Stories from the field
Reality-TV’s Billy Buspice Loses Hunting Privileges until 2019 for Poaching
Billy Buspice, co-host of the reality-TV show “Wildgame Nation” and star of A&E’s upcoming series “Country Buck$,” had his hunting and fishing privileges revoked this week until 2019 by a Louisiana Circuit Court judge as part of his sentencing for charges of allowing an antlerless elk to go to waste and hunting without a license. Buspice will also be placed on supervised probation for a year-and-a-half and pay $23,000 in fines and restitution.
On October 16 of last year, hunters witnessed an individual filming a man on Buspice’s property shooting a calf and a bull elk. According to the hunters, the men examined the two carcasses, which were approximately sixty yards apart, and then departed without them. A man later returned to retrieve the bull elk, the hunters said, but left the calf carcass in the field.
The shooter was Buspice, who eventually stated that he had accidentally hit the calf while aiming for the elk. He also admitted to later instructing two individuals to hide the abandoned carcass in a drainage ditch.
The charges are not Buspice’s first. He received a citation earlier in 2016 for purchasing a resident elk license as a non-resident, and he’s also been cited for purchasing deer licensees beyond the authorized number permitted. In addition, Busbice is being sued in civil court by a hunter who was arrested in 2013 for killing a deer on Busbice’s property without permission.
As a result of the charges, Buspice is now banned from hunting in at least forty-five states until 2019, including his home state of Louisiana. Furthermore, violating his probation terms by hunting without a license could result in an additional six months of jail time.
Many hunters remain unaware that a license suspension or revocation in one state can transfer to nearly all of them. In addition, it can be difficult to remain up-to-date on changes in local, state, and federal hunting and fishing regulations each year – which means that many of the 15.4 million license holders nationwide may be unintentionally violating any number of laws.
If you’re planning a hunting or fishing trip – or if you’ve received a citation or been charged with a violation – knowing what your rights are can be crucial in keeping your license and privileges. Our office can help you ensure that you’re enjoying the outdoors – and that you’re doing so in full compliance with the law.
Charles Feldmann, a lifelong outdoorsman, leads the firm’s wildlife practice group. Contact him at WildlifeAttorneys.com for a free consultation regarding your wildlife legal matter.
Elephant Ivory Case Moving Forward
Hunters going on exotic hunting safaris will be interested to know when they may once again hunt certain countries in Africa for elephants. Currently, the Safari Club International, as well as the National Rifle Association, have filed suit against the Department of Interior regarding their suspension of the importation of elephant trophies of sport-hunted elephants from Tanzania and Zimbabwe in 2014.
In a memorandum opinion issued last month, the United States District Court, District of Columbia granted the Department’s motion to dismiss the Tanzania claims but denied the motion to dismiss the Zimbabwe claims. Still, the plaintiffs have been allowed time to refile an amended complaint.
The road ahead is a long one, but these organizations have chosen to fight the battle for hunters looking to hunt elephants in Africa and import the ivory trophy back to the United States legally. Even in the countries where harvested animals may be exported to the US legally, several rules and regulations from treaties and statutes apply and the hunter must be careful to abide by those guidelines. An attorney at Wildlife Lawyers can help to ensure your exotic trophy is not confiscated or destroyed. If you are planning an African or other exotic safari hunt and want an experienced attorney to assist with the permitting process, call Wildlife Lawyers.
Hunter Loses Elk After Reality TV Star Officer Issues Violation for the Cameras
A Minnesota hunter enjoying the elk season in Montana was issued a citation this season for "failure to properly tag" the elk he killed. According to reports, Jim Latvala harvested a beautiful bull elk in the early hours of the morning at first light. He and his brother then had to wade through a swamp to reach the animal. Upon reaching their bull, the pair were elated and took a moment to survey the area, appreciate the animal, and let the joy of a successful hunt wash over them.
Then the Reality TV Cameras came. A Montana Fish and Wildlife Officer, Drew Scott, approached the pair while being followed by TV Cameras for the show "Wardens." According to him, because the hunters had taken "20 minutes" before tagging the bull, he not only had to issue the shooter a citation but also confiscate the entire bull, antlers, and all.
