An Idaho Fish and Game commissioner posted photos from his hunting trip in Africa recently, and those photos have stirred up a hornet’s nest. It’s not the anti-hunting crowd that’s criticizing the commissioner, though – it’s hunters and his fellow Fish and Game commissioners.
At issue is the first few pictures commissioner Blake Fischer sent to more than 100 people after his African safari. The pictures at the top of the list were of a family of baboons. Fischer wrote that his wife, who was with him, wanted to watch him hunt the first day, since he’d been to Africa before and it was her first time. He commented that he killed the whole baboon family, and his wife “got the idea real quick.”
Fischer didn’t do anything illegal. Baboons are overpopulated where he was hunting, and their numbers need to be thinned. But the pictures struck a nerve with many of his fellow Fish and Game commissioners, as well as with hunters in general. The photos are a crass display of carnage, featuring a bloody baby baboon laying on its mother’s lap, with a smiling Fischer kneeling above them.
Former commissioner Keith Carlson immediately wrote an email to Fischer, saying Fischer was guilty of bad judgement in posting the photos. He said, “I don’t know how you can say anything good about a photo of a guy smiling with a stack of dead baboons with a baby in front. If you’re an anti-hunter, that’s raw meat.”
And Carlson is right. Hunting is a vital tool for wildlife conservation, but if we as hunters anger the non-hunting population, which already misunderstands hunting, we run the risk of the tide of public sentiment washing our hunting heritage away. For the sake of hunting and the animals we hunt, please keep your posts about hunting respectful.