Dumbest Poacher Awards
After months of investigations regarding the discovery of 10 headless buck carcasses in the Okanogan area, state wildlife officers finally busted the responsible party, which they say is a group of related individuals all working together to spotlight and poach trophy deer.
You could say they forgot to use their heads, the success then went to their heads, they lost their heads and now heads are gonna roll. So many head jokes, so little time.
“This was a poaching ring, and spree killing,” wildlife supervisor Jim Brown told the Wenatchee World. “All of the suspects in this case know each other. They’re interrelated, and doing this together, or as part of a common scheme.”
Wildlife officers executed search warrants last week and found the heads all stacked neatly in a pile. So far a 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the case, while more arrests are likely on the way. State officials began investigating the poaching ring last November after multiple residents reported headless deer carcasses left to rot.
The biggest travesty of all became apparent when wildlife officers loaded up the trophy deer heads in a public parking lot. Local residents stopped to take a look at the trophies they could have hunted legally if not for the ring of headless criminals. While the impact of losing 10 trophy bucks from the local gene pool can’t be easily repaid, the poachers face a $6,000 fine for each buck they killed.
Sticking with the head-related theme these headless idiots left us with, we’re presenting them with the “Off With Your Head” Award, because they clearly don’t have any use for them.
There are no stupid questions. We’ve all probably heard your mother utter this phrase at some point.
Unfortunately, it seems that Donald Ward might have just proved your mom wrong.
Ward, of Brownsburg, Ind., recently plead guilty to three misdemeanor counts for poaching a 10-point buck from the road. Not only did he poach the massive buck from the road at night and out of season, Ward also used a .270, which is not permitted even during rifle season.
When finally confronted by Indiana Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Jeff Wells after his arrest, Ward asked the now infamous question: “If I admit I killed it, can I keep the rack?”
No, genius, you do not get to keep the rack. Ward also told the Indianapolis Star in an interview after his arrest that he was so overcome by the size of the deer he couldn’t stop himself from shooting it.
The sad thing is that the state offered a plea bargain erasing any jail time or felony charges, reducing the sentence to 178 days of probation and 80 hours of community service. There ought to be a felony charge just for asking a question that stupid.
Despite what we’ve been told, there are stupid questions because there are stupid people. For helping us see this truth yet again, we at Petersen’s not-so-proudly present Ward with the “Stupid Question of the Year” Award.
Behind hurting or killing yourself or a hunting partner and breaking game laws, wounding an animal instead of making a clean kill should be one of hunters’ top concerns. After all, we want to be as humane as possible when we take the life of an animal.
And if, God forbid, that happens, the goal is then to make a kill as quickly as possible and end the animal’s suffering.
That notion apparently never entered the minds of Scott Lee and Nai Saechao. According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office received multiple calls about a tan Toyota SUV driving down the road with blood dripping out the back. When the callers tried to get a look at the duo, the truck would speed off. Talk about drawing suspicion.
Understandably concerned, deputies quickly tracked the vehicle down and discovered a deer carcass flooding the back with blood. An investigation revealed that Lee, 46, and Saechao, 32, had shot the buck from the road, then loaded it into the back of their vehicle when it collapsed.
In a scene straight from the Chris Farley classic Tommy Boy, the deer apparently regained consciousness as the numbskulls drove off. Since there were still more laws to break that night, one of them allegedly climbed back there to take the deer down Psycho style, stabbing the deer to death and resulting in a river of blood flowing out of the car.
For being so idiotic that you not only shot a deer from the road, but stabbed it to death in your car–and for not letting the buck destroy your car like David Spade’s, like you deserved–we here at Petersen’s Hunting award Lee and Saechao the prestigious Holy Schnikes! Award.
For the rest of us sane folk, enjoy this classic bit of comedy gold:
After successfully poaching the first elk and sneaking it out of a no-hunting area near East Pierce County at 1 a.m., the men returned nine days later for their second “trophy” elk, according to KIRO-TV. It was at that point that state fish and wildlife officials busted the two men, who were again trying to sneak the second elk out of the restricted area, this time at 2 a.m.
According to wildlife officials, they carried out a search warrant at the home of one of the men, where they confiscated several illegally poached birds of prey and portions of the elk remains. They were also forced to turn over all their hunting gear, elk racks and meat, spend some time in jail, and could possibly pay up to $1,000 in fines. Until recently, Washington simply fined trespassing poachers $250 and let them keep their animals.