According to Joe Knarr, the Warden Sergeant for the area the incident occurred in, "If you read the statute, it says you must immediately validate the tag." No time for joy or elation here. No high fives, handshakes, or pats on the back. No allowing for a quiet moment with the animal out of respect for him and the tradition of hunting. Apparently, the best kind of hunter in Montana is a bureaucrat who approaches with folders of paperwork and no feelings whatsoever.
If you are ever issued a citation while hunting, whether for a hunting-related crime or not, it is imperative that you retain counsel to help you through the judicial process. Citations like the one issued here should be taken very seriously and defended with the utmost effort. An attorney at Wildlife Lawyers can help answer your questions and counsel you about any violations you may have received.
Kansas Pheasant Hunting Opener This Weekend
The pheasant season in Kansas opens this weekend and hunters will be out in force. So too, will the Kansas Game Wardens. With many hunters making their annual pilgrimage to the Sunflower State this weekend, opportunities will abound.
A long-held belief among many is the "if it’s not marked with ‘No Hunting’ then it’s perfectly legal to hunt." I myself have heard this throughout my years of pheasant hunting in Kansas and cannot stress enough how untrue it is. I have seen folks receive citations for trespassing when abiding by this age-old bit of falsehood. Always ask permission from landowners. If you can, have a form ready for them to sign that allows you access to their fields for pheasant hunting. NEVER drive, walk, hunt, or shoot birds on property where you don’t have permission to hunt. Keep your dogs and that occasional stray hunting buddy on the right side of the fence.
Often times a combination hunt is warranted in Kansas. With record populations of ducks making their migration through Kansas, you are almost guaranteed to find a good area for duck hunting while walking for pheasants. Remember though, that shooting ducks or geese with lead shots is illegal. If you know you’ll come upon some ducks at the end of a pheasant field, it’s better to not have any lead shot in your possession whatsoever. Pheasants and quail can be harvested with steel, and the ticket is not worth the risk.
Kansas has one of the finest public hunting programs in the nation with its Walk-In Hunting Area program. Pick up or download an atlas that will guide you to numerous CRP, crop, and wetland areas available to the public for hunting. However, if you arrive to a field full of standing crops, remember to not disturb the unharvested crops while hunting. Any areas where this may be an issue will usually have more information available.
As always, you have rights as a hunter and a lawyer with Wildlife Lawyers can help to protect those rights. You should always consult a lawyer before speaking with a wildlife officer outside of the routine license checks. A qualified, Kansas-licensed, Wildlife Lawyer can help make sure a stressful experience with a violation doesn’t ruin a beautiful weekend in the Midwest.
10th Confirmed Mountain Lion since 2007 in Kansas
A deer hunter in Labette County, Kansas has captured a mountain lion on his trail camera, the first recorded sighting in two years in Kansas. Mountain lions are not a native Kansas species, but are known to traverse broad areas when looking for mates, new home ranges, or food.
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism officials traveled to the site and confirmed the authenticity of the photo, taken September 24th of this year.
For now, KDWPT officials do not believe that mountain lions are staying and making a home in Kansas but rather, just passing through. This could change in coming years with a shrinking deer herd in neighboring Colorado.
Waterfowl season has officially opened in many states with early Canada goose and teal seasons in full swing. An opportunity to catch those early migrating blue wings and resident geese, September waterfowl seasons are a great way to knock the rust out of your joints and the dust off the decoys. These seasons afford the dedicated waterfowler the chance to find out his waders have sprung a hole in mild-temperature ponds, or that his retriever may need a refresher on casting.
For teal, the shooting is often fast and early. Erratic flocks of "darts with wings" will likely begin buzzing the decoy spread well before shooting time. The squeaky high pitched quacks and splashing around in front of the blind will likely drive the pup crazy after a whole summer of bumpers. Because most areas won’t have had a freeze by opening day of an early teal season, bug spray and even sunscreen are a must. Hunting the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area in Central Kansas at this time can make you want to put the inventor of DEET on your Christmas list…
Hunting resident Canada geese has its ups and downs. The birds are likely not migrators for one reason or another, and their patterns are pretty set. There is a lot of loafing in cut hay fields and open fields as opposed to heavy feeding in cut corn and milo as late season goose hunter may be used to. In my experience, the calling is a lot less aggressive as well.
