Hunters get into hot water because of a failed legal elk hunt

Hunters out of the state of Wyoming did nothing against the law, but their ethics were called into question because an elk hunt in Jackson Hole turned into a fiasco. Knowing what they know now, they would never have done what they did in the first place.

Bob Geringer, 79, of Minnesota was hunting Sept. 26 with two friends in an unfamiliar area along the Snake River when they spotted elk on an island in the middle of the river, as reported by Jackson Hole News and Guide.

The hunters, duly licensed as non-residents, legally slaughtered three elk and a calf around 9 a.m. on the island, which is about 1.5 miles north of Emily’s Pond.

“It turned out to be a … nightmare,” Geringer told Jackson Hole News and Guide. “We didn’t realize the river was quite the way it was, and it happened quickly.

What they didn’t know was that the river was flowing faster than they thought it would, and that it was located in an area used by dog ​​walkers, joggers, families and friends as a place to hang out. walk near the river.

The hunters had not thought about how they would retrieve the carcasses and realized that they would risk their lives if they attempted to ford the river.

Meanwhile, people began to show up at the scene, with one engaging in a heated confrontation and others calling the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to report what they believed to be suspicions of activity. illegal.

Brad Nielson, a Jackson Hole resident, arrived at the scene around 3 p.m. and was furious. He said the hunters slaughtering moose on the island were not fair to the animals.

“It’s an ethical question,” Nielson, a hunter, told News and Guide. “It’s not fair to chase them, corner them on an island and mow them.

“I told them that they had rolled back years of efforts to create goodwill between the non-hunting community and the hunters.

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Game ranger Jon Stephens met with Geringer and the other two hunters on Sunday evening to plan how to retrieve the elk.

“I chewed them up a bit for the horror they created,” Stephens told News and Guide.

He then got help, procuring a canoe and a wheelbarrow to use to extract the meat. On the first attempt, a canoe capsized and was swept away unmanned downstream.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide explained in more detail:

Stephens could see that the makeshift meat salvage plan was futile, and he had the hunters gut the animals and then cross the river before dark. On Monday afternoon, the Minnesotans returned, this time with the help of a local resident who they tasked with floating their elk meat with a raft. This operation went well, the manager reported, and at 6 p.m. – about 33 hours after their shots – the Minnesotans’ meat was being transported downstream to the Wilson boat launch.

Jane Frisch, who walks the dike almost every day, expressed concern about the mixing of hunting with other uses in this area of ​​the Snake River.

“There were young families playing in the river that day,” she told News and Guide. “On a Sunday afternoon there are a lot of people and a lot of people of all ages. She added that the visual was “really overwhelming” for a lot of people who passed by.

It would be surprising if Game and Fish did not revise the rules for this area.

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“If it’s a hiking trail, why is it open to public hunting? An apologetic Geringer told News and Guide.

However, not all who arrived at the scene were unhappy.

“You can’t imagine how many people congratulated us and were happy for us,” Geringer told News and Guide. “It’s just that the timing was wrong. If we were to do it again, there’s no way in the world that either of us would have done this. It just happened. “

Wyoming Game and Fish Department director Brian Nesvik wouldn’t comment on the incident without hearing the details, but he agrees with his director that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it. is the right thing to do.

“The ethics of hunters are very important,” Nesvik told News and Guide. “We have laws based on ethics and fair hunting, but you can’t regulate everything. You have to hope that the hunters will do the right thing and respect both the wildlife they are hunting and the rest of the public.

Photos courtesy of Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wikipedia Commons.

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