First of all, the state of Washington was kind of asking for it by not enforcing stricter laws for trespassing. We still can’t figure out why the penalties there are still so lenient. But second, and more important, are you really dumb enough to poach one trophy elk, and then return a week later to pick up the remains of a second? And you thought no one would notice? For that alone we’re passing along the “Manifold Morons” Award.
For 76-year-old Joe Norbert Hendricks, a 38-year veteran hunting guide from Alaska, that irony is ringing in his ears to the tune of $125,000. Of all the names he could have chosen, Hendricks owned and operated Fair Chase Hunts, which has been anything but.
Hendricks pleaded guilty to 16 counts of illegal big game hunting, all of which took place in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He was ordered to pay damages and to forfeit participation in anything hunting related for five years. Though legally permitted to hunt in the area by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Hendricks admitted to illegally lending his land to other guides in exchange for money, as well as doctoring the horns of sheep his clients shot and hiding the bodies of other illegally killed game.
Fair Chase? We think not. Illegal chase. Unethical chase. But not fair chase.
And then there’s that one little time where he kinda sorta shot an undersized Caribou, told his employees to hide the body, and then completed a form shortly thereafter saying he didn’t even hunt Caribou. Not what we typically think of as “fair.”
Dear father time, former master poaching guide: “Fair Chase” probably wasn’t the best choice for your brand, as it isn’t exactly internally consistent with your mission statement. Out of the generosity of our hearts, we at Petersen’s Hunting want to offer you a simple two-step recovery program.
Step one, when you feel inclined to poach again, go ahead and find your fist and punch yourself in the throat. Rinse and repeat. Step two, when you suddenly get the urge to name anything next time—your dog, a truck, a pet rock—we recommend an outside opinion from an authorized third party. The first part of recovery is admitting you’ve got a problem.
And finally, Mr. Hendricks, we cap things off by naming you the non-meritorious winner of our “Captain of Irony” Award.
We’ve seen a lot of bizarre stories come across our screens, but this tall tale from Texas has to rank among the strangest.
According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, a Red River County game warden and two Bowie County deputies received a tip about a possible road hunting incident near a residence.
Apparently, a couple outside their home heard gunshots, and the husband — drunk as a skunk — hopped in his truck to track the shooters down. When he did, he began firing upon their vehicle with a handgun. Of course, the “hunters” called 911 to report they were being shot at, but when they were contacted by game wardens, they denied having a part in any illegal hunting.
However, believing their 911 call had been dropped (it hadn’t), operators heard the poachers say mind-numbingly stupid things like, “Hide the gun in them woods,” and, “Not that far, we’re gonna come back and get it tonight.” Morons.
After being confronted with the recording of their admitted crime, the trio each made statements about several burglaries they had committed, and also confessed to killing an 8-point buck last August, trespassing on the land and leaving the animal to rot. Sickening.
While 24 charges were piled on the three poachers, the trigger-happy, vigilante land-owner was charged with DWI and deadly conduct.
Granted, the landowner should probably put the bottle down next time he decides to play outlaw superhero and chase down criminals, but since this is “Dumbest Poacher Awards” and not “Dumbest Landowners,” for blurting out your crime for everyone to hear like some cheesy Hollywood villain, we at Petersen’s Hunting award this trio of trespassers the prestigious “Is This Still On?” Award.
Every kid makes stupid mistakes; that’s just part of growing up. It’s what we choose to do after making those mistakes as kids that determines how we’ll turn out. If we learn from those mistakes and correct our own errors, then we’re heading down the right path.
But if you choose to take life advice from 19-year-old Colton Lapp, you might as well just burn your hunting license and camo, then hand your bows, rifles and shotguns over to whoever will take them.
According to the Northern Wyoming Daily News, Lapp received 18- to 24-month prison sentences and forfeited his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for life after he was convicted of three felony counts of taking antlered deer out of season, the first felony poaching case in Wyoming history.
This all comes after Lapp was convicted of two similar charges in 2010 — including illegally killing a 210-inch muley — for which he was placed on probation.
Tsk-tsk, Colton. Not only did you get caught poaching, but you didn’t learn and got caught again. For not learning from his mistakes and forfeiting his outdoor privileges, we at Petersen’s Hunting award young Mr. Lapp with the prestigious “And Stay Out!” Award.
Generally speaking, we have no qualms with our local law enforcement agencies. After all, they’re the ones who ultimately publicly humiliate moronic poachers, making this wonderful feature possible.
But just because someone wears the badge doesn’t make him above the law, and when two officers are caught committing a crime, we expect them to face the penalties just the same as anyone else.