Whatever your passion, try to get out for an early season hunt. That friend or kid in your neighborhood who has always wanted to try duck hunting may be more apt to enjoy his or her first time out when the high temp is above 40 degrees.
Remember, early teal and goose, as well as September dove hunting, is migratory bird hunting. Check your state’s regulations for shooting times, daily bag limits, legal species, and required licenses. Some states elect for later shooting times for early seasons and bag limits will likely differ from the regular duck or goose season. For your convenience, the following links for state waterfowl regulations are provided:
Deer Management Civil War
The National Park Service has unveiled a $1.8 million plan to harvest 2,800 deer from D.C.-area Civil War Battlefields. Public hunting is not allowed on these Park Service grounds, thus the deer population has spiraled wildly out of control. Ideal deer per square mile measurements hover around 25-30 animals per square mile. On these government-controlled areas, that number has reached as much as 200 animals per square mile.
In a time when the Federal and several State governments have imposed more restrictions on hunting and firearm use/ownership than at any other time in our history, a plan has been revealed to spend over one million dollars of taxpayer money to hire sharpshooters to take the place of hunters. The federal government has seen fit to limit access to public land for hunters and is now seeing the effects of those restrictions.
While the chance to see the sunrise from a deerstand over a battlefield where our country was forged is without a doubt a dream come true, it is completely understandable to limit public hunting access on such sacred ground. However, for the government to use taxpayer money to counter the effects of that very government’s restrictions is, sadly, representative of the current state of affairs for our hunting heritage. A well-regulated lottery system to allow youth hunters to take a deer on a historically significant site would just make too much sense, apparently.
It started with a young woman enjoying a treasured past-time with her family. It ended with that same family hearing strangers offering money for explicit pictures of their daughter, their sister. People publicly called for her death in various ways and even exclaimed that they would exact revenge in other, more horrifying ways. Why were people who had no idea who this young lady was so perfectly content to assault her and her family with threats of pain and suffering? Because she had gone hunting.
That’s it. She and her family went on a fully legal hunting trip in Africa and posted the pictures online to her Facebook page. For this crime, Facebook labeled her photos "inhumane" and supportive of "animal abuse" and promptly removed them. Other Facebook users took to the internet in droves, pitchforks at the ready, to make an example of this poor woman. A man running for office in a state halfway across the country publicly offered $100,000 for explicit pictures of the young woman, Kendall Jones.
Notwithstanding the obvious problems with threatening an avid hunter with violence of any kind, I wonder how many of the internet activists have daughters, little sisters, or wives they would want subjected to the kinds of things they have said to Kendall Jones. It sickens me and the members of our firm to see the capacity for violence and depravity that our fellow Americans are capable of. These "activists" hang their hats on a hook of "animal rights" and "vegan lifestyles," as if to say that enforcing the rights of a legal game animal would somehow justify forcible sexual assault, grievous bodily harm, emotional distress, or murder. If you think I would exaggerate as to the threats she and her family has received, and you think you can stomach true depravity, you’re welcome to search out the articles and ensuing comments but I will not be giving those comments any additional attention.
At Wildlife Lawyers, we are dedicated to the preservation of the outdoor pursuits so deeply engrained in American tradition. It takes people like Ms. Jones to sustain and support these traditions and for this, we applaud her. Having worked with many international and domestic hunters in the past, we know the challenges she is facing and wish her Godspeed in dealing with her situation. Congratulations on the fine animals harvested and happy hunting to Ms. Jones, her family, and all the hunters across the world.
It’s that time of the year, time to get out and look for those elk and deer sheds. Well at least here in Arizona, you boys up North may have to wait for a little more snow to melt off. You don’t have to find a shed to have a great time in the outdoors but it gives you a great excuse to go.
