I’m angry. I’m angry about Jeff Foiles and his utter disregard for all things sacred in the waterfowl world, I’m angry about the judicial system for the lightness of his sentence. I’m angry at the outdoor media industry that built this monster, and many like him. I’m just plain angry this morning.
When the news release hit my inbox about his sentencing in federal court yesterday – the boiling started.
“In accordance with Foiles’ plea agreement filed in June and accepted by the court today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore sentenced Foiles to 13 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release during which time he may not hunt or guide hunters, and to pay a $100,000 fine. As a further term of his plea agreement, Foiles has also agreed to one additional year, following completion of his term of supervised release, during which he will not hunt or guide. Foiles was ordered to self report to begin serving his sentence on November 21, 2011.”
So roughing out the math – Foiles won’t get to hunt or guide for approximately 3 years. THREE YEARS that’s a mere blip on the great radar screen of life. Lest I sound harsh, I’m all about giving people a second chance when they make mistakes. But I can hardly call the years and countless times that Foiles showed utter disregard for the fish and wildlife codes both here and in Canada a mistake.
A mistake is “Oh holy crap I accidentally shot two ducks with that shot and I only have room in my limit for one. Better tell the CPO what I did.”
Gleefully manhandling and making a mockery of a duck in the hand is not a mistake . It’s cruel, childish, and disrespectful. Of all the charges leveled against Foiles- and many of them made my stomach hurt – this one was the one that sent me over the top.
From a QMI Agency Report
The unlawful hunting activities of Jeffery Burdett Foiles—captured on video while in Alberta and Saskatchewan—included him calling the wounded birds by names and hamming it up on camera by talking to them, quacking, hitting and slapping them and wrenching their necks.
“The duck would have been experiencing distress and pain,” said prosecutor Michelle Ferguson, referring to one incident where Foiles “wrenches” a duck’s neck so the bird is looking at him and says, “Look at me when I’m talking to you,” while wagging the neck back and forth.
Ferguson also cited another incident where Foiles bangs the beak of a duck with a live shotgun shell, roughly manipulates the duck’s head and then places his fingers over the nostrils of the duck and holds its beak closed.
He then asks the duck: “Is this how you want to die?”
... During the hunts, Foiles would address the birds by names, including “Mr. Honker” and “Mrs. Mallard,” and he would not immediately dispatch wounded fowl.
He also once held a wounded Canada Goose—brought to him by his dog 24 minutes after he shot it—up for the camera and rubbed its head against his own cheek before eventually breaking its neck. “
In what parallel universe is this acceptable to any other hunter or sportsman or human? We honor the animals we kill. We thank Mother Nature, the good earth, and the heavens above for providing us with opportunities to feed our families and our souls. We DO NOT torture, tease and ham it up.
To a point I blame the outdoor media industry for turning hunting into entertainment. Where are the shows and stories that show the stomach twisting agony of a non fatal wound that makes a long track necessary and the eventual inability to recover the animal? Where are the shows that show the friendship and camaraderie of goose pit on a cold icy morning when the geese don’t fly, and no shots are fired, but everyone still enjoys the morning outdoors with their friends and dogs?
Sadly – carnage sells – and that distresses me. What are we teaching our newcomers, our young people? That it’s always about the kill, the biggest trophy, the most birds, and the most exotic and sought after location?
Where are the stories about the multitude of conservation programs, youth programs, women in the outdoors programs? It’s high time we as consumers, viewers, buyers of sponsors products let the outdoor media industry know that we are appalled.
We as a community of ethical, moral, sportsmen who strive to keep the tradition of hunting in all its finest aspects alive, must make our voices heard.
Hunting does not necessarily equal killing. Fish and game laws are there for a purpose – to protect the very creatures that we so enjoy stalking, catching, hunting, and eating. They are part of insuring that those same creatures and same hunting opportunities will be there for generations to come.
We must stop idolizing the “celebrity” hunters and turning our heads when they commit less than scrupulous acts. Especially when those acts are committed in the quest for “better footage” “better coverage”; better entertainment.
Animal cruelty is never entertaining. A successful hunt that stresses safety, responsibility, adherence to the game laws, fellowship and friendship with other hunters while may not be considered as exciting as huge trophies, lots of bands on the birds and lanyards, it paints a much truer picture of who we as hunters are today. As for me- I’d much rather watch a young girls first day in the goose pit with her family and see the excitement in her eyes as she experiences it all for the first time than kill shot , after kill shot feathers flying and birds dying.
I say given the sheer number and nature of Foiles charges he should never be allowed to own a firearm, hunt or guide again. He has blackened the eyes of hunters everywhere with his arrogant disregard for the creatures, the laws, and humanity.
But that’s just me. What do YOU think?