Idaho Fish and Game commissioner Blake Fischer found himself in the midst of a social media firestorm after images of the baboon family he killed during a hunt in Africa became public, according to The Washington Post.
The issue came to light after Fischer sent photos of his hunt to friends and colleagues, bragging about the baboon family kill, along with a leopard, giraffe, impala and waterbuck.
> Squatting amid loose red dirt and rocks, Blake Fischer posed for a picture, a triumphant grin stretching across his face. Arranged in front of him, resembling a macabre family picture, are the bodies of four baboons. The smallest one’s head is lolled back, its mouth slightly agape. Crimson blood stains its abdomen. A quiver of arrows is in the foreground.
> “Fellas,” Fischer wrote in the Sept. 17 email, according to the Idaho State Journal, “I have been back for a week, but have been hunting and trying to get caught up. Anyways, my wife and I went to Namibia for a week . . . first she wanted to watch me and ‘get a feel’ of Africa . . . so I shot a whole family of baboons. I think she got the idea quick.”
Several recipients of the email — some of whom are former Fish and Game commissioners themselves — were concerned by it:
> “They killed a whole family, including small baboons, and I think that’s revolting,” former commissioner Keith Stonebraker told the Statesman. “… It just puts a bad light on us.”
The Post said at least three former commissioners called on Fischer to resign, and one — Fred Trevey, who served as a commissioner for eight years — laid out his case in a lengthy email, urging Fischer to “take responsibility and resign, sooner rather than later.”
> “My reaction to the photo and accompanying text of you smiling and holding a ‘family’ of primates you killed, dismays and disappoints me,” Trevey wrote. “I have a difficult time understanding how a person privileged to be an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner can view such an action as sportsmanlike and an example to others.”
> Though it is legal to hunt baboons in Africa, Trevey wrote “legal does not make it right.” According to the Idaho State Journal, Trevey’s email included a reference to a hunting manual endorsed by the state’s Department of Fish and Game, which states that hunters should “refrain from taking photographs of the kill and from vividly describing the kill within earshot of non-hunters.”
> “Your poor judgement has unnecessarily put the institution’s credibility, and hunting in general, at risk in a blink of an eye,” he wrote.
For his part, Fischer believes he did nothing wrong, though he did apologize for emailing the photo to people.
> “I didn’t do anything illegal,” he said. “I didn’t do anything unethical. I didn’t do anything immoral. … I look at the way Idaho’s Fish and Game statute says we’re supposed to manage all animals for Idaho, and any surplus of animals we have we manage through hunting, fishing and trapping. Africa does the same thing.”
Fischer said he received a list of animals that could be hunted, some of which required a trophy fee, according to the Statesman. “Baboons are free,” Fischer said.
Fish and Game commissioners are appointed by the governor, but Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R) has yet to speak publicly to the issue
> Jon Hanian, a spokesman for the governor’s office, told the Statesman that Otter is aware of the email.
> “It’s fair to say the governor is concerned about it,” Hanian said, adding that Otter has seen the pictures. “We’re looking into it.”