We’ve been combining our shed hunting with predator calling. The calling has gone better than the shed hunting. From four different sets yesterday we called one coyote. He came right to my buddy but because of some brush he couldn’t shoot. My shot was after he spooked and he was running all out. Get out there today and save a fawn shoot a coyote.
A new website I just found and thought you might be interested in, it’s called http://www.huntfortruth.org/site/. This site has been examining the validity of the environmentalist’s claims that lead found in bullets are causing lead poisoning in our wildlife. I would recommend you check it out.
The gun control battle is heating up with false claims being made left and right by those who favor restricting our 2nd Amendment rights. Get involved and call your representative, join the NRA, The Citizens Committee to Keep and Bear Arms, the Safari Club, or the 28 other major hunting and wildlife organizations who are fighting for our rights as gun owners and hunters.
Now that big game tags from the various states are becoming available and some of you are planning a guided trip for that dream hunt in a remote part of the country you’ll need to thoroughly check the prospective outfitter’s credentials and his references. Once you have agreed with the conditions of the hunt and before you sign the contract you owe it to yourself to have a good wildlife attorney review the contract. The cost of this service is small when compared to the overall cost of the hunt. Many things can and will go wrong during a hunt such as weather, sickness, and bad outfitters and guides so cover your bases before signing on the dotted line. And outfitters by having a good solid contract with your clients you can avoid misunderstandings and hard feelings and look forward to years of repeat customers.
I was reminiscing the other day about my first whitetail deer hunt in my home state of Michigan and about how hunting has changed over the years.
As a kid my dad would take me to my grandfather’s cabin in northern Michigan where we would meet uncles, cousins, and my grandparents. As I remember there were about 10 of us including my grandmother the only woman in camp. I don’t know how we all fit as it was only a three-room cabin with four double bunk beds, a sofa, and a small space on the floor to make a bed. There was no running water so someone had to go out to the well and pump a bucket or two every day, that chore typically went to the youngest hunter in camp "me". Our "facilities" consisted of a "cold" outhouse about 40 yards from the cabin.
The cabin was a beehive of activity every morning and in the evening when supper was done and sandwiches had been made for the next day’s hunt the playing cards and whiskey were brought out. The days hunt was relived and the tales got taller as the evening wore on. The air was filled with merriment and continued into the wee hours of the night.
I remember my Gramp warning everyone that morning would come very early and how he was always in bed by 8 p.m. He was up at 4 a.m. and would be banging on an aluminum dishpan with a wooden spoon letting all the late-night revelers know that it was time to get up and get ready to go hunting. I remember his words as he played revelry every morning "daylight in the swamp boys". I’m sure there were a lot of throbbing heads as there were many bloodshot eyes and a whole lot of moaning going on.
I remember my first deer; I was on stand before daylight. My dad had taken me to the deer stand which was called, little buck point, and told me not to leave under any circumstance. He said he would return at noon to have lunch with me. Not long after daylight three deer materialized out of the trees and I shot the first one, a doe with my model 64 Winchester lever-action 30-30. It must have been an act of God that I was able to get the shot off, my heart was beating so hard that I thought the deer would hear it. After that I was hooked on hunting and have never gotten over the adrenalin charge I had that morning.
I remember the small town not too far from the cabin and the buck pole in front of the general store and the people who would stop and admire the deer hanging on the buck pole and the excitement over the big buck contest and who would win the prize for the biggest buck.
I remember tying my deer to the top of the car, and how proud I was to show everyone the deer I had shot. How everyone no matter where you stopped would come over and admire the trophies and how glad they were that you had taken a deer.
Well now the hunting culture has changed and we hide our deer in the back of the truck, there are no buck poles anywhere and we dare not say we killed a deer we now "harvest" a deer like we harvest a bushel of corn. It’s mostly hotels, motels, and lodges now.
In today’s culture it’s hard to get our children and grandchildren interested in hunting as there are so many distractions with new video games coming out daily, computer games, and Xbox vying for the youngster’s time. But it’s never too late to try and see if you can get a son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter interested in hunting and hopefully they will catch the same bug that you and I have.