Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nuge nabbed for deer poaching in Cali

What. The. Hell.

I remember reading about this on a forum a couple months ago: Ted Nugent did a deer hunt in California and put it on his TV show, and Cali hunters were all abuzz because the episode showed him killing a spike buck (illegal here) over what looked like bait (also illegal here).

I didn't see the show, but apparently a couple California game wardens did, and now comes the news that Nuge has pleaded no contest to misdemeanor poaching charges. Read more...
Dude! What were you thinking???

Of course, some of the first comments I read on the Sacramento Bee's story (before stopping in disgust), criticized the Bee for picking on Nuge, and "Kalifornia" for having such restrictive laws. Way to show your inner caveman, guys.

The fact is, the rules are the rules. We're all responsible for knowing the rules before we hunt. And someone who's going to televise his hunt is doubly responsible.

(And not for nothing, but one of the reasons we have restrictive rules is that this is not whitetail country. Our deer are NOT that abundant. In fact, we've seen a decline in parts of our blacktail population over the past 20 years.)

Now, I can see how Nuge would get into this bind: This is the way he hunts all the time. That doesn't excuse him for not familiarizing himself with our laws, but it does show that the hunt was nothing out of the ordinary for him.

What boggles my mind is that his guide, who does live in California, not only let those violations happen, but let them happen on film. That's just flat out stupid. If you live in this state, you can't not know that it's illegal to bait, and illegal to kill spikes.

The larger problem is that this contributes to the non-hunting public's impression that we're all a bunch of poachers. If a guide and a rock/hunting TV star break laws brazenly, then what must the ordinary hunters do?

Sigh.

© Holly A. Heyser 2010

28 comments:

Jacki @ Camo Trading said...

If he truly is a rock star, don't you think he'll get out like they all do?

...Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, need I name more ?
;)

Tovar said...

Wacky.

David J Blackburn said...

The California deer herd is stable to declining, because of lack of habitat I'm told. I guess mulies and blacktails are different than whitetail. Every state I leave (PA, VA and OH, so far) discover soon after I exit that hugh deer populations with large racks are possible if you manage the herd. The Nuge shot a spike. Bad Nuge! This is California where we cull only the healthy, fertile, male deer that have large antlers (with lead free ammo.) What an idiot the Nuge is!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Jacki: Nope! It's game over on this one - fines have been levied ($1,750).

Tovar: I prefer "stupid."

I'm trying to find out if the guide's license was revoked. It certainly should be. Reminds me of a conversation we just had over on your blog, Tovar.

NorCal Cazadora said...

David, I too am frustrated by our restrictions, because it makes it so hard to get a deer here.

But the law is the law; we are obligated to follow it.

hodgeman said...

I recently heard this... and although I don't watch much television and less hunting television I can't help but think that Nugent has got to be more aware of his public image than that. As a spokesman for the NRA in particular and hunting and gun rights in general all I can say is bad show Ted. Nice to see he plead correctly and paid up rather than grandstand and make a spectacle.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Good point, but I also think he needs to come out and address this directly to his public.

Hil said...

What a shame. I've always thought the Nuge just barely fell on the side of doing more good than harm with his general attitude and style, and this pretty much puts him over the edge.

Agreed, laws are laws and you have to operate within them whether you agree with them or not. Good heavens, I just can't believe his guide let him do this and someone let it get all the way to TV.

NorCal Cazadora said...

It's a sobering reminder that even people in positions of power and prominence can make big mistakes.

Reminds me of a story I heard about a women who'd been a local elected official here in Cali and was finally elected to Congress. She told a friend, "I thought I'd reached the Big Time, but when I got there and saw the people around me, I realized there is no Big Time."

NorCal Cazadora said...

Anyone interested in guessing how long it takes for HSUS to issue a press release?

Five, four, three...

Dawn (KitchenTravels) said...

I don't hunt, but even I would know to check the local laws. As an experienced hunter, Nugent should know better. And you're right - his guide is an idiot. Maybe he figured an illegal deer was better than no deer... wouldn't want his famous client winding up empty-handed on TV. Idiots.

hodgeman said...

I suspect HSUS and PETA all the other alphabet soup groups will be making hay of this as we speak. Ted will be more of a target due to his outspoken nature and higher than normal profile. I'm leery of the concept of broadcasting video of hunts in general- maybe thats not a bad idea...

In AK, his guide could very well face charges or lose his licensure for participating in an illegal hunt. Mistakes in the field happen-especially brow tine counts and full curl on sheep- a self reported mistake is usually lightly prosecuted (if at all) but to get caught on video after broadcast? That would get the book thrown at him up here!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Didn't Brenda Valentine do just such a thing up in Alaska a couple years ago? Correct me if I'm wrong and I'll delete this comment and repost it, but I remember a prominent female hunter accidentally bagging a cow moose for which she did not have a tag. She turned herself in.

There was quite the vigorous debate in the comment thread on the newspaper story - some really scorched her for making the mistake (I think it was foggy). I think mistakes happen; I live in fear of accidentally shooting the wrong kind of duck some day and finding myself overlimit. But this guide's mistake is pretty egregious. Nugent should've known better, but the guide HAD to know better.

hodgeman said...

I don't remember a Valentine in particular but its surprisingly common. A friend of mine shot a sub-legal moose and drove it straight to the ADFG and told them the story, sent the moose to the processor, paid the bill and surrendered it to the authorities for distribution on the poverty list.

He went before the judge and was scolded, fined the amount of the processor bill, given a credit for money he'd already paid the processor, and told to "go forth and sin no more."