Take these two coppers from South Africa, who were caught red-handed by a farmer while poaching a pregnant bushbuck in the wee morning hours of June 23 near Shelly Beach on the South Coast. The officers, driving a police vehicle and using a police-issued rifle, fired three shots at the doe around 3 a.m., awakening a farmer, who then followed the van driven by one of the cops; the other had been left behind and actually walked to a nearby plantation.
The two were arrested and charged with hunting a wild animal without a permit.
For having the audacity to use official police equipment to poach wild game — pregnant wild game, at that — we at Petersen’s Hunting award these two flatfoots the prestigious Protect & Serve Award.
Here’s some advice for all you aspiring filmmakers out there: If you want to actually kill a deer in your latest cinematic endeavor, you’d better have the license to do it.
That’s what the minds behind the indie film First Winter found out after killing two deer on camera. Apparently, the moviemakers intended to kill only one deer for their film about a group of Brooklyn hipsters surviving an upstate New York winter, but the bullet passed through the targeted doe, killing another deer standing next to it.
Adding to the list of what-the-hell-were-you-thinkingery is the fact that the filmmakers apparently had no idea you couldn’t just walk out into the woods and shoot a couple deer, resulting in actor Paul Manza being charged with shooting both deer without a license — and out of season.
“We are idiots. We didn’t know how to do this [hunting] stuff,” director Ben Dickinson told DNAinfo.com.
No shit, Sherlock. Maybe you’re just too cool for filling out proper registration, or maybe you’re just plain stupid; at any rate, we at Petersen’s Hunting award the makers of First Winter with the prestigious Hipster Douchebag Award.
We hate poachers; that’s no secret. But we especially hate poachers who try to claim longtime records with their illegal kills.
That’s what David V. Kent tried to do back in January when he entered his 14-point buck in the Monster Buck Classic in Topeka, Kan., presented by Mossy Oak.
Scoring an unofficial 198 7/8 on the Boone & Crockett system, the antlers were the largest entered in the event, but were disqualified when Kent admitted wrongdoing to state officials, who compared Kent’s claim to a trailcam image taken in October of the same buck. Had the deer been taken legally, the antlers would have beaten a 35-year-old record set by Dennis Finger, who shot a buck scoring 198 2/8 in 1974 in Nemaha County.
For cheating in an effort to break a longstanding, honorable record, we at Petersen’s Hunting award Kent with the prestigious Barry Bonds Award*.
We see a lot of dumb poachers in the news, and each and every one of them provides a good laugh over our morning whiskey, and also validates our own existence, making us feel much better about ourselves.
So imagine how good we felt about ourselves after reading about this loser. Photographer Charlie Long snapped some photos of this Elmer Fudd wannabe helping himself to a few snow geese at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Smyrna, Del., one of the top gatherings for snowies in the country.
Apparently, this bumbling burglar thought he was perfectly within his rights to just cap a few geese with his trusty shotgun from the side of the road. After Long and a few other witnesses apprehended this moron, Cpl. Julie Jones with the Delaware Division of Natural Resources informed the poacher that he was waaaaay in the wrong. As Long told our sister magazine, Wildfowl, “He plead ignorance. She said, ‘This is a federal refuge and you are in possession of lead shot, shooting from a roadway and have no hunting license, and are in illegal possession of waterfowl without stamps and have unlawfully discharged a weapon inside a federal refuge.’”
For being in the frame of mind to think it’s OK to just illegally pop a few geese in broad daylight on a busy road, we at Petersen’s Hunting award this camera friendly goose killer the prestigious Gotcha! Award.
In this high-tech digital age, we’re taught to be careful about what we post on sites like Facebook. Potential employers may not find the humor in that photo of drunk, shirtless you wreaking havoc on the streets of south-side Chicago during the St. Patrick’s Day parade a few years ago. You know the one we’re talking about.
Be that as it may, some just can’t help but jump at the opportunity to publicly humiliate themselves via social media. Take Darin Lee Waldo, a Davenport, Fla., native who openly bragged on Facebook about how he illegally killed several whitetails. This moron even extended invitations to illegal hunts to undercover wildlife agents who had messaged him through the social networking site.
To top it all off, Waldo is a convicted felon who shouldn’t have even possessed firearms in the first place. The Aristocrats!
For posting anything and everything without thinking like some brain-dead teenager, we at Petersen’s Hunting award Waldo with the prestigious Social Media Slut Award.