to drop in number in the future. For a lot of the angry people commenting on the photos of the dead giraffe, it is impossible to make the connection between wildlife conservation and the dead animal center frame. They read Tess Talley’s comments about how magnificent a creature the giraffe is and don’t believe her. Again, how can you call something magnificent and mean it, and then put a bullet through it? How can you claim to want to save or conserve something, and then reduce it to meat?

I’m not a hunter myself, and I don’t come from a hunting family. I caught a sunfish once when I was a kid and that’s about the extent of my fishing. We even put it back. But like I said, I can see both sides of the conservation/hunting debate and have no problems with hunting myself. More than that, I am very interested in the questions that situations like this bring up.

If you have an opinion, a perspective, an insight into the world of hunting and conservation, I’d love to hear it. Shoot me a line at eshelly@gcbo.org with your thoughts.

Emma Shelly is the Education and Outreach Manager of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. The GCBO is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the birds and their habitats along the entire Gulf Coast and beyond into their Central and South America wintering grounds.