Another individual in the community was spot checked and found with a sub-legal... his tagged was clearly marked as a legal moose. His was charged with multiple counts- the most serious of which was "falsification of state records"- his tag! That cost him a pile of dough and I believe a weekend in the pokey.

NorCal Cazadora said...

I've heard about states that have an official policy of lenience when you turn yourself in with a credible explanation of your mistake (I think Pennsylvania's the one I read about most recently). I'm pretty sure California doesn't have an official policy as such, but I'm guessing there may be unofficial lenience. I recognize the risks of codifying lenience, but I do think it would get people to come forward instead of hiding their mistakes.

Huntress Livy said...

When a celebrity travels as much as Ted does, he rely's heavily upon the guide to ensure no laws are being violated -where a traveling hunter aught to know the laws, Ted's guide needs to be movin' on down the trail for putting Ted in this situation... and not just because it's "Ted Nugent", but because he could've put any other visiting hunter in the same situation.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Exactly! Though the guide deserves a little extra scorn because he KNEW this was being filmed. Doh!

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Oh Ted has it come to this? Really?

While I'd like to give the traveling hunter a pass for putting his trust in the hands of a paid professional.
I think this was either shocking naivety or gobsmacking arrogance by Ted.

The influence Ted brings to every interaction with hunters, especially when being recorded, cant be ignored. He might be a little eccentric but he's not stupid. He knows that people around him 'go the extra yard' for him because he's famous.

This time that extra yard was over the line.

So that's shocking naivety taken care of. What was the other thing? Oh yeah.

SBW

hodgeman said...

As something to ponder- "How rigorous are California's guide licensing requirements?"

Alaska's are pretty darn tough including written testing, oral examinations as well as having multiple master guides sign off on your application. There's also a fair degree of liability for holding a license and conducting business in a guiding capacity. AK's guide regs are some of the toughest in the nation.

Some states collect a nominal fee and you can hang out your shingle. Not sure where California is on the scale but its totally plausible the guide has less experience than his client in this case.

NorCal Cazadora said...

SBW: I agree he's not stupid. But I don't think he'd be so stupid as to broadcast footage of a wildlife crime if he knew it was illegal. At least I hope not. (Though I do remember a debate a couple years ago about a duck hunting show that showed hunters openly doing "group limits," which are strictly forbidden under federal law.)

Hodgeman, I seem to remember hearing that our guide licensing requirements are not that difficult. But you'd have to live in a cave to think a spike is a legal buck here. I'll see if I can get a licensed guide to weigh in here.

Phillip said...

I've kind of had my say on this over on my blog, several other blogs, and a couple of newspaper sites (I didn't comment at SacBee). Bottom line, Nugent screwed up, but the fact that they did air the episode really makes me wonder if he knew he did wrong or if he only found out after the fact. No difference in guilt, but there's a big difference in intent. I have to wonder if that's why they dropped the charge of shooting the spike.

In answer to Hodgeman's question, all you need for a guide license in CA is a clean DFG record, a $1000 bond, and the $250 or so for the annual license. There is no skills requirement or test... which I think is a damned shame.

However, the guide's license is subject to revocation for ANY complaint filed with the DFG, pending their investigation and the prevailing winds of opinion (or who the plaintiff knows). You don't even have to be charged or convicted.

By the way, I don't know if the folks who guided Nugent on this trip were licensed guides or not. From what I've read, it sounds like these guys were friends of the camera man, and the hunt took place on their family land. In this case, I believe the landowner doesn't require any kind of guide license. These are details I don't have, though...

All in all, yeah, it's a huge black-eye for the sport, and even bigger for Nugent. Magnus has already dropped their sponsorship and removed all reference of him from their website. For someone who suffers such oral diarrhea about the "spirit of the wild" and sportsmanship, this really makes him look the dunce.

Phillip said...

Oh yeah... and I am a CA licensed guide.

Peebs said...

A mistake can happen this one falls on both Ted and the guide I would say more so on the guide it's his job but still Ted needs to know the rules. I was caught with 3 extra shells at Delevan several years ago (150.00) the warden was supprised that I was not mad (most get that way with them)I told him it wasn't his fault it was mine for not checking my pack closely enough.

SimplyOutdoors said...

I hate to say it, but whether you like Ted or not, this is a huge black eye for all of us hunters.

I just can't believe he would act so irresponsibility. I can understand misidentifying an animal, but the baiting violation is inexcusable. It is his responsibility to know what the local game laws are.

And while I agree with most of Nuge's opinions, I feel that his in-your-face style is going to come back and bite him in the you know what.

He's always so outspoken and up front about hunting and his passion, that people, since he has screwed up, are going to be just as vocal back at him - and it's going to hurt hunting's rep as a result.

And I agree, Holly. I can't believe that he has not issued any sort of public comment.

Galen Geer said...

You guys have pretty much covered it all and said it well. glg

Josh said...

Ditto Galen.

Phillip, I'm tickled pink to hear about Magnus. I use their arrowheads, and I'll feel comfortable continuing to do so. I might even post about it... silver lining and all that.

Freeloader said...

Aww, not the Nuge!

And, I don't really think of him as a hunter...he's just a nutcase, in my book.

Albert A Rasch said...

Holly,

two things, and you said both of them, so I'll just be repeating you anyway. 1 As a hunter we always need to know the laws of the land. 2 As a guide we always need to know the laws of the land. Wrong is wrong, and that's all there is to it. I do hold the guide more responsible than Nugent, simply because it is his job to know. I mean seriously, that's his business. The Nuge's business is to make music, like back in the day.

Did I ever tell you all about the time I was at Hammersmith in '79 when me and... Well, never mind... somethings are better left unknown...

Your friend,
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Saturday Blog Rodeo 8/21/10