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Gretchen
GRETCHEN
STEELE

Through the Lens

I’m Angry!

Thu, September 22, 2011

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?

 

Comments

Booyah! That’s what I think. Just because someone has been on TV doesn’t mean he (or she) deserves preferential treatment. Gods failed all the time in Greek mythology. And, they got punished. Harshly. Is the judge a duck hunter?

Posted by Womensoutdoornews on September 22

I’m so angry I could chew nails.  I’ve already vented on Jeff’s first blog that was a recap of his sentencing.  This idiot was also caught in a city park lopping the heads off geese so that he can add bands to his lanyard.  Real peice of trash this guy is.  And I agree G, this was a slap on the wrist.  The real punishment will be for hunters to not buy his videos or calls.  This will be the true test, will sportsmanship triumph over celebrity.

Posted by buckbull on September 22

I have too agree with you all,,If this was one of us we would be doing 5-7 and no future waterfowl hunting, All my foiles calls went into the fireplace…..And he will be back at it in 3 yrs??????WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!!

Posted by WhitetailFreak on September 22

Got off easy, but this is just another case where law enforcement or CPO does their job, but the judge just doesn’t get it. Hopefully we will see better justice from Canada on the charges from up there than here.

Posted by berlin on September 22

The damage this buffoon has done to the image of the outdoorsman/woman is astronomical.  You can bet that animal rights groups are drooling, waiting to get their hands on a copy of foiles in action.  I fear we will be seeing this jerks face on HSUS and Peta infomercials for decades.
The really sad thing is that he was marketing mainly to the impressionable, young hunters.  In his decade long reign as a top call maker and video producer, how many youngsters have grown into their 20 and beyond thinking that his behavior is A-OK?  Hopefully, they will see the light.

Posted by riverrat47 on September 22

I don’t think he should be able to gain a proffit of hunting again

Posted by Flatlander on September 22

Keep hoping Carp..Keep hoping..somedays it feels like HOPE is we have when it comes to our hunting /angling traditions smile

Posted by G on September 22

oops - HOPE is ALL we have…

Posted by G on September 22

All I know is that in my area, the locals would have made sure he was eatting through straw for a couple of months regardless of so called celebrity status.

Posted by mountain man on September 22

BIG THUMBS UP GRETCHEN, GRRRRR. He should be banned for life ! Karma ;/ maybe he will get eaten by a bear or better yet attacked by thousands a birds & get his eyes pecked out. sorry, just had to vent.

Posted by Barb on September 22

“this is just another case where law enforcement or CPO does their job, but the judge just doesn’t get it”
Sort of.  Actually, since this was a plea agreement, it was the prosecutor rather than the judge.
All of the descriptions of animal cruelty I’ve read have mentioned taking place in Canada, so I suspect the Canadians are going to come down a lot harder.

Posted by Murdy on September 22

Gretchen, first this was a great piece of writing and maybe one of the best ive read.  I never have finished an article on goose hunting so this was a first.  I kinda agree with you.  No one hates idiots in the outdoors more than i do.  But prison time for outdoor violations is a hell of a start.  One that i wish was much more common so i am happy with that.  Its been very rare when a TV hunter has even received a ticket granted for lesser charges.  I will make two predictions here.  Combined with the canada charges, Foiles will be out of hunting for the next 5 to 7 years.  And second, foiles will then continue to make videos and guide and make more money from hunting in his second chance than most of us will ever see in our life.  Its sad but killing sells.  To a smaller degree, ive seen many of the top tv hunters take horrible head on shots and whitetails, shots that are well under 50/50 odds on making a clean kill. WHat amazes me is that THEY get paid for this…

Posted by clintharvey on September 22

Murdy-  judge has to approve a plea. He’s just as wrong as the prosecutor.

Posted by jcurri on September 22

Well stated and well written

Posted by The Colonel on September 22

Thank you all for sharing thoughts - and Clint I am thank you so much for your kind words. I have a friend that tells my best writing comes out when I have an ahem.. bee in my bonnet LOL
It gives me great pleasure to read everyone’s comments and to see that our Heartland readers and community are the true sportsmen and women who understand how important it is to be safe, responsible, ethical hunters.
Hats off to Heartland folks - I knew all along what corner you guys and gals were in!

Posted by G on September 22

Personally I think this guy is sick and he makes me sick. As far as punishment goes, just because he talks to a duck on video before he wrings it’s neck makes him no worse different the guy who wrings a ducks neck to kill it without saying a word. Hunting is a nasty sport at times, we all know it. I have to agree with Clint that these guys on TV that can’t shoot, and are terrible hunters, and take terrible shot on deer are as bad or worse than this guy. They (for the most part) are a joke, and truth be known ,terrible representatives of our sport. This guy just got caught on video doing the type of things your average poor hunter does every day, like it or not. (And I doubt anyone who goes to the trouble to get on this wevsite falls into this category)

Posted by yellowstone on September 22

I cancelled my subscription to the Outdoor Life Network years ago…..Some of the stuff they put out on DVD or on tv is disgraceful…and I see it carrying over in the outdoors….I sure miss old Virgil Ward…..and….Fred Trost!!!!

Posted by Rick_Miller on September 22

G, I wrote an article and submitted it to some of the major magazines regarding how far off base the hunting community has gotten. Usually I have no problem selling articles to the bigger magazines but only one magazine, Deer and Deer Hunting was interested in it. Even then, they want to schedule it back a year or two. I was thinking about posting it here on H.O. (and still can since I wasn’t paid for it yet) but wasn’t sure how it would fly. You know, it’s tough criticizing the very community you work in and sometimes can have a negative effect! Anyway, glad you got this off your chest because the younger readers need to know that we are also role models, even though we aren’t always on TV. Great read!

Posted by Marc Anthony on September 22

Marc -
Truthfully, I am not surprised by your experience. I know I’m steeping on some toes, but some times you just have to stand up for what in your heart you know is right, and Katie bar the door.

Posted by G on September 22

Rick,
I miss Curt Gowdy and the American Sportsman.

Posted by riverrat47 on September 22

A true piece of trash.  I threw my “Strait Meat” goose call in the garbage rather than sell it and continue to perpetuate the guy’s name.  He is a disgrace and has hurt the true sportsman’s image immeasurably.

Posted by shotgun71 on September 23

Wasn’t Curt Gowdy a treat! smile

Posted by G on September 23

Well said, Gretchen.  It’s disgusting to think that this is one of the public faces of hunting.  And when he gets out, it is our DUTY to spread the word against supporting him.  He can’t make money if nobody buys his stuff.

I particularly like your mention about sitting a goose pit when no birds fly-I’ve got lots of good memories.  And those are great learning times for a novice hunter.  I’ve spent many hours with empty skys picking the brains of the guys who got me into waterfowling learning more.  I’ve only been hunting ducks and geese for 6 years-but they’ve got 15-25 years of experience.  And one of the best days I ever had afield was on a preserve pheasant hunt with a couple friends.  The husband hadn’t upland hunted in 10 years and his wife never had.  I didn’t even carry a gun, just handled my dog and it was amazing.  The look on her face when she shot that first rooster was priceless. 

There is a reason what we do is called hunting, not KILLING.

Posted by FlintlockShooter on September 23

Let’s just hope Jeffy’s cell mate had a pet duck when he was a boy and a strange fetish for duck calls.  “Straight Meat”

Posted by Andy Meador on September 27

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