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August 30, 2007

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Plea Reached in North Dakota’s Largest Poaching Case

The owners of North Dakota’s Sheyenne Valley Lodge, along with seven guides and 94 hunters, are charged with a host of federal game violations primarily related to chronically shooting well over the legal limit of upland birds and waterfowl. According to their plea agreements, lodge operators Theodore Mertz and Orlan Mertz will each get 18 months probation and loss of hunting privileges in North America for 18 months. Together, they will pay an total of $90,000 in fines and restitution and never again guide or outfit hunters in the US. Read the full story here.

Comments

Dylan

This is horrible. I am embarrassed to say this episode occurred somewhat close to my neck of the prairie. It is an embarrassment to the people of the Dakota's, and hunters in general. I pride myself and our hunter's on sportsmanship, ethics, and conservation. I also expect the people who come to the Dakota's from out of state to conduct themsleves in the same manner. Overharvesting is bad enough, but wasting is out of the question. Wildlife are not clay pigeons. If you are not going to eat it or utilize it don't shoot it. I hope that nobody out there thinks that the general population of hunters are in anyway like this. Don't let the occassional parade of idiots give you the wrong impression. As for the wildlife, I'm sorry their lives were wasted for selfish, greedy people's entertainment. As much as this situation bothers me I'm glad that the people responsible at least admitted to their actions. This can be a replacement for jail time. I think the fines should go to habitat improvements and other wildlife supporting activities. There should be communtiy service done in the form of working in wildlife refuges or state/federal parks in attempt to do some good for wildlife. As for the hunting privileges I don'tthink they should ever be allowed to hunt again. They obviously don't have the respect for the wildlife that I and other hunters share.

suburban bushwacker

Hunt for the pot or hunt NOT.
These guys are a disgrace.
follow the link to the local paper the locals aint happy.

mot

jail time should be mandatory

NEK VT

Jail should be mandatory, every bird overe the limit should be looked at as a state / fedral theft.

Matt Mallery

I know someone who was pheasant hunting up there and saw some other shooter (I won't call them hunters) who were shooting red tailde hawks to "protect" the pheasant population. He was disgusted by what he saw.

I personally don't care about pheasants. They are a native to Asia and not North America. They should be eraditcated to make room for native species of wildlife. All the money that goes into pheasant management could be directed to restoring prarie dogs, bison, and wolves.

Dylan

I agree with you all that these people acted with the uttmost disrespect for the wildlife and for the law. Jail time is definitely deserved. Although, all too often people are sent to jail, and nothing has been solved. Do you want to pay (with your hard earned tax dollars) to feed them, give them cable tv, and put a roof over their heads for the next five years while they sit in prison. The prisons are already way too overcrowded. In fact I have seen felons that sat for five years and never changed one bit when they got out. There isn't alot that some good hard, productive, supervised, labor can't fix. Make them clean parks, band waterfowl, take classes on the importance wildlife, build fences, chop wood, and whatever else. Have them do this from sun up to sun down for the next five years. This will show them the amount of work that goes into protecting the animals that they poached, and also show them how awesome the animals are that they disrespected. Don't pay them. Room and board only. Take their hunting privileges away permenantly, and I'll bet you'd see some changed individuals after five years of that.

Matt, I don't know if you were insinuating that people in the Dakota's are all about shooting raptors to protect pheasants. This is not true at all. I do agree that more needs to be done to help the native species, and take some focus off of the pheasants. The fact of the matter is that all the land (all of the U.S.) is filled with non-native species. This includes plants, mammals, fish, insects, etc. Some of these non-native species are much more noxious than other species. The pheasants do take up alot of habitat, but they aren't what I would consider noxious. In fact on our ranch we have a large number of both pheasants and sharpies. If anything the pheasants take a large portion of the pressure from predators off of the grouse. Sharpies (being native) blend in with their surroundings better than pheasants do. They also do much better on the open prairie than pheasants do. North America isn't the perfect untarnished natural environment that it once was. I don't know if its possible to make it what it used to be again. I do know that South Dakota's economy is now very reliant on pheasants, and alot of dollars come from the licences, and these dollars go to protecting habitat. Pheasants are an awesome animal, and they are very fun to hunt. Are you a Native American Indian? If you are not you are just as foreign as the pheasant. It's just the way it is. I didn't mean to bash. I just want to inform. I agree with you that helping native species is important, and the key is finding a balance.

Dylan

I agree with you all that these people acted with the uttmost disrespect for the wildlife and for the law. Jail time is definitely deserved. Although, all too often people are sent to jail, and nothing has been solved. Do you want to pay (with your hard earned tax dollars) to feed them, give them cable tv, and put a roof over their heads for the next five years while they sit in prison. The prisons are already way too overcrowded. In fact I have seen felons that sat for five years and never changed one bit when they got out. There isn't alot that some good hard, productive, supervised, labor can't fix. Make them clean parks, band waterfowl, take classes on the importance wildlife, build fences, chop wood, and whatever else. Have them do this from sun up to sun down for the next five years. This will show them the amount of work that goes into protecting the animals that they poached, and also show them how awesome the animals are that they disrespected. Don't pay them. Room and board only. Take their hunting privileges away permenantly, and I'll bet you'd see some changed individuals after five years of that.

Matt, I don't know if you were insinuating that people in the Dakota's are all about shooting raptors to protect pheasants. This is not true at all. I do agree that more needs to be done to help the native species, and take some focus off of the pheasants. The fact of the matter is that all the land (all of the U.S.) is filled with non-native species. This includes plants, mammals, fish, insects, etc. Some of these non-native species are much more noxious than other species. The pheasants do take up alot of habitat, but they aren't what I would consider noxious. In fact on our ranch we have a large number of both pheasants and sharpies. If anything the pheasants take a large portion of the pressure from predators off of the grouse. Sharpies (being native) blend in with their surroundings better than pheasants do. They also do much better on the open prairie than pheasants do. North America isn't the perfect untarnished natural environment that it once was. I don't know if its possible to make it what it used to be again. I do know that South Dakota's economy is now very reliant on pheasants, and alot of dollars come from the licences, and these dollars go to protecting habitat. Pheasants are an awesome animal, and they are very fun to hunt. Are you a Native American Indian? If you are not you are just as foreign as the pheasant. It's just the way it is. I didn't mean to bash. I just want to inform. I agree with you that helping native species is important, and the key is finding a balance.

Matt Mallery

Dylan,

I was not implying that all South Dakota hunters are poachers. There are bad apples in every state.

As far as invasive species, I don't think we should introduce animals just to hunt them. Indians were content to hunt native animals for thousands of years. We should we be as well. Also, I'm not an Indian, but I don't think it's right the way we have altered the ecosystem like we have. We have Oryx in New Mexico. Why? That money could go to restoring native species. Invasive species are a national and global problem and just because they contribute to the economy is not justification. If the U.S. Great Plains underwent a little restoration, the economic benefits could be huge. The plains used to crawl with bear, wolves, antelope, and bison. Bring that back and hunters and wildife watchers will come from all over the world.

Dylan

Matt,
I agree with you. Native species only is the best way to go, but we have already altered the ecosystems for so long that many native species are now dependant on non native species for survival. There used to be a perfect balance between plants, animals, and humans. All the native species worked best together, and thats why they were there in the first place. I have thought about this issue many times. I can't seem to find a solution where people wouldn't lose there livelihood, and the agricultural industry wouldn't collapse. This is because of course many businesses are now dependant on pheasant season, and there are now too many people to feed without agricultural. I know there would be some money generated from restoration of native species, but in order to restore native species there would have to be extreme habitat alterations to get things back to normal. If you have the perfect solution to this problem I'd like to hear it because I can't seem come up with one.

Tommy

Once again.
Hell yeah Matt.
Couldn't say it better myself.

Tommy

I do however, retain my right to raise my snakes. Snakes I would never release. They are too valuable and productive.

But I believe introducing any animal to hunt and make money is wrong. Unless it was native and is being re-introduced.




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